Pat Riley Came to Sioux Falls and I Missed Out!
Saturday night I sat two chairs from ‘THE’ Pat Riley for over two hours. And didn’t get his autograph. Heck, I didn’t even say hi. And did I take a text beating from my son Logan later that night.
The evening started pretty regular. I do the PA announcing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. This year has been pretty interesting as they are an affiliate of the NBA ‘Champion’ Miami Heat. Yep, That’s a pretty big deal.
All year long we’ve been watching the team locally. Yes, their playing well. Yes they play great defense. We’ve had a couple of NBA call ups with Justin Hamilton and DeAndre Liggins. Quite a few of the games we’ve had Andy Elisburg in the house watching the team. When you sit at the scorers table like I do and your team is tied to the Miami Heat, you get some pretty big names in pretty close range.
But Pat Riley. Come on. Growing up in rural South Dakota we didn’t have cable or satellite TV til I was out of high school. If I wanted to see the Lakers play the Celtics during a regular season game, I had to go to town and hope I could find a friend with cable.
I can still remember my wife and I buying our first set of ‘just got married furniture’ in Mitchell. My wife was inside picking it out and I was out in the car listening to the Lakers/ Celtics NBA Finals on the car radio. I hated the Celtics, I still do. They beat ‘my Lakers’ that year and I was bummed. It was the first Bird Vs Magic standoff. Yes, I was a Lakers fan growing up.
Fast forward 30 years. Riley’s moved on to Miami, I’m still in South Dakota doing what I love and the guy who coached the team I loved while growing up is 2 chairs away. Hey, I’m busy, pregame announcements, lineups and of course the game. Halftime rolls around, I think it’s my chance. Crap, he’s gone. Probably out to grab a beverage and shake hands with some of Sioux Falls royalty.
The second half rolls along. The Skyforce are playing awesome. I’m putting my strategy together. Right at the end I’ll get my chance. Gone. While I’m telling people to drive home safe and see you at the next game, he’s being whisked away like the Pope or something. And my chance is gone.
The texts from my son Logan who is in Aberdeen are classic.
Me: Pat Riley is at the game tonight
Logan: Get his autograph!
Me: I will Try
Logan: So did you get the autograph?
Me: Nope. I am a failure. Sat 2 guys away from him all night. Force won though. Good game.
Logan: WHY NOT?
Me: Believe it or not, I was kind of busy
Logan: Yea I know dad but it’s Pat F*&^ing Riley! He coached Magic and Kareem and all those guys you loved in the 80’s
Me: That might be the best text you have ever sent me. You’re right, I should have tried harder.
Logan: I’m not trying to be a dick about it but you always said that you have to make an effort for things you want!
Me: You are right!
Logan: I guess we will have to wait till next time.
Then, I finally got it. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Logan is probably as big of a fan of Pat Riley as I am.
If Pat Riley ever comes back to Sioux Falls for a Skyforce game, I’m gonna get his autograph. Even if I have to put the game on hold for just a few seconds.