Experiencing the BayHawks Live

Thursday, April 30, 2009

First of all, a disclaimer: I managed to attend only two BayHawks games during their inaugural season. I wish I had seen more, but scheduling conflicts just got in the way. However, you can bet on seeing me in attendance much more regularly. As I try to grow the blog, I certainly plan on being in attendance as much as possible next season. But for now, I have those two experiences to go on.

My first BayHawks game was Dec. 18 vs. the Dakota Wizards. My buddy Colvin and I went along with two of his coworkers, sitting in mid-level seats. The view was great, but I’d rate the crowd as subpar. They seemed disinterested Unfortunately, so did the team. From a basketball standpoint, it was not exactly a pleasant introduction to BayHawks basketball.

After starting the year 3-0 at home, Erie came out looking flat yet managed a 19-19 first quarter tie. From that point onm Erie was dominated. They were outscored by 11 in the second and 14 in the third en route to a 102-79 loss.

My next live BayHawks experience didn’t come until March 13. Incidentally, that game also came against Dakota. For what it’s worth, the Wizards seemed to have Erie’s number all season long. The BayHawks went just 2-5 against the Wizards for the year.

My second experience was much more representative of the BayHawks team that battled its way into the playoffs. Despite giving up 70 first half points, they never stopped fighting. Future Toronto Raptors call-up Quincy Douby suited up for the BayHawks in this one, netting 16 points in just over 16 minutes of playing time. Why he didn’t get more run, I’ll never know. Still, Erie hung in there, even managing to take a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter before eventually falling 123-117.

On the floor, this was obviously the more entertaining of the two games I saw. Dakota’s star Blake Ahearn torched the BayHawks for 35 points on 7-10 from 3-point range and 8-9 from the free throw line. The BayHawks countered by hitting 11 of 26 3-point shots themselves.

And best of all, I got to watch the whole thing from courtside seats directly behind the bench again with my friend Colvin. Thanks to his place of business for providing the tickets!

As Ferris Bueller would say, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up those tickets.” Being courtside gives you a whole different level of appreciation for how big these guys are and all that they do on the floor. It was also a lot of fun to watch the body language of players on the bench and in the huddle as they took instructions from coach Treloar, who was surprisingly undemonstrative throughout the course of this tight-knit game.

But back to the fan experience. For the December game, I’d probably grade it a C-. Because I’m a basketball fan first, the product on the floor matters most to me, and a 23-point loss just isn’t acceptable. Still I can’t go lower than that. They did do a pretty good job of keeping the fans generally entertained with promotional gimmicks during timeouts and between quarters. And while the piped-in stadium sound was a bit overdone for my taste, it probably does help the more casual fan stay interested.

High marks for the dance team and halftime show at this one as well. I don’t remember who they were, but I think they were an elementary-school-aged hip hop dance crew. My cynical expectations were low, but these kids could move! Very entertaining, and judging from the BayHawks’ effort in this one, I’d say they practiced harder than the team that week.

For the March game, I’d go as high as an B+. Again, losing counts against them for me. But sitting courtside certainly didn’t hurt. You get your own personal waitress who walks around periodically asking if you need anything to eat or drink, and you can even get a copy of the stat sheet at the half from the statistician. Again, for basketball junkies like myself, that’s as important as the Price as Right themed halftime promotion they had that night. Of course, had I won the car, I’d probably have loved that segment most of all.

All in all, though, this was an experience that made me want to come back for more. And the game that really planted the seed in my mind to take this idea of a BayHawks blog and put the wheels in motion to make it happen.

Is there room for improvement? Of course there is. But kudos to the BayHawks for an overall entertain first year. Obviously I’m won over, and I can only hope that others feel similarly to ensure that professional basketball remains in Erie.

I’d love to hear from other fans who went to a game. What did you like or not like? Will you be back next year? Does the fact that the team made the playoffs make you more interested in seeing them? Hit up the comments section below.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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