You never forget your first time. Your first major sporting event, that is.
How many of us remember that first glimpse of green at Wrigley Field? I still can recall every detail of my first Hawks game-I think I was only 27 at the time. I also can recollect taking my oldest son to his first Bulls game.
Bulls tickets were tough to get back then. They had a championship team and a player whose name I could never catch during introductions. The announcer would shout, “From North Carolina . . .” and the crowd drowned out the rest.
So, on the first day tickets went on sale, I bought two to the April 16 game against Milwaukee. Then I wondered how I was going to keep this birthday gift a secret for the next six months. When I came home, my son had the schedule and greeted me with the news the Bulls were playing on his birthday.
I told him we wouldn’t be able to watch the game, because we didn’t have cable TV but maybe we could listen on the radio. When the big night finally came, I placed the ticket under his dinner plate. After he cleared his place, there was a pandemonium of celebration. We had a great time watching Michael Jordan score his usual 35 points in a Bulls win.
A few years ago I promised to take his younger brother to a Bulls game. But I failed to keep that promise while the Bulls again became a popular playoff team. Tickets had become a bit pricey and hard to get. So, you can imagine my surprise when big brother told me he had bought two tickets for little brother and me for the Bulls versus Milwaukee.
This time, I only had to keep the secret for hours instead of months. When I told number two son about his brother’s generosity, I received a spine-crushing hug. We left an hour before game time and spent the first fifteen minutes waiting to turn left at Harlem and Harrison.
After we parked for free, we found our seats near the top of the stadium. The atmosphere was electric and enthusiastic fans surrounded us. A group of young boys with helium voices sat behind us, screaming in excitement.
The game was fast-spaced and spectacular, with the typical NBA heart-stopping finish. My son was so thrilled throughout, he never even asked for anything to eat or drink. The Bulls not only won but also scored more than 100 points, which entitled us to free fast food. I suggested we pick up his brother and treat him at the drive-thru.
Now, we have indelible memories of going to our first Bulls game together. And to think it didn’t cost me a dime and it wasn’t even his birthday. It’s hard to believe that a small investment I made many years ago would yield such valuable deposits for the old memory bank.