As a perk of having a subscription to Albany’s remaining newspaper, I can enter a number of contests pretty much automatically. So I play. A couple months back, I scored a pair of tickets to a movie theater.
Then in November, I received a pair of season tickets to Siena College men’s basketball games. Siena is in suburban Loudonville. That’s pronounced LOUD-in-ville, not LEW-den-ville, or London-ville.
Siena plays in Division I. It’s in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, a league that generally gets only one team to play at the end of the season NCAA March Madness. Siena’s gotten to that tournament six times over the years and has won a total of four games.
But it’s one of OUR teams, along with my alma mater, UAlbany. I missed the first home game. I decided I should go to the second game on Tuesday, November 12 because there wouldn’t be another home game until December 21.
I decided to invite the only person I know who definitely knows something about basketball. Chuck Miller is a fellow blogger, but more importantly, an announcer for the Albany Patroons, defending champions that play in the oddly-named The Basketball League.
We met at the pizza place nearby. The owner ended up offering a free slice to a guy who asked almost everyone in the joint for money. The fellow claimed to be a homeless veteran; perhaps, perhaps not.
The last time I was in the Times Union Center was when I saw a football game of the now-defunct Albany Firebirds a couple of years back. Our seats at the basketball game, if it were a football stadium, would be in the end zone. In other words, we were almost behind one of the baskets. Yet we could still see pretty well.
The two teams, Siena and St. Bonaventure University, were playing for the Brother Ed Coughlin Franciscan Cup. Coughlin was Siena’s president before he died in July 2019. He had earned his bachelor’s degree at St. Bonaventure.
Siena started the game off really cold, even missing free throws. The Bonnies made a few threes and had a six-point lead after four minutes. But the Saints turned things around, as their opponents got sloppy. Siena, up three at the half, built an insurmountable lead in the latter stages, and won 78-65.
There was a young woman in front of us, a Siena alum, who knew far more about the team and their skill sets than we did.
What was that?
The school held a 50/50 raffle to help one of their baseball or softball teams. Chuck spent $10 on his tickets and wanted to know if I wanted to go in on it with him. I decided to buy my own $5 worth. With 15 minutes left, the scoreboard flashed the winning number. The announcement was that I should go to the VCfghfl jkgughjn. WHAT?
I wandered around the perimeter of the arena until I found a young woman and her daughter, who was under five. She verified my ticket and handed me $263. Ah, Christmas is saved!
I was reminded that, generally, live sport is more interesting than watching on television. The game, I later learned, was broadcast on ESPN+, one of those several tiers of the sports network.
Would you like to go?
These are the remaining home games on the schedule.
21 (SAT) 6 PM VS BUCKNELL
23 (MON) 6 PM VS CANISIUS
29 (SUN) 2 PM VS HOLY CROSS
3 (FRI) 7 PM VS MONMOUTH
9 (THU) 7 PM VS SAINT PETER’S
24 (FRI) 7 PM VS MARIST
26 (SUN) 2 PM VS QUINNIPIAC
7 (FRI) 7 PM VS FAIRFIELD
14 (FRI) 7 PM VS RIDER
16 (SUN) 2 PM VS MANHATTAN/DOUBLEHEADER WITH SIENA WOMEN (noon)
19 (WED) 7 PM VS IONA
4 (WED) 7 PM VS NIAGARA
It’s highly unlikely that I’ll go to all of them. Thursday is choir night, e.g. And I don’t really want to go alone. So if you’re local and want one or two tickets, IM me on Facebook.