Wow – what a night!

Posted by April on December 11th, 2009 filed in Family

I have to admit that the Thanksgiving holiday was very difficult for me.  It tore me apart to spend that day without Joel — one of his favorite holidays.  As the kids pointed out to me on several occasions, they were sad that they weren’t able to help Joel cook for Thanksgiving.  They wished that we would have hosted Thanksgiving at our house again this year.  This incredible sadness I was experiencing  lingered for more than a week.  I could not update the website because I was afraid I would be too depressing with the post, too negative with my words.  Ironically, I thought of Joel throughout our activities this evening, but I had more of a sense that he would have been just bewildered and humored by the kids reactions to the events this evening.  Though I would have given anything to have Joel with us tonight, somehow I think he was.

The kids and I went to the Indiana Pacers – New Jersey Nets game tonight.  Thanks to Dr. Linda Malkas and Dr. Robert Hickey, who won the tickets at the Anna’s Ball silent auction, our seats were located in a suite on the FedEx Level.  We arrived early to the game.  After walking through the security check point, we were anxiously awaiting the permission to go to the suite.  While waiting in the main lobby area, Sam Perkins walked up to a group of people standing right next to us!  I was trying not to interrupt his conversation, but also trying to get his attention, so that the kids could get their picture with him.  I soon asked a nearby security guard whether it would be O.K. to ask the “Big Smooth” for his picture.  He assured me that he wouldn’t mind.  Then I had to convince the kids to stand next to the 6’9″ man!  (“No!  I’m not going over there!  He’s so big!” is the response I got from one child.)  Thankfully, all cooperated for the picture.  Next, we went downstairs to check out the suite.  The kids absolutely loved it!  Great seats, scrumptious food sitting out and plenty of room!  With total excitement beaming from them, we headed back down the hall to check out the Locker Room Restaurant on the lower level.  The kids were confused by the name (thinking we were heading to the Pacers’ locker room) and thus totally did not see Larry Bird walking towards us.  I unsuccessfully tried to discreetly tell the kids to look at Larry Bird, since we were the only ones in the empty hallway aside from the person who had just left the Executive Office with him.  My attempt must have been pretty feeble, since Larry Bird looked at me, chuckled a little and said hello.  The kids were so excited to go to the “Pacers’ locker room” that they didn’t even see him!  (Thankfully, we got a picture and his autograph later in the evening.)  I was thinking this had already been a really cool night — seeing Sam Perkins and Larry Bird in person.  Whew — this was so much fun!  It was just the beginning.  As we were waiting in the Locker Room Restaurant to get the O.K. to stand in the tunnel to see the players as they run onto the court, I noticed a man eating dinner that I thought looked familiar.  I couldn’t exactly place him — thinking he might be in a government position, or in television or something.  I would not have thought more about it if he hadn’t stopped on his way out of the restaurant to kid Daphne about something.  Then I knew he must be someone that I should know.  I asked the security guard who he was.  “Oh, that’s Coach Leonard,” he stated.  He confirmed that Bobby “Slick” Leonard wouldn’t mind having his picture taken with the kids.  So we quick ran down the tunnel for the photo.  (After the fact, I wished I got his autograph too.  Just way too much excitement.)  Then T.J. Ford came along and signed an autograph for Rachel.  (After T.J. scored the first four Pacer points in the game, Rachel shared that she really liked him!)  The kids were able to see the players run out onto the court at the beginning of the game.  We were able to assume the same spots in the tunnel at half-time, when many of the players high-fived the kids’ hands on the way to the locker room.

We thoroughly enjoyed the game in the suite.  Daphne was thrilled when she was broadcasted on the huge, half-court video monitor during a third quarter timeout.  The adults that joined us in the suite were very friendly and easy-going — they tolerated three hyper kids very well!  Though I chuckle that the kids did not know the basketball legends that we stumbled upon tonight, they still enjoyed hanging with Boomer and seeing a Pacer game in person.  I have included a few pictures from the evening below.

5 Responses to “Wow – what a night!”

  1. Connie Matalon Says:

    Hi April,

    What an incredible night for you and Rachel and Daphne and Vincent !!! Thank you for posting the pictures and sharing the excitement of the Pacers’ game !!! You’re right, Joel would have loved it.
    Cousin Connie

  2. Julie Wolfschlag NIezer Says:

    Hi April!

    I have SO enjoyed keeping up with you and the kids on the website. YOU continue to be an inspiration to me each and every day. Your amazing strength never ceases to amaze me.

    Your evening out at the Pacers game sounds AMAZING!!! It sounds like you guys had a blast and I can’t think of another family that deserves it more. I am sure that Joel WAS there…in his own way…and enjoying every minute right beside you!

    Although we still haven’t connected, I still have not forgotten. I believe it is for your birthday that I owe you a night off from cooking. I hope I can deliver that promise soon.

    I wish you and the kids a holiday filled with much PEACE, LOVE, AND JOY! You all continue to be in my heart! Much love to you all! Julie

  3. Paula Cooprider Says:

    April, Rachel, Daphne and Vincent,
    Wow is a good word to describe the night at the Pacer game. I overheard you talking about it a little on Saturday but I didn’t hear the exciting particulars. Even one of the events you describe would be a “Wow” and you experienced several Wows”. Did you know that Bobby Leonard played his high school basketball in Terre Haute? Just a bit of trivia with a Terre Haute connection. And you know that Larry Bird is famous for his college basketball at ISU. (More Terre Haute Trivia.) I’m so glad you were able to take it all in. And thanks for giving us a glimpse of your fun and for writing when you don’t really feel like it.
    I am so glad you were able to come to McCormick’s Creek this weekend. Much as we missed Joel having you and the kids there helped. Thanks for being there. See you later. Paula

  4. Mary-Caroline Peddie Says:

    LOVE to hear such excitement and happiness in your voice.
    Blessings to all.

  5. Karen Allen Says:

    WOW! What an exciting night. Such beautiful kids. Their smiles bring tears. Thanks for sharing.

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