Sporting events 

Sporting events 

So far I have attended an NBA (basketball) game involving the Atlanta Hawks, an NFL (football) pre season game involving the Atlanta Falcons, a MLB (baseball) game involving the Atlanta Braves and last night I went to my first college football game as Georgia Tech played Clemson in Atlanta. 

Each of these were different in their own way, the basketball was my first major sporting event to attend with Leanne here in the USA and I was still in awe of a lot of Atlanta and the Hawks managed to win and overall it was a great event. The Braves game was equally a good night, we had Robert with us and it was fun. The Braves PR team even made it better by giving us free hats and t-shirts as it was our very first baseball game to see. Kudos to them for that gesture. The NFL game was a pre season one for the Falcons so was quite a lack luster affair but again we had fun as myself and Robert went with our Irish neighbour. 

And so last night it was time to experience College football. The fact that the stadium probably holds about 80000 and was about 3/4 full on a Thursday night absolutely astounded me. With Leanne being a Michigan State fan, and me as well by default, I knew the stadiums were big but to actually walk into one was amazing. It is a full blown production, big band, cheer leaders, fireworks etc. Unfortunately Georgia Tech lost last night bringing an end to my unbeaten event attending, the Falcons, Hawks and Braves all won when I attended.

At the Georgia Tech game

Now compare these sporting events to back in Ireland. Probably nothing can compare to the production, pre game and during game entertainment to off the pitch. But on the pitch games at home are much more exciting, less stopping and starting, play is more involved. But is one better than the other, No, not at all. I do love all sports and I do miss attending St Patrick’s Athletic matches at home with our little crowd of 1000 but I have also enjoyed all the sporting events I have gone to so far in Atlanta. 

There are a few more on my list to attend, an ice hockey game in Detroit, a Michigan State football game, an Atlanta United soccer match when they are up and running and a USA international soccer match as well. Which one gets my vote as the most enjoyable so far? Well that’s a tough choice, the Braves looked after us and Robert was able to attend, the Hawks as it was my first game to go to with Leanne, Falcons as it was first NFL game or the College football? I will have to go with the college football and its more to do with the off the pitch stuff. The band played practically non stop for the full night, the student fans made lots of noise and they had a white out night, where everyone wore white, and it all added up to a great occasion. So Georgia Tech lost, but the night, the event, as a whole was superb. Oh and I have to mention traffic management, at home traffic basically comes to a standstill after events, here the traffic management is excellent and everyone gets away and home quickly and efficiently. 

So I look forward to lots more sporting events, enjoying this particular aspect of my new home, and maybe becoming emotionally attached to a club so I can cheer them on just like I did at home for St Patrick’s Athletic. 

Another step on the journey

Another step on the journey

The content of today’s post literally changed as I was about to start writing. As regular followers will know I am in the middle of the immigration process in the USA and this morning another step on that journey was completed. Authorisation to start working arrived and so after 5 months it’s time to apply for a job. With the work authorisation came a document allowing me to travel home to Ireland in case of any emergencies while my application for full permanent residencey is completed later this year.

This is a huge step and it comes nearly exactly 1 year after we first started the K1 visa process. The visa journey isn’t for those lacking patience and we have been extremely lucky as we both support each other through the various stages. 

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Card Approval

Anyway back to what today’s post was supposed to be about. Last night my wife had arranged a surprise night out for herself and me. I had no idea where we were off to as we set off at 6.30pn yesterday evening. Even as we got the train into Atlanta and got off at the Philips Arena station did I know what was happening. It was only as we walked into the Arena and Leanne produced two tickets see the Atlanta Hawks NBA did I realize we were going to a basketball match.

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At the Hawks game

I have only seen one basketball game in my life and that was in 2000 when I went to see the Boston Celtics while over on a trip for St. Patrick’s Day. I had totally forgotten about that game until I was reminded this morning. But last night was my first proper experience of a basketball game as we were seated about 6 rows from the court and we able to have a beer and food in our seats while enjoying the game.

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Scoreboard showing the Hawks down early in the game

Just a quick note on those beers and food, I am well used to being overcharged at events in Ireland, but I have to give the concession stands in the Philips Arena the gold medal for overcharging. $9 for a beer and $10 for a few chicken tenders is a bit steep to say the least. I would hate to see how much a t-shirt or a cap was. But it was a special night so we had a few beers and a bite to eat.

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2 beers cost $18

Onto the game itself, it was fun with the Hawks coming back from a 14 point deficit to win by 13 with a brilliant second half. I had to keep asking Leanne some rules as I know the basics but that’s about all. The while staging of the game is professional and good. With pregame entertainment involves cheerleaders and music and the music continues all the way through the game. We even had some soccer style chanting from a group of fans close to us. As the game wore on and the Hawks were staging their comeback the crowd really got behind them, the $9 beers starting to take effect I think.

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Atlanta Hawks score a free throw

As a surprise night out it was an excellent choice. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that last night was the first time since I arrived here last November that I have heard the US National anthem sung live. Like all national anthems it was great to see it respected and some day in my future it will be my anthem alongside my Irish one.

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Atlanta Hawks 103 Phoenix Suns 90 FT

So a lovely evening ended with the Hawks winning and a trip home via MARTA, the rail system for Metro Atlanta. I love MARTA, and it’s a lot like the DART back home but more efficient and covers a much larger area. The Philips Arena emptied and people were on trains in a few minutes. Looking forward to my next visit to a American sporting event, Baseball, NFL, College Football or soccer, I am sure it will be equally as good as last night.