I faced a dilemma when it came to the Nuggets' crucial game five against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA's Western Conference finals last night. For weeks, I'd been scheduled to attend (and critique) the No Doubt-Paramore concert at Fiddler's Green alongside my daughter Lora, a basketball fan just as rabid as I am. But I hoped technology would help keep us in touch with the game, and it did. Sort of. Kind of. In a way.
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Lora has an Internet-enabled Sidekick, and when we've been out and about, she's often used it to check on scores of contests we're following -- like game four of the Orlando Magic-Cleveland Cavaliers series, which took place while we were at the Gold Crown Foundation center watching Lora's twin, Ellie, play basketball with Chatfield High School's junior squad. It's the equivalent of a kid in the '50s sneaking a transistor radio into school to listen to the World Series. Problem is, the phone is dying -- Lora is trying to keep it going until next month, when her service contract is up -- and the Internet access at Fiddler's was spotty, probably owing to all the radio-controlled microphones in use. So we only rarely were able to get updates. For instance, we found out about the tie at the end of the first quarter, but couldn't get anything to come up throughout the second. So we resorted to texting Ellie, who had to attend a continuation ceremony for her cousin, and then was slated to head home with her mom, the lone basketball hater in the family. Ellie let us know that the score was tied at halftime, and again at the end of the third quarter.
From there, our communication link broke down. Lora was able to get a signal long enough to find out about the Lakers' eleven-point run at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but that was about it -- and when we texted Ellie for updates, she became increasingly snippy. Turns out she'd grown frustrated with the Nugs and had started watching a movie: Made of Honor, with Patrick Dempsey. As a result, I didn't learn that the situation had remained bad as it did. Ellie finally gave me the score with 37 seconds left, by which time it was clear the Nuggets had wasted another opportunity to take control of the Lake Show.
Much of this occurred during the closing set by No Doubt -- a band from Southern California. When the group returned for an encore, Stephen Bradley, a supplementary musician specializing in trumpeting and toasting, sported a Chauncey Billups jersey to the delight of the crowd, which reacted with a roar. (Some of the audience probably didn't know the outcome of the contest at that point -- but I'll bet most of them did.) ND's drummer, Adrian Young, countered by rocking a Lakers T-shirt, which he wore with a ballet tutu -- read the review for details. After the set, Bradley and Young gave each other a good-natured shove by way of representing the competing sides before laughing and hugging.
The Nuggets and Lakers probably won't be so genial whenever this series ends. I just hope that doesn't take place after game six on Friday. But at least I'll be able to watch whatever happens...