I'm not much for sharing my life on the Internet. I don't have a Facebook or Twitter page because I have no desire to share everything I do with the world. However, I'll make an exception here.
Growing up, I didn't have the opportunity to see the Suns play in person; coming from a single-parent household, we didn't have the money for tickets. In fact, I rarely saw them play at all outside of catching a rare game shown on UPN 45. So as my interest in basketball grew, I became a Suns fan through family loyalties and kept up with the team by reading box scores and transaction notes in the paper, collecting basketball cards, and pretending to be various players while shooting around in my driveway. I still remember the day Phoenix signed Rex Chapman. When I heard, I grabbed my basketball and went outside to shoot around as Rex — although when I got outside, I had forgotten if the person on the TV had said Rex Chapman or Rex Walters. It didn't matter. I shot around as both.
The first time I ever got to attend an NBA event was the 1995 All-Star Jam Session here in Phoenix. A neighbor of ours had gotten free tickets and offered them to us. While the whole day is mostly a blur in my mind, I can still remember the excitement of entering America West Arena for the first time, seeing all the activity that surrounded us, and looking around for any players to get autographs from. I also knew well enough not to get an autograph from the Pacers' mascot, Boomer. For me, it was the Gorilla or bust.
The Jam Session was my introduction to the spectacle of the NBA, but my first chance to see my favorite team play came when I was in the 6th grade. My class, for reasons that escape me, had earned tickets to attend a Suns game. I was so excited to go that it didn't even matter that the tickets were upper deck. Yet the day of the game, I was sick and had to stay home while the rest of my class went to watch the Suns play.
I was disappointed to say the least. (Really whiny to say more.)
I have only been to two Suns games in my lifetime (both wins, by the way). I still have the foam finger and Suns pin and souvenir Budweiser glass I got from those games. I still remember seeing the players running around on the court and trying to figure out which one was Charles Barkley even though he was wearing the wrong jersey by that time. I remember both those games I went to. Do you know what I remember from the game I missed going to back in the 6th grade? Nothing. You can't remember an experience you never had.
That is why I chose to donate a ticket. While my donation can't help a kid who misses the game due to an illness, it can help a kid who might otherwise be left out. As I look at it, a class of 30 kids might be deserving to go, but if only 29 tickets remain, one kid will be left out in the cold. My ticket makes sure that 30th kid gets his memory just like the rest of his class.
I did not write this with the intention of guilting anyone into donating to this cause. As a general rule, I don't like feeling pressured to give. I don't find it to be in the spirit of charity. Because of that, I would never do the same to you. I know what it means to live paycheck to paycheck. As a matter of fact, I've never known anything else. Giving under those conditions is difficult, and no one should feel guilty because they can't help someone who is struggling when they‘re struggling themselves. I wrote this simply to give those who might be on the fence about giving — even if it's one ticket — some insight into what that donation is really doing and why I chose to make it.
Buying one ticket might not seem significant when the goal is 1,000, but that's not the point. You're not buying one of 1,000 tickets; you're buying a kid a memory he or she otherwise wouldn't get. That kid doesn't care how many tickets you donated. That kid only cares that you made the effort.
To me, that was worth the 16 bucks.
Here's How It Works To Donate
- You click this link to donate: Suns.com/brightsideofthesun
- Follow the links, and use the code 'SUNS' when prompted
- Make sure you select 'Suns Blog Bright Side of the Sun $16 donation' when prompted, then follow the prompts, pick the number of tickets you're buying, and make the payment
- Provide the payment method, and voila! you're done
- You will get a confirmation email directly from the Suns