Yesterday I embarked on an unexpected adventure. My friend who was supposed to go with me to the Pacer game could not attend. Not wanting to miss a good game, I decided to go by myself. No big deal right? Well, there are a lot of potential moments of disaster for a blind person going to a stadium by oneself.
I had no idea whether I would be successful in making it to the game and back home. After all, there were a lot of questions that I did not have answers for. Would the cab drop me off in the right place? How would I get into Conseco Field House? Would someone help me find my seat? Would it be easy for me to get food and a drink? How would I find the restroom? Would someone be willing to guide me from my seat to a location where I could catch a taxi after the game?
I caught a cab from my home in Fountain Square and headed downtown. The cost of the cab was a bit more expensive than I felt it should have been, but at least the driver walked me up to a door and found a security guy who took me to a customer service desk. The lady at the desk sent out a call to get some assistance for me. While I waited she attempted to talk Pacer basketball with me, but she really knew very little about the team. No matter, I applaud her effort. A guy named Garth showed up and took me by a concession stand on my way to my seat. I really did not need to go by the concession stand; my season tickets are in the club level so someone would have taken my order, but this way I was assured of getting my traditional popcorn and coke.
After Garth helped me find my seat, I began thinking about my dad and all the games that we attended together over the years. It was kind of strange being there alone.
My seats are in the crazy section, Roy Hibert’s area 55. Here the fans rob chants from IU students and come up with a few original ones. When a foreign player went to the free throw line everyone would chant USA! USA! Overpaid! and DC is better! were other amusing sayings yelled by the fans. In my section, most people stand throughout the game and it is like a college atmosphere which is very refreshing since NBA games can be awfully sterile sometimes.
I felt at home once the game tipped off. The Pacers jumped out to an early eight point lead and held a slim three point lead at the half.
At half time I boldly walked out of my row and a fan came up and showed me where the bathroom was. I came back and found my seat on my own. During the third quarter the Hornets made a run and took the lead.
A co-worker saw me and came by. He and his wife gave me a ride home, plus he tracked down a battery since my battery had run down in my walkman.
The fourth quarter saw the teams go back and forth. Roy Hibert had another bad game. He was 1/10 from the floor. He had three rebounds and two turn overs during crunch time. The Hornets scored a basket from the top of the key with 3.9 seconds to go giving them a one point lead. The Pacers advanced the ball after calling a time out. Danny Granger put up a three that rolled off the rim but Mike Dunleavy tipped the ball in at the horn giving the Pacers a one point win!
While going to games by myself is not ideal, it was good to know that I can do it. The Pacer staff was helpful and had I not gotten a ride home, Garth would have made sure I caught a cab.