[Part 2 of SueB's report from Steve Nash's Charity Classic]
Finally, a hotel with free internet. Here's a little bit more about our experience in Vancouver this weekend.
We arrived on Friday, and I knew we were staying at the "official hotel" of the event, but I didn't realize that meant all the players were staying here as well. So when I took the kids down to find the pool, I was surprised to see a bunch of players - including Raja Bell - gathered in the lobby. I was just getting all excited about that when I turned around again, and there was Steve Nash, greeting all of them and making a joke about being dressed "business casual". I was a little upset to be caught without my camera, but I'm a non-intrusive person, so I was probably not going to go up and bother them for a picture or autograph anyway. It was thrilling enough just to see them. I headed to the elevator, so I could resume breathing, and waiting there was Sam Cassell. He had a friend with him, and just as I was wondering if the three of us would fit on with both of them and their luggage, the elevator arrived, and off came Samuel Dalembert. Cassell and Dalembert greeted with a shrug, and I was still wondering what to do, when Cassell resolved the matter with a very polite "After you", and we all got on. Very cool.
When I saw them, Steve and Raja must've just completed the press conference described in this article. Then I figure they were gathering to attend (or grab a bite before) this event, which was just a little tiny bit out of our league.
Saturday morning, we headed out to explore Vancouver. Walking through the hotel lobby, we again ran across Nash, walking briskly toward us while talking to a couple of people with him. My husband - who really isn't much of a hoops fan - said later he probably would not have even noticed Nash if I hadn't been going ballistic (quietly, in my own way, noticeable only to him). Nash definitely doesn't look any bigger off the court than he does on it! I don't believe for a minute that he is 6'3". After semi-jokingly wondering if hanging around the hotel lobby might really be the best way to spend the day, we headed out.
After a short miserable time spent exploring historic Gastown on foot (and getting semi-lost) in the rain, we took the subway (aka "SkyTrain") and got down to the arena to scope out the parking situation and opted to buy a pre-paid parking pass. Thank goodness because it was raining before, during and after the game, and it would've been miserable trying to catch a cab afterwards.
Fortunately, the rain did stop for a few hours Saturday afternoon, enough time for us to attend the "Good Karma" block party, across the street from the arena. We got there early and saw pretty much everything there was to see and picked up a couple dozen freebie handouts in about 10 minutes. Only then did we notice the posted schedule of events and see that there would be two player autograph-signing sessions a little later. With two young kids in tow, it was pretty much impossible for us to do both the autograph sessions and the "Fast Break" which was a Q&A session with the players before the game. In hindsight, I wish we'd chosen the "Fast Break", but I was so quickly and easily able to approach Leandro Barbosa for his autograph that we opted to wait for the other players to show. We did manage to get some more autographs, including those of Raja and Nash, but the long wait and the crush of the crowd made it pretty unpleasant.
I've always felt an autograph itself wasn't as important as being close enough to meet the person. But this setting allowed for little or no interaction, and I ended up being more concerned about my 6-year-old son's safety to really pay attention to the players that much. It wasn't the players' fault, of course - they were all very gracious. I can really understand why it's probably not their favorite thing to do either. We did get some pictures, at least, so that was cool. And we beat the rain - it started raining again soon after Nash went by us, so I'm sure a lot of other people either got soaked or missed out. But for me, just happening across Nash & company a couple of times at the hotel was the much more thrilling experience.
I already discussed the game itself in my other post. They didn't announce the attendance at the game, but reports seem to be that it was over 10,000, which sounds about right. It was a nice vocal crowd, lots of fun. All the Suns' players - along with former Grizz Felipe Lopez - got the biggest cheers during introductions. Barbosa probably had the second loudest cheer behind Nash. And man, oh man, I haven't seen that many Nash jerseys anyplace outside of US Airways. Well, make that never, since I've never been to US Airways. I'm guessing at a Suns' game, you see mostly Nash but also a good mix of jerseys from various other players. This was pretty much all Nash, all the time. I saw one Bosh jersey and one Wade jersey, and my son claimed to see a "Suns jersey that was 31 instead of 13", so maybe a Matrix jersey was present as well. But pretty much everything else was Nash. Purple, white, orange, even red Canada #7's. He truly is an icon in British Columbia. In all of Canada, really, but especially in his home province.
Anyway, tomorrow we fly home after a week of rain and clouds - just in time for it to turn nice here in the Northwest! But despite the bad weather, I'm still really glad we came. I read an article in which Nash said they're not sure they'll be doing a charity game again next year, so I'm definitely glad we made it to this one.
And of course, now I just need to make it to a Suns' game.