This weekend, my brother, Kevin, treated my 3 year old son Caleb and I to our first OKC Thunder game. The Thunder experience has become a vital part of urban okc life. Leading up to the game, we had been talking to Caleb about what to expect. When we talked about going to watch a basketball game, Caleb’s only point of reference was his 7 year old cousin, Matthew’s, YMCA game from the week before. He kept saying, “I’m going to yell, ‘Go Matthew!!!'” Kathy and I just kind of laughed and assured him this was going to be a little different.
We arrived at our seats and started looking around the arena. He seemed pretty unfazed by it all. When the time came for the teams to be announced, he just wanted to know where “that thunder guy” (aka Rumble the mascot) was. Throughout the entire game, he constantly asked where was that Rumble guy. We would tell him, he must be taking a break. He was totally fascinated by Rumble.
Everyone was really gracious to Caleb. When the plastic b-balls were shot and thrown into the crowd, a middle aged man came over and gave him a ball. When we went to get some snacks, they gave him a blue wig & made him a balloon dog. He used some of his snack money from his grandparents to buy what any 3 yr old boy would…blue cotton candy. In a matter of minutes, his entire face and hands were bright thunder blue. We talked to him about some of the players & he loved yelling, “Go Kevin Durant!”
Later, we got a monster order of nachos. At one point, he leaned over and said, “more defense!” I knew he had been yelling go defense off and on throughout the game with us. But I asked him, “what are talking about?” He pointed directly into the tray of nachos and said, “MORE DEFENSE!” Every time he wanted another nacho, he yelled, “more defense!” Kevin and I were rolling. Thanks largely in part to Crazy Caleb, our section in Loud City won the Craziest Section contest and free crazy bread from Little Caesars. I even shamelessly shoved him in front of the camera when they were introducing the “Loud City” crew directly in front of us.
The Thunder won the game going away, and Caleb had an night of non-stop action. Of course the one thing about a cheapo father who parks at Bass Pro and a 3 yr old out way past his bedtime is that dad must carry said 3 yr old the half mile from the area to the car.
I think my favorite part of the experience was actually the next day. I had been at a meeting early that morning. As I pulled up to the house, I looked up to our front patio only to see Caleb in full blue wig, swinging his loud city towel, and laughing hysterically. Thank you, Oklahoma City Thunder, for making Caleb’s first experience one to remember!!