A damp Friday morning in Newcastle and I was on route to an even damper Rothbury. Just as I shut the door of my van I spotted a message. “I have 4 corporate tickets for Newcastle Eagles Basketball, for tonight if you fancy them?” We had been racking our brains for something different to do this weekend. Then out of nowhere it landed in our lap. The Newcastle Eagles play at Sport Central at Northumbria University, the game tips of at 7:30pm.
Newcastle Eagles Basketball
We had been invited as a corporate guest of Zapatista Burrito Bar, Newcastle. Which gave us access to the corporate lounge before the game, free Programs, some free food (chilli and nachos) and a pre match talk by Fabulous Flournoy.
If I’m totally honest I’m not a sports person. Football, to me seems to drag on and Golf seems too frustrating. So going to see Basketball was something totally alien to my comfort zone. The girls were excited about the adventure though. They had pictures of cheerleaders and foam fingers in mind, while singing “Hot Po-Ta-To, Hot Po-Ta-To, Hot Po-ta-to”. This will make sense if you have girls that star at Youtube for hours per day! I didn’t even know how long the game lasted or the scoring system.
Newcastle Eagles Vs Cheshire Phoenix
Basketball is a fast game and certainly a sport with a lack of down time. As soon as the Ball was tipped off, Newcastle Eagles scored 2 points in the net. Then Cheshire Phoenix returned with 2 points. Then the Eagles, then the Phoenix and all of a sudden Newcastle Eagles scored 3 points, which was matched by the Pheonix.
The points were flying in. I didn’t really understand until the
second half third quarter that the points were related to the distance from the basket. There is a semi-circle marked on the floor which marks a scoring zone. Inside this zone is 2 points, outside is 3 points. Then occasionally everyone would slow down and one person from a team would shoot a basket for 1 point (twice). I worked out that this was for a foul, but I never found out what the fouls were.
The part I started to work out was the game is divided up into 4 quarters. Each quarter lasting 10 minutes. Easy? Sort of… During the 10 minutes at any point in the game, even when it seemed to get going and points were flying in. It would stop and the compare would draw a raffle. Or they selected someone for Zapatista’s Mexican Hat Chance. Or they sent in the cheerleaders (Eaglettes).
By the Second quarter I decided that maybe the 10 minutes were divided up into two parts. I was wrong, after 2 minutes 16 seconds, there was a program number being drawn for a prize. Followed by about 45 seconds of cheerleading about 3 minutes later.
By half time the scores had equaled out again and sat at 54 points each. And I started to notice another counter on the board. A yellow counter that seemed to count from 30 downwards.
The Second Half
Cheshire Phoenix showed a strong game and it certainly wasn’t an easy game. All it took was a little break away towards the end of the third quarter. Then by two minutes into the final quarter there was a 12 point gap. Newcastle Eagles were winning. And the points gap kept opening further. I’d finally started to understand the games system.
Then two and a half minutes to the end there was a net malfunction. As the organisers looked for a set of steps, the cheerleaders ran on for a quick burst of Rhianna. Another ticket related raffle draw. With the net fixed and the match was back on. With just over two minute left Cheshire phoenix were pushing hard to close the gap. I was watching the timer ticking down. Twenty five seconds left. The commentator announced “Please show your support for your home team of the Newcastle Eagles”. Everyone stood up and cheered, while the Basketball seemed to stop moving. Cheshire Eagles must have realised that they couldn’t score 23 points in remaining time, so gave up.
The Final Score was Newcastle Eagles 116 | Cheshire Phoenix 93.
Did our girls like the Newcastle Eagles Basketball game?
Simply put they loved it and have asked to go back. The fast pace meant that there was always something going on. Abigail enjoyed watching the score board and seeing the white numbers going up. Imogen liked the sport, but also was fascinated by the cheerleaders. I enjoyed it from a non sports person position because it was so actively progressive. The set up was very professional and much more than expected. A compare keeping the crowd entertained as well as a commentator talking through out the game. Mix in the barrel organ sound board and we were in the zone.
A huge thank you to Zapatista for the tickets. I still never got to the bottom for the yellow thirty second counter!