Forget the conference – highlight of the day was going to watch an NBA game. Long conference day made worthwhile by the end of day entertainment. Day started at 6:30am for me – that after getting to bed well after midnight last night. I don’t feel like I had enough sleep. I had to get up then because I had to read a document before my 7:15am telecon with the UK office. The conference started at 8am today as well so I hardly had time to get to breakfast before the first session. The first session was a CEO Q&A panel and was probably the best session so far of the conference. Some good items to think about and some thoughtful answers from the CEOs on the panel #quiteimpressed
The only other valuable session today was another plenary session on Uncertainty. Clever guy called Paul Embrechts – Maths professor at ETH Zurich. ETH is quite an impressive educational institution as it has produced 21 Nobel prize winners – the most famous being Albert Einstein who was both a student and a professor there. He demonstrated one very clever mathematical concept in about 5 minutes. I won’t bore you with the details but I will impress a certain Maths 1 student with it when I get back to CT.
But let’s be honest, the highlight of the day was the basketball game – Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics. I’ve never been to a basketball game before. It was thoroughly entertaining though. The game started at 7pm. 7 of us (6 from Gen Re and Michael) went together. We took the metro which has a stop right next to the Verizon Centre where the game was played. Very convenient and we will in our seats by 6:30pm after leaving the hotel at 6pm. The first challenge was getting some food. There was another whole language on the boards of the food places. It was in English but words in combination that I had no idea what we might end up with. We needed an American with us to translate.
They really do hype up the game, pump up the music before it gets underway. Noise, noise and more noise. Louder, louder, louder, make some noise comes blaring though the speakers. After the mandatory saluting of the military and singing of the national anthem the game got underway. We had great seats with a good view of the court. Fortunately Michael was with us because the rest of us didn’t know the rules and he at least could explain what was going on. I got a running commentary and all my questions answered. Who knows if what he told me was correct but it seemed to make sense.
The game is made up of 4 quarters of 12 minutes each. 48 minutes of game time. But it took 2 hours 10 minutes to complete the whole game. The rest of the time is consumed by time outs (called by either side), fouls and quarter breaks. No boredom though as in every break (whether it be a time out or between quarters) there is other entertainment laid on. Cheerleaders (almost as good as the Bulls Babes), fan participation, interviews and my personal favourite – the Dance Cam. Loud music played and people get up and dance and make a general fool of themselves until they settle on one bloke who is making the ultimate fool of himself and declare him to be the Dance Cam winner. Chick-fil-A (a fast food chain) also offered a free chicken sandwich to everyone in the Stadium if the opposing team missed two consecutive free throws during the game. That got the fans booing every free throw the opponents made but unfortunately for us they never missed two consecutively the whole night.
It is another whole sub-culture watching a game like this. I couldn’t possibly describe everything that goes on. If you’re in America and can get to a basketball game I would highly recommend you do. It was quite an entertaining evening. Oh … I forgot to mention the game itself. Washington Wizards dominated right from the start. Within 2 minutes they had a lead of about 9 points and they never surrender that for the rest of the game and in fact they stretched the lead considerably in the 3rd quarter to about 30 points. An easy win for Washington Wizards and with the win they qualify for the NBA play-offs for the first time in 7 years. So an important game for them.
We ended the day with another trip to Baskin Robbins for ice creams. Just a half-day of conference left … finally! What did Helen & Chloe do today – maybe some more shopping I would guess. They did drive back from Johnson City to Knoxville and Helen commented on how easy it was to drive in the US (wide roads) and how much she liked the rental car – Ford Focus (#noappreciationforcars). We should (transportation all going well) meet up again tomorrow.