Photo by Jason Good
The Harlem Globetrotters made their annual appearance at the Target Center on Sunday. In attendance was me (the father) Lindsay (the mother), and our children, Arlo and Silas.
This was the boys’ first live sporting event.
A little tip: If you plan on taking kids who have never seen basketball to the Harlem Globetrotters (who really put on a great show), watch one of those old Scooby Doo movies in which the gang meets the Globetrotters. That way, the kids will know what to expect. Seeing the Harlem Globetrotters before seeing an actual basketball game is a little bit like introducing a child to the Muppets via Avenue Q.
Before the Show
Silas: What is it? Do we have to go?
Arlo: I don’t want to get dressed.
Arrival Part 1: Parking
Ramp B parking garage at the Target Center does not take credit cards. The attendant and I stared at each other for a long time.
Attendant: Ramp A takes cards, just turn around and go there.
Lindsay: WHERE IS RAMP A?!?!? WE’RE GOING TO MISS THE BEGINNING!
Silas: WHAT??? WE CAN’T GO NOW? (Whimpers.)
Lindsay: Put Ramp A into the map thing on your phone. Where are we? Is this a one-way?
Me: Everyone calm down.
Silas: Mommy needs to calm down, right?
Arrival Part 2: Skyway
Arlo: A TUNNEL!
Arlo hits top speed. I chase him, first employing a brisk walk then breaking into “Dad Trot.” Dressed in red, he matches the walls, carpet, ceiling, doors, light fixtures, etc. Luckily, he’s squealing with excitement, so I follow the sound of my offspring: a mother whale tracking her calf.
Pregame—whole family is now seated.
Arlo: (spotting a snow cone vendor) I WANT THAT!
I look to Lindsay. We both shrug.
Me: What color?
Silas: I want a blue one!
There are only two left in the vendor’s tray. They’re both green.
Arlo is having trouble with his snow cone. Chunks of it fall onto his sweatshirt, making him look rather Christmas-y. Lindsay, like the world’s most reticent bird mother, feeds him the fake green apple slush with a scoop on the end of the straw.
Silas, on his snow cone: I don’t like this. Can I have cotton candy?
Me: Guys, look, the game started.
They look up—briefly.
Arlo: I want cotton candy too!
Me: We can have some later. The game is long and the guy will come back many times before the end.
Oddly, the both agree to this.
Me: Whoa! Did you see that? (The player “Big Easy” has bounced the ball through his legs. “Hacksaw” snatches it mid-air to complete an alley oop.)
Silas: So they scored?
Me: Yes. Cool, right?
Silas: Uh huh.
He stares at the Jumbotron.
Me: Everything on that big screen is actually happening right here.
Silas: I know.
Me: Does anyone want a hot dog?
When I return, I’m told that while I was getting hotdogs (and considering whether to buy tickets to see Foreigner), a fake basketball filled with helium floated up to the top of the arena. I am sorry I missed it but am happy to report to my family that the man in front of me bought three trays of nachos—“No chips. Just cheese.”
Second Quarter (which includes a gag wherein a defender has his uniform torn off by Big Easy, and then runs around the court in his boxers)
Arlo: Now can we have cotton candy?
Silas: Why is that guy naked?!?!?!?!
End of First Half
Silas: Is this when everyone leaves?
Me: No they’re just taking a break.
Arlo is elbow deep in cotton candy.
Me to Lindsay: At least he had a hot dog.
Arlo: Can I have a red snow cone?
Lindsay: What? No.
Silas: Can I?
Me: Guys! Basketball!
Silas looks up at the Jumbotron. Arlo climbs on Lindsay’s lap.
Lindsay: Arlo wants to go walk around, can you take him out there? I think he has to poop.
Arlo: NO I DON’T!
Arlo (on the stairs): Can I get on your shoulders?
Me: Not on the stairs. It’s too dangerous. You don’t want to fall down onto the court and have them use you as a ball do you?
(Writer’s note: I’m hilarious.)
Arlo (on my shoulders—farting): I want to get down!
Arlo runs to the escalators. I follow. We go down.
Arlo: I want to go in the elevator.
Me: I don’t think it goes anywhere.
Arlo: I want to go in the elevator!
The elevator is made to look like the inside of a Lexus. There’s an attendant there to push buttons for us. Arlo stares at her, confused.
Me to attendant: Can we just ride this?
Attendant: Sure can! We’ll go down to the restaurant and back up. Sound good?
Me: Perfect. You gotta pick your battles, ya know?
The attendant smiles.
Arlo: Is this a car?
Me: No, it just looks like one. Cool right?
After peeking at the empty restaurant and riding back up, we exit the luxury elevator, and spend the next 15 minutes riding up and down the escalator.
Me: I think the game is ending soon. We should go get Mommy and Silas.
Arlo: Can I get on your shoulders?
Me: Do you have to go to the bathroom?
Me: Guys, what was your favorite part?
Arlo: The ball thingy.
Silas: Yeah, when that ball went all the way to the ceiling.
Lindsay: I liked that guy in the puffy suit who did the acrobatics.
Lindsay: I think you were out getting hot dogs for that part, too.
Jason Good’s book This is Ridiculous, This is Amazing: Parenting in 71 Lists arrives May 13. He and his family live in Minneapolis.