Last night after my mate’s band had their gig cancelled I was left at a loose end with Plankton. Friday night is our night, it’s when we cut loose, pull a late one and go do something awesome. That’s right, me and my autistic 10 year old make for an unstoppable force on a Friday night and it’s my favourite night of the week.
So, when the guys at Northern Print Solutions stepped in with an offer of tickets to the Eagles first home game of the season as an alternative, we were there like a shot. First up, you guys know I’m a basketball WAG, Bo might have defected to the opposition but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying watching the most successful basketball term in Britain doing their thing on home turf. Yup, if you didn’t already know Voyeurs, the Newcastle Eagles basketball team are the single most successful and celebrated team in the UK, you just need to watch them in action to see why.
This, their first home game of the season was against Glasgow Rocks, a team coached by Bo’s former coach, Tony Garbelotto and one we were looking forward to. Plankton was psyched that we weren’t staying home on a Friday and not half as bothered as I expected at our trek around Newcastle to find a parking space meaning we missed most of the first quarter. Once we managed to get parked, we hotfooted it to Sport Central which is one of the Northumbria University campus buildings and the home of the Newcastle Eagles until their purpose built stadium is finished some time who knows when. We were led to our section by the stewards at Sport Central – word to any parents out there, the Eagles games are a super slick affair, from entrance to exit everything is managed like a well oiled machine, if you’re cautious about taking your kids to a home game then take it from me, the staff are aces and no matter where you’re seated you get a great view of the court.
We got off to a bit of a rocky start which was solely down to other members of the public, we arrived a little late and people refused to move to let us into our allocated seats and we were almost drawn into fighting over it, well, I was anyway. No biggie, we decided to abandon our efforts and stand up in the very back row in the balcony area instead which gave us a great wide angled view over the full court and wearing his ear defenders, Plankton didn’t hear any of the argument I had with the three seated adults refusing to stand to let us though. Sidebar, you guys know I’m hotheaded and often get “The Rage” (what can I say, it’s the boxer in me) so please be super proud of how cool, calm and collected I was at other adults and teenagers calling my autistic kid a retard and a spastic repeatedly when he got excited and cheered on our home team during the game. I held it together superbly whilst inside I was seething and just wanted to punch someone.
Back to the game, Plankton really enjoyed cheering on the team and asking lots of questions during the game. Obviously the Eagles were up on points during every quarter and he loved telling me the score from the board and how long was left on the shot clock. Standing up at the back was actually a really great idea as we only had two other really lovely people in our row who spoke to Plankton every time they got up for a break, asking him if he was enjoying it and sharing in his excitement, in fact, these guys really redeemed the whole ‘retard’ experience so if you’re reading this guys, whoever you are, you made a ten year old’s night!
For anyone looking to take their kids to an Eagles home game, there are (obviously) four main stands to watch from and three of those include courtside seats. Depending on how close you like to be to the action there are some great options there, all of them offering a great view. Personally, I’d opt for a side court seat rather than an end as these offer a better view of any potential dunk action from Jaysean Paige and trust me, you don’t want to miss that. There’s a half time show featuring cheerleaders (The Eaglettes) and games for kids to get involved with so it’s actually a really nice family night out. One thing to bear in mind if you’re out with little ones is that theres no running clock in basketball so despite the game consisting of four ten minute quarters, you can be there for a couple of hours.
At the end of the game, the Eagles were victorious (like you needed to even ask) with a score of 119 to 104 and after being recognised, we were invited on to the court for a picture with the players. It’s been a while since Bo defected so the only player we know personally now since Charles Smith retired last year is Fab Flournoy and everyone else was a new face to us. Still, that didn’t stop Plankton hanging out with what he called ‘his bros’ for the ultimate #SquadGoals shot for his Instagram.
Fancy checking out an Eagles game for yourself? The full fixture list is available to view and book online now.