Season Ticket Review – Old friends, new enemies

Well, well. What a nice group of friends we had returning to Sioux Falls tonight.


Game 2: November 30th, 2006

Idaho Stampede (0-3) at Sioux Falls Skyforce (0-2)

First off, we have the awkward gait of Ricky Sanchez and the tied-back dreads of Jermaine Blackburn. Neither of these two players is really of any note. I just remember them from last year’s Idaho team, and they’re both kind of funny looking.

Next, we have two 2005 Skyforce Championship season splitters – guard Randy Livingston and forward David Jackson. Jackson, as you’ll find out sooner or later, was our season-ticket mate Amy’s favorite Skyforce player because, well, he’s totally cute. And Randy? He was the heart and soul of the 2004-2005 Skyforce team until he was called up to help the Jazz out. He’s as close to a legend as we get. The list is short: Troy Hudson, Derrick Martin, Randy Livingston.

Finally, we have big, huge Peter John Ramos, who played for Puerto Rico in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and in two games against the United States finished with a total of 57 points and 20 rebounds. Once thought to be a lottery pick, Ramos ended up going to Washington with the 32nd pick in 2004. He’s never lived up to his potential. But tonight, he helped the Skyforce win.

Wait. What? Ramos helped the SKYFORCE win?

Yeah. Kind of. You see, our faithful NBA D-League team played lackluster, slow basketball for the first three quarters. Sure, Randy Livingston has lost a step since he was a Skyforce player, but it seemed as if we were slowing down in order to make our former star look better. It was tedious, Van Gundy style basketball – with faux defense that eventually just gave way to horrible shooting.

Really, we couldn’t drive to the hoop. We were getting multiple shots, but that’s all they were – jump shots. The Skyforce, at times, seems to live and die by the jumper. And when those shots aren’t going in, we’re easy to beat.

Luckily, the open drives we were allowing Idaho to get away with – a continuation of last Friday’s revolving door defense – weren’t dropping either. Eventually, Idaho discovered that their best offense was to let former Chicago Bull Eddie Robinson get open and hit his own jumper. We couldn’t stop the guy. He was 9-16 with 23 points. We looked sunk.

Then, after a hard foul, Peter John Ramos looked Suddenly Electric Joe Dabbert (who was playing his brains out, or at least, as much as Dabbert can – maybe he read my scathing review last week?) straight in the eyes and flexed his muscle. A chorus of boos rained down. The crowd picked up. We had someone to hate now – this once-promising young star that still seemed to hold a chip on his shoulder. And when we lit up, the team did as well.

From five points down, the Skyforce played like they actually wanted to win. They sped things up, hustled down the court, and played like a team. Andre Brown – who plays fundamental basketball, with eyes always on his defenders midsection and feet, smooth footwork in the post, and a nice lay-up touch – pulled the Skyforce back in the game (and had a nice 20 point, 8 board game to boot.)

For a second my attention was drawn away from the Famous Dave’s pig mascot, which by the way has one of the filthiest costumes known to man. Not as in morally wrong, but as in actually dirty, as if it had never been washed. The feet are dingy, the tail is ragged, and there are small holes in the backside. It’s enough to turn me away from Famous Dave’s all together – yuck.

Regardless, we ended up pulling off the win – our first of the season – after a missed P. J. Ramos free throw. We loved it. There’s nothing better than watching your enemies fall. And we’ll see them all again tomorrow, like a group of old friends. Jackson and Livingston will be welcomed. After all, they are near legends in Skyforce lore, and they’ve lost enough of their quickness to seem non-threatening. I almost feel bad for Randy.

I don’t feel bad for Ramos, however. And I’m excited to sneak down closer in order to get some good shots in. Because sometimes the best way to spur your team is by finding someone to hate on the enemy side.

Skyforce 98, Idaho 97.

P.S. – I suspected something weird was going on when I saw Ramos with six fouls on the board, yet still in the game. Then, when looking at the box score, I noticed that Ramos indeed was marked for six fouls. Yet, he kept on playing. This is why these refs aren’t in the NBA yet. Lame.

This was lovingly handwritten on December 1st, 2006