As best as I could tell from my perch in Row G of the 400 level, there were two only two small groups at Madison Square Garden last night that did not get their money's worth. The first was seated in my section, several rows closer to the action. It was a contingent of students from an unnamed high school, presumably in Westchester or Long Island, wearing matching blue hooded sweatshirts. The backs of some of the sweatshirts were emblazoned with white block letters spelling out names like Vinnie or Ann Marie. The fronts of all the shirts featured the red, white and green flag of Italy with the words "Italian Club," also in white block letters.
The gaggle of adolescents was accompanied by a heroically overweight school administrator who was sporting a New York Knicks tie. Each time he trudged up or down the stairs, passing my seat, he looked less than thrilled to be at this Knicks-Jazz game. Perhaps his expression was so sour because I only caught him exerting himself on the steep stairs, but it's also likely that he organized this field trip several months ago because the Knicks' roster included one of the few Italian players in the NBA, Danilo Gallinari. It's possible that the group was even scheduled for a meet-and-greet session with Gallo before the game. Unfortunately for this group, Gallo was traded to the Denver Nuggets two weeks ago. And, I don't think Renaldo Balkman has ancestors from Milan. A handful of the kids seemed to be genuinely absorbed by the game, regardless of the nationalities of the players involved, but at least half of them were more interested in the concession stand or running around the concourse photographing each other. For the teacher's sake, I hope there was at least a meal at Via Della Place before the game.
The second group in attendance last night that didn't seem to be very interested was also wearing matching shirts. They were dark blue, sleeveless and emblazoned with the names on the back in block letters. On the front, the letters spelled "Jazz."
(more to come...)
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