My first real American experience occurred on the first day of Spring term when I went to an NBA game with some of the other exchange students. It was Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics, and there was no doubt about who the audience was cheering for. Now, while I don’t care much for basketball – or sports in general for that matter – I definitely don’t regret going to this event. I had the mindset of going for the experience and I was not disappointed.
During the event, there was always music playing which signaled in which court the ball was. People started to yell, ”DE-FENSE”, whenever the ball was in the 76ers’ court, and people were booing when the opponent team were to attempt to score due to a foul. I can’t imagine how it must have played on the team’s psyche to have the audience rooting for you to fail! Even on the big screen, the text was saying that everyone would get 5 free chicken nuggets for every time they failed to score, which I found hilarious (on a side note, I never actually got my free nuggets). The mood during the whole game was really something else – it was so American!
During the breaks, sometimes random people would also get the camera on them so that everyone could see them on the big screen. They would either wave at the camera after realizing they were on, or they would start to dance to the music. At some point, the audience was also told specifically to do the floss, a type of dance. It was so fun watching all the people just dropping everything, standing up, and doing their best version of it! It was clear that the people who were considered to be the most entertaining on the big screen had more camera time than others. The camera would often return to the people that seemed to have the most fun, with the biggest smiles, and dancing their pants off!
There would also be both competitions where some people from the audience could try to score, to win prizes. A huge cannon was brought in, as well, to shoot out free T-shirts for any lucky people in the audience – the hype was truly real! Sadly, I was in the row that was furthest back so the T-shirts couldn’t reach me.
The whole sports event wasn’t just a game. It was an experience on its own with all the entertainment for the crowd, the music, the dancing. It’s something I could not have experienced elsewhere. It doesn’t get more American than this.