The lights in the stadium fell. Strobe lights and spotlights lit up the cavernous space. Music pulsed through the crowd as the players ran out of the tunnel. The excitement level reached to the rafters of the arena as both teams ran around the perimeter of the court. Fanfare ensued as the announcer called out the starting lineup.
The crowd erupted as the Pistons took first possession from the tip-off and scored the first points. The teams were well matched and the score bounced back and forth almost as quickly as the ball.
Ashley felt almost dizzy from the fast pace of the game and was a little relieved when the first half was over.
Predictably, the guys turned to the catered food.
“I’m so glad we don’t have to walk up all those stairs and go stand in line for concessions,” Paul said.
“Yeah,” Donnie added. “This is awesome. Thanks so much for bringing us here, Caleb.” Everyone else echoed his appreciation.
“You’re very welcome,” Caleb said. “This has been a really fun night.” They all sort of drifted back to their seats as the game looked like it was about to resume.
A few minutes into the third quarter, a scuffle broke out between two of the players. Other players stepped in to defend their teammates, and referees got knocked over while trying to break up the fight. It didn’t last long. A few players were escorted from the arena, coaches yelled at players, referees called fouls, and things settled back to an almost normal level.
“Man,” Ashley said. “I never knew how violent basketball could get.” She was still wide-eyed and taken aback by the players’ reactions.
“Oh that was nothing compared to the fight between Charles Barkley and Bill Lambeer during that game against the Philadelphia Sixers in 1990.” Donnie piped in.
“Yeah, that was legendary,” Steve added. “It also involved Isaiah Thomas when he tried to fight Rick Mahorn.”
“That was intense,” Caleb agreed.
“I was too young to remember,” Greg said proudly, as if his youth was something to brag about.
“I wouldn’t have cared,” Sarah mumbled. She’d gotten pretty bored by that point.
“Or in 1993 when Michael Jordon got knocked out.” It seemed that Donnie was a walking statistician that evening.
“That was a cheap shot by Lambeer!” Paul added.
“Typical of him,” Caleb agreed.
“I think Lambeer also smacked Scott Williams across the face in that same fight,” Steve said.
“Yeah, but Jordan went down so hard that he hurt his right hand,” Paul argued. “He went up for the shot, got pulled down, and just stayed there!”
“That was an amazing game.” Donnie sighed nostalgically. All the guys were quiet for a minute. Ashley looked around at them, wondering how they could remember all that, but also why they cared to remember it. Must be a guy thing, she thought to herself.
“Didn’t Ron Rothstein get thrown out of that game?” Steve asked no one in particular.
“Who’s he?” Greg asked innocently.
“He was the Pistons head coach that year,” Caleb explained.
“He was only there for like a year, wasn’t he?” Paul turned to look at Caleb.
“Yeah, I think he got a technical foul that game also,” Caleb answered.
“That probably took a couple of bucks out of his wallet.” Paul chuckled.
“I think the Bulls won the World Championships that year though,” Donnie added.
“Okay—” Ashley stood up. “I think there’s enough testosterone out here. I’m going to the ladies room.” She walked up the steps off the balcony, not really wanting to hear any more trivia for one night.