"Are You Here With John Heldon?"
This time of year is filled with anticipation for all college basketball junkies, like myself. I've said before those of this ilk would like nothing better than to play the game year round, but we face reality and defer to the other major sports in our pastime.
Anxiety accompanied this usual anticipation for some of us this year, because our season tickets didn't arrive in a timely manner, ie, before the first game last night.
The last couple of days required a few phone calls to the ticket office, and I was assured a duplicate set of tickets would be waiting for me at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). The culprit was the terrible Storm Sandy which clobbered our area, and disrupted our mail and UPS deliveries. The Athletic Office always cuts the delivery close to the start of the season, and I've said before, one of these years, an unscheduled event is going clog up this ticket apparatus, and this was the year.
Anyway, Krystin, my ever helpful contact in the Athletic office, said she would leave word with the parking attendant that I would retrieve my parking pass when I picked up my tickets at the Media Center entrance to the RAC.
We still had a problem of our own doing, my wife and I. Genna had a late afternoon appointment, and would have to arrive at the RAC in a separate car. Since I would only have one parking pass to be used with my car, she would have to pay for her car ($12.) and park at the far end of the lot.
I arrived first at the RAC in order to set up my book stand next to the main Court Club table (see photos).
"Hi, I'm John Heldon. Did you get word to let me in without a parking pass while I go retrieve my tickets?"
A jovial, burly event staff member whips out a list, checks my name, and says, "Go ahead."
Great. I'm in the Green Parking lot, which is right next to the RAC, perfect for those games on cold, windy, or inclement days, as I have to schlep my basket of books and signage into the lobby an hour before game time. Poor Genna, I think, she has to pay $12. and park the equivalent of two blocks farther away. Normally, with this kind of a scheduling hassle, she would beg off the game, but this was her Alma mater, St. Peters.
About a half hour after I got setup for my book selling in the lobby of the RAC, Genna saunters up to my table with a big grin,
"I'm parked right next to you in the green lot, and it didn't cost me a dime. I pulled up to this big parking lot attendant and explained we hadn't gotten our season tickets or parking passes, and he said,"
"Are you here with John Heldon?"
We both burst out laughing. We weren't the only ones with tardy ticket issues, and I can't say I'm that famous as an author, but that's what he said!
This turned out to be the last chuckle of the night for me, as the Rutgers seemed to be in the Twilight Zone, playing much like the team of ghosts in my novel, "Ark."
This humiliation was accompanied by countless elbows to my ribs from Genna after each key score from St. Pete's. I'm hoping the game was a wakeup call for the Rutgers team. There's just too much talent there to sell themselves that short.