Our family is obsessed with sports. My husband has been obsessed with the Chicago Cubs since he was a kid living in the Windy City. I figure skated competitively for about eleven years and have been a fan of the University of Kansas basketball team since before I can remember. So, it’s a little strange that until Friday night, we’d never attended a professional basketball game before.
Walking into San Antonio’s AT&T Center to watch the San Antonio Spurs take on the Golden State Warriors, we were a little hesitant. Our daughter, E., is very sensitive when it comes to loud noises, and she’s shy around strangers. How would she react to all of the cheering and yelling during the game? How would she feel to have strangers sitting in the seats near ours? Would the game hold her attention or would she grow restless and ask to leave?
The outcome? She loved it! And Nick and I had a pretty good time ourselves.
E. enjoyed the music that plays throughout the game. She danced and clapped to the music. She also enjoyed taking a cue from the other fans and cheering on the Spurs. E. understood enough about basketball to know that getting a basket is good and missing is not good. A few times, she looked at me and said, “Aw. They not get the shot.”
A few tips for parents who are planning on taking a young child to a Spurs game:
1. Eat dinner before you arrive. Like you’ll find at many sporting events, the food is pretty expensive and not particularly special.
2. As you drive towards the AT&T Center, you’ll pass a parking lot that charges $10. Skip it and turn onto the road that goes past the front of the arena. Across the street from the arena, you’ll see another lot that also costs $10. Unless you’re arriving late, there should be room in this second lot and you won’t have as far to walk. (Parking prices could vary. These were the prices we encountered for a Friday night game.)
3. Encourage your child to notice the different participants in the game. Point out the dancers, the mascot, the players, the coach, and anyone else you find interesting. Clap your hands to the music, cheer when a player makes a free throw, and check the scoreboard. There are lots of interesting sights and sounds at big sporting events!
4. Don’t feel like you need to get your money’s worth and stay for the entire game. We stayed for three quarters and quit while we were ahead. We wanted to leave while everyone was still having fun, instead of leaving carrying a tired, crying child.