Yesterday, I spent my day at The Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament. Big ups to my connect. I've attended in years past, but for some reason, this year, I was more observant of my surroundings. It's tournament time all over the country, but it is an exceptionally exciting time for basketball here in L.A. The Pac-10 Tourney is a "future star" showcase. There is boundless talent 'round these parts, so consider this Conference the land of plenty.
The Staples center was an array of young, old, short, tall, female, but mostly male (did you hear that ladies?) people, of many ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Of course you had your casual fans, but the highlight of the day for me were the "arena refs", as I like to call them. They call plays, chastise players for mistakes, use profanity, argue calls, and get down right indignant. It's a beautiful thing to see! Then you have the team allegiances, highlighted by the lively bands, some better than others (Cal's band was groovin'), the mascots and the sea of tees, sweatshirts, and hats. During TV timeouts, they showed casual fans in the lobby singing their favorite school's fight song, which was kinda cute, until they booed a woman who had to read the words from a book. She really was pitiful, though.
The atmosphere resembles a glass menagerie when you interject the presence of the "The Life"; this group includes the proud parents, the university big wigs, the pro level general managers and scouts, the agents, the managers, the marketing companies, the endorsement companies, the financial advisers, the sports writers, and the lifestyle managers/personal assistants (wink and smile).
I was in attendance during the second session, which consisted of two games. The competition was varied. USC battled Arizona State in the first game. It was cool of course, to watch O.J. Mayo handle his business, he's smooth. But it was also nice to get an up close look at a few guys whose names are not as "household" yet. I liked the Sophomore guard, Daniel Hackett, from USC, and the Freshman guard, James Harden, from Arizona State. The UCLA-Cal game, was not as good. Actually, it was a blowout. UCLA has the big Freshman Kevin Love, who was a fan favorite. They are lead by the finesse PG, Darren Collison, and showcase one of the Shipp Boys, Josh. I also got the tip from a colleague to keep an eye on the skills of Cal Freshman forward, Ryan Anderson. He's solid all around and should get a good look at the next level, whenever that time comes.
I didn't get the chance to hang around to watch Stanford eliminate Arizona, but I'm quite happy with the outcome. Go Cardinal!
All in all, I had a great day. To those of you who get paid to sit and watch basketball all day, bless you. Can we switch?