Young Nyles and I attended the Wizards/Grizzlies on Wednesday night in the the pouring rain and summer-like temperatures. I came home from work, walked through the door, and Nyles' first words to me were, "Daddy I don't want to see the Lizards, I want to see John Wall." I stopped myself from laughing, and clarified that we were going to see the Washington Wizards and John Wall, but no lizards would be present. He repeated that he did want to see the lizards, and I again assured him that the lizards would maintain their distance.
My wife dropped us off at the game around 6pm, which was an hour before the game was to begin. I wanted to walk around the arena so he could look at the floor, get some pizza and snacks (and I got me some wine), and I wanted to buy him another Wizards jersey (he had no interest in getting another one because in his words, "Daddy I already have John Wall's jersey"). Point taken son. I did take him to meet my main man Kyle from Truth About It (aka my editor), who had some nice things to say to him. The last thing we did before we took our seats was to go down to the court, where we said hello to Mr. David Aldridge. My son was desperately trying to find John Wall, but he was back in the locker room, which caused my son to have a mini-meltdown. Luckily for me, the game was getting ready to start.
If you've ever been to a Wizards game--or any NBA game for that matter--you know that the pregame player introductions are filled with fireworks, fire, loud explosions, etc. I completely forgot to warn Nyles about the pyrotechnics, and when the first few fireworks went out, he clutched me as hard as I was clutching my wine. He begged me to take him home, and since he wouldn't shut up about it I was 90% percent sure I wasn't going to see the game at all. Then John Wall was introduced, and Nyles started smiling and jumping up and down. Thank god.
First Nyles was just fixated on what John Wall was doing, why he passed the ball, why he shot the ball and why he was sitting on the bench, instead of playing on the floor. Once he realized Wall was going to be on the bench for a minute, he actually started to take note of the other basketball nuances going on during the game. He liked the dunks, he noticed when someone passed the ball, he knew certain players were taller than others, and I did my best to fill him in. I cannot tell you how good it made me feel to be sitting there with my son--in an arena where I normally cover games--explaining what basketball is all about. My dad took me to my first basketball game when I was 12 years old, and by that time, I was an expert about everything related to basketball, except what it was like to watch live. But my son was hanging on my every word, he told me he loved, he was jumping all over me and he had a great time--until halftime.
At halftime, Nyles told me he was tired and he was ready to go home, and I decided not to torture him anymore. As we were walking out, one of the older workers at the Verizon Center told me that at Nyles' age, one half of basketball was all he could take, and I agreed. I called an Uber with a car seat (which is expensive as hell), and we headed back home. As soon as we got home, he hyped up the game to my wife, and said he couldn't wait to go back to another game, even though he just pressured me to leave the one that was still going on, I told him we'll go again.