My BlackBerry says 7:20 pm. I don't wear a watch, so I rely heavily on my BlackBerry to notify me of important times during the day. Ten minutes to spare, I thought as I exited the C train on 34th Street. I was headed over to Madison Square Garden to meet Dana.
For purposes of this article, Dana was my blind date. Not technically blind, but the woman my buddy suggested was exceptionally cool, pretty, fun, smart, fit, stylish -- and surprisingly single. Given the number of adjectives he used to describe her, you would have thought I was meeting Princess Diana.
The Knicks game was scheduled to start at 7:30 pm. I was making good time. I invited Dana to be my guest to the game. One of my players had left me two tickets. I figured I could kill three birds with one stone at the game: meet Dana, watch him play, and then catch up with him after. I texted Dana a few times. I never asked her what she looked like. Those questions never made much sense to me. After all, who is really going to describe themselves as accurately as we would like? I would simply be surprised when I met her and would not have any expectations -- well, other than the fact that I would be meeting Princess Diana at Will Call at 7:30 pm.
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I stood on the west wing of Will Call so I could keep an eye out for Dana. As usual, Will Call was packed with Knicks fans, tourists, groupies, and players' friends and families all picking up their tickets. I noticed a woman checking her makeup and hair in the reflection of her cell phone. I quickly concluded I had identified Dana.
To confirm, I texted her one more time. I saw her reach for her phone. It was Dana. I began walking toward her. "Hi Dana," I said. She looked at me and smiled, "Hi Idan." She gave me a hug and we exchanged the usual blind date pleasantries.
Almost immediately she asked, "Where are we sitting? The last time I went with a guy to a game, it was a Giants game. He had us sitting in the nosebleed seats."
I thought it was an awkward question. I like thoughtful, considerate, and appreciative questions, but hers didn't fall into one of those three categories. I had great tickets for the game, but I wasn't going to let her know just yet.
So I responded, "I'm not sure where we are sitting."
"Well, I hope these are good seats. I really do," she said.
"I don't know."
The ushers scanned our tickets at the gate. We took the escalator up to Section 60. Once we arrived on our floor, Dana looked around at the sold out arena.
"Are we on this level? "she asked.
"I really don't know. I imagine the ushers will be able to tell us."
She didn't say much -- and she wasn't smiling.
I showed my tickets to the usher and he directed us to another section. I knew where we were seated but said nothing so I could see her reaction.
After descending many flights of stairs, we finally arrived at our seats; we were seated behind Spike Lee on the floor.
Dana's body language and energy shifted immediately once she took her seat. She became ecstatic, started smiling, and was enthusiastically texting and snapping photos on her cell phone.
"This is amazing. You are amazing! These tickets are great! This is going to be so much fun!" she said.
I smiled. To me, it didn't really matter where we were sitting, as long as I enjoyed the company. At the end of the game, she told me she had a wonderful time and wanted to hang out again. I smiled and politely excused myself.
"It was good meeting you. I have to run to catch up with my client," I said.
"I really hope I can see you again, " she replied.
I smiled again.
As I walked away I wondered, "Was it me or my tickets?"
In recent articles, The Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated referred to Idan Ravin as the "Hoops Whisperer" because of his unique ability to engage, inspire, and challenge the many NBA players he trains. Idan has worked with many of the NBA's elite, including Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets), Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets), Gilbert Arenas (Washington Wizards), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Elton Brand (Philadelphia 76ers) Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns), and Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies).
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