I’ve written a few stories recently about kids who were disappointed that their favorite NBA player wasn’t at a game they attended. These kids idolize their favorite players and were so excited to get the opportunity to see them in action at a game, but then got the major disappointment of the player being out for load management or injury, and not even in the arena during the game.
And now, I can add my 17-year-old son Jesse to that list of disappointed kids. While the kids I’ve written about where younger, it still hit hard pretty hard when Kyrie Irving announced he wanted a trade the night before the Brooklyn Nets vs. Washington Wizards game; the game that we had amazing seats for.
Kyrie Irving’s Absence Saturday Night Caused A Lot Of Disappointment For Fans, Including My Son
As soon as I heard the news on Friday night, I just knew in my heart that there was disappointment ahead. Sure enough, as we were waiting outside the Barclays Center for the doors to open Saturday night, the news that Irving wouldn’t be there hit fans pretty hard.
Not only was my son disappointed, but we could hear everyone around us talking about it. There was a teen in line next to us who drove with his family from Syracuse, New York to celebrate his 17th birthday at his first ever NBA game. He was excited to see his favorite player, who just happened to be Irving.
I purchased tickets to this game about two weeks ago, and because it was sort of a last-minute decision and it was only going to be me and Jesse, I decided it was time to spring for floor seats so Jesse would have the opportunity to see Irving up close and maybe meet him. We’ve been to quite a few Brooklyn games but always got upper section tickets, so this time I was determined to make it happen for him to meet his idol. But despite the excitement of great seats at what turned out to be an amazing game, the sadness of Irving not being there lingered throughout the night.
“I was excited to get to see my favorite player, the person who inspired me to start playing basketball years ago, from such amazing seats close to the court. We were in the seventh row behind the players next to their tunnel,” Jesse said. “I was really excited to be so close to the players’ tunnel so I could finally meet Kyrie, or even just get the chance to say hi to him. That’s something I’ve wanted for a long time.”
When Jesse heard that Kyrie requested a trade, the disappointment of not only losing his favorite player off his favorite team set in, but then also the realization that the day he’s been so looking forward to was not going to go as expected.
“I was disappointed Friday night to hear he wanted to leave the Nets because he’s my favorite player on my favorite team. I hoped that he would end his career in Brooklyn,” he said. “Then hearing he wasn’t going to be at the game I’ve been so excited for was more disappointing. It took a little piece of my happiness about being in such great seats and having a chance to meet him away from the experience.”
While I understand this is the nature of the game, it will never cease to amaze me how often something like this happens. It’s not only kids who feel this pain when their favorite player isn’t present, but adults too.
The section we sat in had a lot of season ticket holders who have been experiencing games together all season. They weren’t too pleased about Irving’s snap decision and the fact that he played his last game on the team and no one had a heads up. Sadly, the entire arena booed when they showed Irving on the jumbotron. It just further proved how upset everyone was about his decision to leave the team and the way he went about it.
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The Night Wasn’t A Total Loss For Jesse, But Kyrie Irving Took Away From The Experience
While Irving not being present did take away a lot of my son’s excitement about the game initially, other players stepped up unknowingly and made his night amazing. He got the chance to talk to Nicholas Claxton and Seth Curry and got Curry’s signature on the wooden court replica that was handed out to the first 5,000 fans through the door.
One of the season ticket holders in our section struck up conversation with us and helped my son to know when and where to stand to get the chance to talk to players, so the experience ended up being a great one despite the disappointment of Irving not being there.
“I got to meet Seth Curry and Nicholas Claxton, and I was really happy and excited that out of everyone there, Curry gave me a signature and Claxton talked to me,” Jesse said. “They could have just kept on walking, but they took the time to acknowledge my existence, and I’m very grateful for that experience.”
It’s moments like this that can make or break a child’s experience at a game. Fans typically buy tickets in advance assuming they’ll get the experience they were going for, but too often that’s not the case. And for many games, tickets aren’t cheap. Depending on what section you’re sitting in, tickets can be costly.
Today it was announced that Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and now Jesse and all the other Irving fans have this added disappointment. “The Nets will still be my favorite team even though Kyrie is going to Dallas, but it’s disappointing that he left the way he did,” Jesse said. “The one opportunity I had to see him up close and possibly meet him was taken away at the last minute and that’s something I’ll always remember.”