December 5th, 2014
Making Indianapolis Home: A Night with the Pacers
by Andrew Christenberry
Work by Lobyn Hamilton
Last Friday I sat at my desk in the City Gallery with an ever-present spark of excitement for the night’s festivities paired with the promise of a weekend’s rest. It was the beginning of what I knew would a solid day. I just didn’t know at the time exactly how solid it would be.
10:00 AM found me chugging along through my day’s agenda trying to tie up the loose ends of the week when I was asked one of the most beautiful questions I have ever heard from my colleague, Emily: “Would you want to go the Pacers game tonight?”
Let me give you a bit of context so you might understand why, for me, this question was so glorious. Basketball has been my favorite sport since my legs were strong enough to hold me upright. I began playing competitively at the age of seven at my elementary school. To be completely honest, my friends and I couldn’t get enough. Every free second we had together we would spend working on our game out on the driveway sometimes late into the night. For many of my formative years basketball was less like a game and more like a lifestyle. To this day the squeaking of shoes cutting on polished wood, mixed with the aroma of fresh popcorn takes me back to the good old days.
Another thing I should mention is how desperately in those years I wanted to live near an NBA team, and, not surprisingly, this desire has only grown stronger with time. Sadly, for the first two decades of my life this was never a reality. That is, not until this past May when I pulled up in my moving truck smack dab in the heart of Pacer nation. My time had finally come. I had found my team.
But I digress. After a brief consultation with my wife, and with a great joy in my heart, I accepted the tickets. I gave my buddy Josh a call, offered him the other ticket, and we eagerly awaited 7:00 PM at Banker’s Fieldhouse when the Pacers would begin their second regular season game against the Memphis Grizzlies. This would be a night to remember.
We arrived fifteen minutes early and took our seats three rows up from the court, and I began to feel the weight of culmination. My excitement only grew as I watched Vince Carter (a childhood hero of mine and unfortunately a Memphis Grizzly) warm up, and as I caught a glimpse of Paul George supporting his team from the Pacers’ bench.
The night’s festivities continued and I felt, with each passing quarter, more and more a Hoosier, and more and more a part of this great city.