Monday, January 07, 2008

Trotting the Globe

Thanks to an inspired, timely email suggestion from Mimi, we decided to take Connor to see the Globetrotters on Saturday night. We lined up Grammy to hang out with Chloe, so that it could be a "special" night for Connor. (We agree with Stacey that these "one kid only" excursions are important.)

When I was a kid, my dad took me to the Mid-South Coliseum to see Geese, Curly, and the rest of the Globetrotter gang. I was already a fan, from seeing their annual performances on the Wide World of Sports. (Whatever happened to that show?) Basketball was already my favorite sport, and mixing it with comedy was a sure bet for me. Sure, the jokes were stale, but they hit me square in the funny bone at age 10.

There was a bit of concern early on Saturday, when at Target Connor announced that he needed to pick up some toys so that he could take them to the game, as he "didn't know if he could watch that much basketball." Yikes-- do we spend the $60 for us to attend the game when Connor is doubting his ability to pay attention before we even get there? As the day went on, we felt more comfortable that it would be worth it as his excitement grew. Not only had he not ever seen (or even heard of) the Globetrotters, he had never been a basketball game at all. And he let us know that he wanted to.

We went early so that we could rustle up some grub at the downtown Flying Fish, which is a regular lunch destination for us parent types. Connor ate just about nothing, but he did get a big thrill out of the vibrating coaster that told us when our food was ready.

After dinner, we walked to the FedEx Forum, via Beale Street. What an odd experience, to walk with my 4-year-old down Beale Street on a Saturday night. Connor immediately announced his frame of reference: "Lookit all the neon! It looks like Radiator Springs in the Cars movie!" We managed to hold his hand tightly and put our bodies between Connor and the bums, hookers and drunk tourists.

We went from one overwhelmingly new experience to another. I somehow knew the Forum, with it's retina-searing bright colors and impressive Jumbotron, would put Connor into an observational stupor, and it did.

The game was very entertaining. I realized what a tradition the Globetrotters are-- they've been around since since the 1920s. (Incidentally, this Chicago-based team only labeled themselves "The New York Harlem Globetrotters" because Harlem was considered the center of African-American culture at the time, and an out of town team name would give the team more of a mystique. They didn't actually play a game there until 1968.)

The same jokes and routines were there-- the "Sweet Georgia Brown" warmup circle; the bucket of water thrown at the referee, followed by the bucket of confetti at the crowd; the "football on the basketball court" routine followed by the whole skit "on rewind"; the overweight doofus referee; the enthusiastic white woman who dances with the Globetrotters like there's no tomorrow. The names are different-- "Geese" is now "Showtime" and "Curly" is "Sweet Pea"-- but the parts they played were timeless. "Showtime" was miked, and was effortlessly funny, just like "Geese" always was.

Connor made it the whole game, and loved it. Because the humor was so broad and universal, he got almost all of it. He participated in the "YMCA" dance in between quarters, and also gawked at the "Soulja Boy" dance and the accompanying looks of disgust on his parents' faces as they talked about the extremely misogynistic tone of that song. These were all great "firsts" to experience with him.

(Editor's note: There are no pics because I didn't take my camera. I couldn't have gotten it into the game anyway, since the Globetrotters had roving photographers to take pics of the crowd, hocking the prints on their website. These paid photographers did, however, have good cameras-- Nikon D50s, the ChockleyBlogs' camera of choice. How spoiled are you folks, that you get pictures to accompany every single post we put up? Well, you're roughing it this time.)


Unknown said...

I can't even recall what you people look like without photographs in this post!

Stacey Greenberg said...

you could have taken pics on beale street!

Cory said...

That is so awesome! I wish I could have seen Connor's face... what a fun night!

Anonymous said...

Flying Fish has chicken nuggets?
I'm sorry you missed your chance to get a group shot of Connor with the bums, hookers and drunk tourists.