Thursday, March 08, 2007

so worth it

Yesterday, I went to watch the Warriors' pre-game warmups. The doors open at 6pm for a 7:30pm game, so I left work at 4pm to meet up with everyone at Oracle at 4:30pm. We got to the BART station around 5:30pm, and were waiting at the North Gate by 5:40-ish. As soon as the doors opened, we walked directly to the tunnel leading to the home locker room, and draped ourselves over the railing. Over the next hour, I was able to get an autograph from every Warrior who practiced, for a total of ten (10!) autographs.

Here are some photos:

left to right: Monta Ellis, Patrick O'Bryant, Matt Barnes

top left: Al Harrington, bottom left: Steven Jackson, right: O'Bryant and Ellis (see above)

top row: Adonal Foyle, Josh Powell, Jason Richardson, bottom row: Kelenna Azubuike, Andris Biedrins

Baron Davis and Mickael Pietrus didn't come out for warmups, so we had no chance at them. Still, I was super-excited to get as many autographs as I did.

Some funny tidbits from the hour-long autograph hunting experience:
- My friend said "Welcome to the team!" to Josh Powell, who was the first player to come off the floor. He looked a little surprised, and said "Thanks" back.
- The security guards on the visitors' side were really strict about not hanging on the railing. Not so on the home side; although, at one point, I was bracing my feet on the bottom of the glass and got a semi-stern look from one security guy. I gave him a pleading look and he smiled back, so I stayed where I was.
- Some people were really, really pushy. One mother kept trying to get her young son to squeeze into the non-existent space between me and my friend, even though he obviously didn't want to go there. Another guy was pushing me in the back, until I asked him if he really wanted me to fall over the railing.
- One guy was pretty far up on the railing and wasn't having much success reaching the players, so he rigged up a harness out of a piece of rope, and managed to get the basketball low enough to get autographs from Richardson, Barnes, and a couple of others. Creative ingenuity, indeed.
- Al Harrington was wearing humongous diamond earrings during practice, but I guess he had to take them off for the game, because he wasn't wearing them later. It's kind of funny that he would take the time to wear them just for warmups.
- All of the players took a fair amount of time to sign autographs. I wonder if they're required to, for PR purposes, or whether they're all just that nice?

All in all, it was a really fun experience, and definitely worth the extra hour and a half of waiting time.

Oh yeah, and there was a game, too. Iverson lived up to his billing with a fantastic first half (24 points) and finished the game with 35 total. The Warriors spread the ball around a lot, did a pretty good job of running their new speedy offense, and ended up with a 110-96 win, which meant free Big Mac coupons for everyone.

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