December 17, 2017

Healthy Scratch

No, I'm not posting from tonight's game. The photograph above is from the Wizards-Cavaliers game on November 3 of this year. 

Every so often I miss a Wizards game. I'd say over the past ten years or so I've missed a maximum of four home games in any one year, including a couple (or at least one since I've been writing this blog) of zero miss (or perfect attendance) years. Sometimes life gets in the way. Christmas. Vacations. Birthdays. Weddings. A Smiths/Morrissey cover band at the State Theatre. Whatever. Inevitably something most years takes me away from Capital One Arena (or previously Verizon Center / MCI Center) at least once per year and has me checking the score on my phone or watching a game on the iPad even though my Wizards team is in action just a few miles from my home.

Tonight is not one of those nights. 

Let me clarify. Tonight is not one of those nights where life has gotten in the way of the Wizards home schedule. The Wizards ARE playing at home and I am NOT there and I am sitting at home watching. It's Sunday night and it's an early evening game and I'm on my couch with some snacks watching the Wizards playing the Cleveland Cavaliers on television and I have no excuse for missing this game. No excuse except Wizards tickets are getting just too darned expensive and the prospect of selling my tickets to someone else on a Sunday afternoon in December got to be too much. I had to take a pass on this game. If it were March or April or even February and definitely not after April I wouldn't have done this.

I feel like hell. I feel like I'm letting my team down by not contributing just a little to the boos that used to be rained down on LeBron James or the applause for a John Wall drive or Bradley Beal three pointer or Marcin Gortat rebound or whatever it is going on center stage on the Cap One Arena court. For sure I should be there. This is literally the first home game I have watched on TV from my home since November of 2009 when I was laid up at home unable to walk due to a massive gout attack (totally my fault; who knew cranberries were loaded with purines) after a road game in Indiana. 

This year I spent more on Washington Wizards tickets than any year in my life. $9,680 to be exact. I realize some folks spend way more but $10K per year is nothing to sneeze at. And it's going to go up. I'm dreading my season ticket renewal notice in late February or early March. I've been shelling out money for Wizards tickets for the last 18 years of my life and I've gotten very little emotional satisfaction in return. For sure, winning in the first round of the playoffs four times has been sort of satisfying and watching John Wall and Gilbert Arenas has been nothing short of amazing. The passes John makes are unbelievably skillful and Gil's cold blooded daggers were just spectacular back in the day. But one division title in the first 17 years of me buying season tickets and nothing playoff-wise beyond the second round? I'm not doing too well on return for my investment.

So I'm home. And I'm hoping the Wizards win. For what it's worth, I'll be cheering loudly from my couch in Arlington, while I'm munching on Cheez-Its and drinking $10 per bottle wine (just one bottle, I promise). Not that it will drown out the cheers of the (probable) Cavs fans sitting in my regular seats. Although, let's face it, they are probably just cheering for LeBron James and have never actually been to Cleveland. 

I would love that I didn't have to do this and honestly I probably didn't have to but there's only so much per year I can spend on tickets. I would love it if the Wizards would incentivize fans to attend home games through non-sellable low cost tickets like I proposed towards the middle of last year to get us to come to the games every night and recognize a savings. Even better I'd love for the Wizards to offer discounts over and above the current season ticket prices for fans that have suffered through 19-23 and 25-57 and another 19-63 and 26-56 and 23-39 and 20-46 (labor dispute shortened season) and 29-53 seasons. Do they realize I've shelled out cash for each of these seasons?

I don't expect anything. So I'm here at home watching the Wizards on TV. But I'll be there on Tuesday, rooting for the Wizards to beat the Pelicans. And I won't stop doing this until the Wizards price me out of my seats completely rather than for just one game per year. Let's hope they never do that. They've already forced me to sell this game. Here's hoping the next years won't be like this. I'm not holding my breath. 

Tonight is also the Wizards' annual toy drive. Love this graphic.

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