Yesterday or the day before I heard that my boss had won a radio contest and received two free tickets to last night's Notre Dame at the University of Illinois basketball game. Sweet, I thought. The old Assembly Hall, recently renamed the State Farm Center, would be hosting its first game since being remodeled. Additionally, the basketball court, which recently was named for former Illinois coach Lou Henson, was to be dedicated that night. I thought about scrounging around outside the arena for a ticket if I would be in the mood to go.
It turned out that my boss was unable to go and gave the tickets to my school's athletic director. A short time later, I found out that he was unable to go. Yowsa! I was told the the tickets were supposed to be good and even allowed admittance into a special club at the arena. After my wife declined to go -- not unexpected -- my son jumped on board. It sounded even better when it looked like the tickets included complementary in-seat food service. Double Yowsa!
I picked up my son and headed to the game about an hour before tip off. Although there was some uncertainty with getting seated since the indoor arena configuration had been changed, we were seated in the nice loge seats that would regularly be occupied by people who donated a decent amount of money, paid the personal seat license fee, etc.
Waiting at the table were a free program, a box of popcorn and a tub of water and soft drinks. The chairs were not arena chairs but regular chairs that might be around an office conference table. Since many of the choice seats were not filled, we essentially shared a private waiter with three other people. We could spread out all our stuff on the nice long table. We had a small monitor on the table right in front of us.Needless to say, we were two happy guys.
The first half of the game was excellent. Illinois was playing well and in the lead. After the court dedication ceremony, we went to the private club for a quick drink, then headed back to the game. Unfortunately, Illinois could not keep up with Notre Dame and lost by five points.
My son was especially thrilled to not be doing the usual "poor college student routine." He was amazed at how polite everyone was.
Right place, right time. Sometimes it helps when Lady Luck decides to find favor with you!