Although I don’t have many hobbies, one thing I love to do in my spare time is go to basketball games. I have been watching basketball on TV for many years and have always had an interest in it but only started going to games about a year ago.
I was surprised, the first time I walked into a big, indoor court in Brampton, Ontario, at the excitement of it all. The moment that I walked in, I saw the NBL (National Basketball League) players focused in the game, with a huge crowd filling the seats and cheering loudly. I knew a player on the team, and when he invited me to one of his games, I was expecting some old high-school gymnasium. Canada doesn't have many places built for an indoor basketball court so most games here are played in high school gyms. So I was shocked that I actually had a hard time finding a seat to watch the game. I thought it would be just the parents of the players who would be attending the game but since most of the players weren't from Canada, none of their parents were either.
People of all ages and cultures were around me, watching the men run around on the court, doing what they love. Little kids stood on their seats to get a better view, holding up signs with players’ names on them. There were cheerleaders on the sidelines, waiting to show off their choreographed dance numbers, and even reporters sitting court side waiting to talk to the players. During half-time, contests were held for kids to shoot baskets and win a signed jersey, and when the game was over, they announced the winner of a cash draw.
Before I went to the game, I always figured basketball game tickets were just sold to friends and family of players but when I went to one myself, I felt like I was part of a small community. We were gathered together to cheer and support our teams and none of us knew one another. It was freezing out on that November evening, but inside, the warmth could be felt during the game and after. There was an autograph session after the game and a chance for pictures with players, even though they weren't that well known. It’s the experience and excitement that people go for.
Tanya Shukalova is a 22-year-old Professional Writing student at Algonquin College. She aspires to be a sports journalist or to work for the government. She would like to write for a basketball team in the NBA and is also interested in photographing the games.