I’m sure I will give my age away when I say I had a Binatone tennis game as a child. At the time it was the height of technological entertainment. You plugged it into the TV and on a black screen two little sticks could be moved by two players to hit a ‘ball’ back and forth. It was exciting for the first five minutes, fuelled in part by the toxic fumes emanating from the plastic casing slowly heating up. Unless the game was timed it could go on for hours with little differential between the scores – unless one player was closer to the fumes! I was reminded of the hours of ‘fun’ my Binatone gave me when I went to see my first ever Basketball game!
This time the little sticks were replaced by very tall sticks and more than two. I’m not sure how many there were. They ran up and down and wouldn’t stand still long enough for me to count them. The light-headedness I had as a child inhaling nauseous gasses (mostly from the overheated Binatone) was caused by vertigo up in the rafters in the cheap seats. We were some distance from the $1500+ ring side seats and had to share a pair of opera glasses I had the foresight to steal when I went to the theatre once. The game action was almost exactly the same as Binatone tennis. The ball went from one side of the court to the other at a relentless rate! I found myself sleeping for much of the time, lulled by the hypnotic pendulum effect of the game. That and total boredom!
I liked it much more than the other American sports I have been subjected to. At least the game was lively, if a little monotonous! I felt I knew something about the game from playing netball when I was 12. Watching some American movies featuring basketball, like High School Musical helped too. I know the difference! In basketball it is a hoop and not a net and netball is loads harder because you can’t do a slam-dunk, which until now I thought was something rather vulgar you did with a Rich Tea Biscuit in a cup of tea! You have to keep your feet on the floor in netball, the net is smaller and without a backboard. Basketball is netball for Americans! We have a basketball illegally erected on our drive. I received a letter from the Neighbourhood association telling me I had to have planning permission!
Wanting to demonstrate my expertise I tried to join in as much as possible. I did get a few funny looks though when I shouted ‘Goal Attack, shoot the outside J’ and ‘gotta keep your head in the game!’
My hubby declared a love of the game and a desire to buy a season ticket. I thought this was really odd as the only time he paid any attention was before they started playing and intervals during the game when the cheer leaders were on. Still, he seemed to be taking it seriously and even practiced dribbling. He may have even performed a double dribble!
Unlike American football and baseball, the players actually move which made it seem more like watching a ‘sport’ rather than a warm up session on ‘the Biggest loser’. They weren’t fat like the muffin topped baseball players and wore no protective gear at all. They were certainly fit but what amazed me was how often they missed the hoop. The average height of an NBA player is 6’7” and the hoop is 10’. They haven’t got to throw it that far! Seems like an unfair advantage if you are very tall. If they put the hoop lower, shorter people could play! Even missing it frequently the score was pretty tight all the way through. Binatone standard!
We left early. My son had been shouting for the New Orleans Hornets to win and we were in a stadium full of Red T-shirt wearing Houston Rocket fans. There is no demarcation between home and away fans but given the cost of tickets and travel you would have to be pretty dedicated to travel to away games in different states. I think he was the only Hornet fan there! The locals tolerated my son’s Rocket booing in very good humour considering the rockets were losing. Sport here really is a family affair and there is no spectre of threatened violence hanging in the atmosphere like you get at football matches in the
As we left, with just a quarter of the game to go we noticed people arriving and the stadium filling up. I realised why when I checked the score the next day. The game is all about the timing of the final whistle. It is so close in point scoring that it matters who has the ball last and scores those final points. The Houston Rockets won 84-77. When we left the point difference had been the same against them. Binatone scores!
Even though it was bright orange, the basket ball was certainly more colourful than my Binatone game and they blasted some great spurts of loud rock music in between play at the Houston Rockets which was way beyond the capacity my Binatone game console but with the mind altering fumes it delivered, I think the Binatone had the edge.