“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” From A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
If community activists and local residents had their way, just like the doomed West Stadium project, the Barclays Center would never have been built. After numerous court battles and various rulings by the New York State Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals and Brooklyn Supreme Court, which allowed eminent domain for the project, construction started in March 2010.
The Barclays Center is right across from the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. It's really easy to get to by train. Take the LIRR (whether from Penn Station or if you on Long Island) to Jamaica. Then take the train to Atlantic Terminal. Go outside and walk directly to Barclays Center. There is also the Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center subway station which is accessible by the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q and R subway trains. You can't ask for a more conveniently accessible arena.
Finally, the Barclays Center is making a name for itself in college basketball. Looking to get certified as a NCAA regional location, it already it is hosting the Atlantic 10 Tournament in March 2013 and already has been the home to several college basketball events, including a doubleheader last weekend with St John's and Michigan. Then yesterday, it hosted The Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational tripleheader - Tulane vs. Hofstra, South Carolina vs. Manhattan and Seton Hall vs. LIU Brooklyn.
But figuring what the heck, I called him on his cell. He answered and said he was on the train to Atlantic Terminal. I asked, was a guy in a "Britain" jacket following you. He said "Yes". I told him to come back because he had walked right by me. Sure enough, I see Tieff on his phone heading towards me. Small world.
As we headed outside and crossed the street, I was struck by the entrance to Barclays Center. It includes an Oculus, an opening to the building roof structure. If that didn't strike you, once you entered the arena, the giant scoreboard will strike you.
Still there were more people there for the first game then Tieff and I had thought. Hofstra was wearing the home whites and Tulane wore the road green, as a team nicknamed the Green Wave should do. It turns out, as my friend Mike Brodsky, who was there for the game to root on South Carolina and meet up with a lot of our fellow northeast based CAA friends, noted that Tulane has a large alumni base in the New York region. That was affirmed when a chant of "GREEN...WAVE" occurred in the second half.
And in the first half, my alma mater gave me hope that they might break the losing streak. Unlike their previous game against Wright State, Hofstra started out strong. The Pride's leading scorer on the season, sophomore guard Taran Buie scored eight of Hofstra's first twelve points giving the Pride a 12-8 lead over the Green Wave.
During the game, it was a local CAAHoops/NYC metro hoops gathering in Section 26. You had Mike Brodsky, a Northeastern alum known as NUHF, you had Jaden Daly, from Daly Dose of Hoops, Alex Faust, play by play voice of the Staten Island Yankees and Merrimack College Athletics as well as a Northeastern grad and hockey expert, Victoria Rossi, a Hofstra grad/WRHU member and Northeastern graduate alum, who does web production work, Chris Heimall, another Hofstra grad who does play by play for Manhattan College now, the legendary Defiantly Dutch, Jerry Beach, Ray Curren, who might break the Mid Majority record for games covered in a season, Tieff and myself. It made the two basketball games we watched even more fun. And yes, Mike, we have it better.
Unfortunately for the Pride fans in attendance, the Tulane lead actually expanded to thirty points, 67-37. No one who had seen the first half would have thought that Hofstra would have been outscored 37-7 in the span of basically eight minutes. Tarrant would score twenty one of his game high twenty eight points in the second half.
Due to having only eight scholarship players, Hofstra has had two walkons, Matt Grogan and Adam Savion play significant minutes. The bright side was they combined to shoot five of seven from the field. Also, 6-10 forward Daquan Brown played his first game for the Pride after sitting out due to NCAA eligibility rules. In just seven minutes of play, he had three blocks.
Adding insult to injury for Hofstra fans was the news that South Dakota State, behind Nate Wolters' twenty eight points, upset previously undefeated #16 New Mexico 70-65. This was the same Jackrabbbits' team the Pride beat at home 66-63 when they had their full team.
After the game, Tieff and I need a break before the second game and some consolation. It came in the form of custard ice cream at the Junior's Cheesecake concession stand right outside of our section. The custard was very good.
I still had one more game to watch, but it only took two hours for the Barclays Center to impress me. The sight lines for basketball were good, the arena is beautiful and the trip to get there was easy. You can't ask anything more for an arena. It's the biggest thing in Brooklyn sports since the Dodgers left.
And just think, this might not have all happened had a few "community" activists had their way. Glad common sense won out...this time.