[Thanks, duke dynamite! Great recap of your PC experience and even better pictures. Dunleavy...simply classic. -Cornrows]
I know, I know...I stole the title. It does seem fitting, though. The Pacers played their first game at the Fairgrounds Coliseum for the first time since 1974. This also happened to be the first time we saw the future of Pacers' Basketball.
This particular game happened to be the first time I participated in an event in the Pepsi Coliseum that didn't have to do with showing livestock. The only thing that was missing were the cows.
Honestly, it never really crossed my mind a sense of nostalgia. I'm too young to have been able to tell you stories of the ABA greats. I did get a taste...
Waiting to get into the Coliseum I could see many familiar faces, then again some not too familiar. There were a multitude of new faces. I even noticed a ton of older folks with vintage Pacers clothing from way back in the day.
Walking into the place, everything was pretty much the same as it was during the fair, old and worn down. The smell of popcorn and beer totally masked the smell I was anticipating...animals and dirt.
Great pictures after the jump, including Dunleavy's arrival...must see!
We then found our section, and I almost had a heart attack seeing how far away from the court we were. I was very excited that we were sitting in row "A" of our section. This made it very difficult to get a good photo without having to adjust my camera too much.
Other than the drastic amount of empty space that was between us and the court, the atmosphere was amazing. I've only seen the Pacers play in two places. MSA and the Fieldhouse. Being able to get a chance to see them play in each of their current and former homes, at age 22...priceless. Never in a million years did I think I would be in the same place as how my dad described the greats, Mel Daniels, Raja Brown, Freddy Lewis, George McGinnins...the list goes on.
My dad always told me stories of him watching these players while sitting in those very seats doing what Indiana Basketball is all about. Playing hard and winning. Unfortunately, the team that showed up in those same blue and golds didn't put on that good of a show.
We did come away with seeing the first game played without Jermaine O'Neal as a Pacer. We welcomed new faces, T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, draft picks Roy Hibbert, and Brandon Rush to name a few.
The team didn't necessarily come bringing their A game. Then again I didn't even see a B, C, or D game. None the less, it was full of great memories that I will cherish for a long time. What really set the feeling of a "true vintage" basketball game was the organ music playing during the game. I'm used to piped-in hip-hop or classic rock playing over the loud speakers. (The Beatles cover band wasn't too shabby, either.) Also, something that I have only seen on T.V. was the dimming of the seating area lights. It really created an atmosphere that focused on the game.
Mike Dunleavy had the craziest get up. Usually, from what I understand Jeff Foster is the joker of the team, but after seeing Mike wearing his retro 70's leisure suit, I believe otherwise.
Overalll, I had a blast. It was a shame that we had to play so poorly, but I can't be so hard on a team that hasn't really played together outside a scrimmage and some drills. I am really looking forward to seeing what this team can do now that most of the excuses and distractions are now gone.
I really hope they try to incorporate more aspects of the "heyday" of the franchise in to more games this season. It really connected with some of the disenfranchied fans that have helped rekindle fond memories of the team back when it was all about basketball and connecting with the fans.
This game at the Coliseum, is just one small step in the goal of showing the fans that Basketball in Indiana is back.
- Tony Laurenzana (duke dynamite)