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Little Miss Bright Side: The Dawning of a New Generation of Suns Fans

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NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally cool enough outside to meet the definition of “cold” in the usually sweltering Phoenix desert. Electric heaters will be setting off smoke detectors in homes all over the Valley of the Sun this weekend. The days remaining in 2017 are numbered...literally. In a matter of only a few short weeks we will move into 2018- and consequently spend the following two months scribbling an awkward “8” over the number “7” we absentmindedly wrote in the year section of the date. Well... for those of us who still actually hand write things.

Players, coaches, families, friends, and fans all over will be spending their final days of 2017 filled with holiday foods, cheerful gatherings, and gifts. Each of us taking a moment to reflect on the changing of the time and celebrate the season with the traditions our lives and cultures are built by- no matter what those traditions are. We will all take a moment to be thankful for what we have, and who we know, and the possibility of what secrets the future will begin revealing to us. Here at Bright Side, our celebration is recognized in the tradition of Bright Side Night which will be held on January 14, 2018.

What is Bright Side Night?

Bright Side Night is designed for the contributors and readers to give back to our community by raising money for tickets to send underprivileged children to their first professional basketball game; Exposing a new generation of young basketball fans, players, and coaches to the excitement, hard work, professionalism, and possibilities that can come of a little encouragement and generosity from a powerfully loyal fan base such as we have for our Phoenix Suns.

Personal Experience

As it happens, I have a personal story related to this event. I have a young nephew who also happens to have a birthday during this same time of year. He and I were both fortunate enough to be included in this experience, and it was the reason I volunteered to help with this year’s Bright Side Night. It will be a long time before I can forget how at that game my nephew turned to me and grabbed my arm halfway into the first quarter with eyes as big as saucers- an effect which was exaggerated even more by his overly large glasses and said, “Aunt Neyna, don’t tell my mom... but this is the best birthday ever!” It took me several napkins, a lot of complaining about allergies and a quick trip to the bathroom to get it under control.

Admittedly, despite having cried in front of my nephew... in public... at a professional basketball game, it was one of the most memorable and meaningful moments of my life. Why was this meaningful to me?

My nephew now plays basketball in school. Taking him to that game motivated him to want to work hard, and keep trying even though he has struggled with finding an activity he enjoys. That game inspired him to grow into something he now loves and promotes other healthy practices in his life; practices like teamwork, dependability, precision, exercise, and fun. It is a game after all!

I am both thankful and proud that I was able to play a part in this experience for him, and for all the children who will receive the same opportunity this holiday season.

I invite you to participate this year and help us welcome a new generation of Suns’ fans.

How do you participate?

The game is January 14, 2018 when the Phoenix Suns will play the Indiana Pacers.

Tickets are $9 each.

Donate now: www.nba.com/suns/brightside

Happy Holidays!