March 11, 2015, 6:30pm
Thomas and Martha Jefferson made their way to Time Warner Cable Arena. They hailed from South Carolina, visiting their son who worked at Bank of America.
“I can’t believe Dylan got us these tickets,” Thomas boasted proudly. “My son, a big time banker, getting his folks courtside seats to the Hornets!”
Martha looked with adornment at her husband, who was charged with excitement and pride for their son. The energy was infectious and Dylan gave them good reason to be proud parents. Although Martha was not a big basketball fan, she was knew that Thomas would enjoy the evening and was simply happy to have a night out, courtesy of their go-getter son. They arrived in their seats at 6:48pm, with just enough time to settle in before the National Anthem.
After the Anthem, the seatholders started to trickle in. In front of Thomas and Martha, a heavier set man named Joe Simpson sat with a beer in hand. The players were on the court; tip-off was about to begin.
The game started. Thomas, being an avid basketball fan his whole life, had never sat so close to the action. Joe was an expert heckler whose behaviour encouraged Thomas to experiment with a few heckles himself. Martha laughed every time at her husband’s attempts in mischief.
In the middle of the second quarter, the two empty seats beside Joe were filled by Melanie and Dakota White. They were a local mother and daughter who were not very big NBA fans, but had scored free tickets. They were clearly not too interested in the game, which annoyed Thomas, since they had slightly better seats than his. He passive-aggressively grumbled expressions of his displeasure here and there, and Martha grew embarrassed and tried quietly to shush him. Martha reminded Thomas that he shouldn’t let this ruin his night, as Dylan worked so hard to earn their tickets.
“Lookit this, Mom.” Dakota would say every few minutes, thrusting her smartphone into her mother’s face. It was always a picture of some guy, some sort of food, or some cat.
The second half began. Dakota started judging and swiping Tinder profiles with her mom.
Midway through the third quarter, the game was close. Kings’ player Lance Stephenson had dribbled himself into a Hornets double team, and attempted a pass to his team mate. The ball went straight toward the Hornets’ Gerald Henderson.
Even as a seasoned NBA veteran, Henderson had to fight his natural instincts to reach out to the ball. It came from Lance, he thought. Better let it go. He was already in mid-air but retreated his hands to avoid Stephenson’s errant pass.
“..PASS” as Dakota swiped left.
“He wasn’t so –” Melanie was rudely cut off.
Joe tried to help with his off-hand. He was holding his Blackberry.
Martha feared for her life and moved away.
Thomas put his hands out half-heartedly, but snickered inside.
Melanie’s hair exploded as her head snapped back and her glasses obeyed gravity, landing in her lap.
Dakota swiped right.
Despite the Kings turnover, one could say that Stephenson’s pass was on the nose.