I officially have to write a disclaimer and let me tell you, I couldn’t be happier about it. Because I am now a volunteer with the Wollongong Hawks. YAY. I have been waiting for over a year to start volunteering with a pro team (don’t get me started on the dozens of unreturned emails and even more badly timed opportunities) and it’s finally here! So for the record, while I do have a bit of involvement with the Hawks, it by no means makes me biased, as you’ll soon see.
So last Friday, I told you why you should go to a Hawks game (I stand by all those reasons, by the way) and now I want to tell you how it went. It just seems fair. This was my first NBL game, ever, and I’ve got a lot to say. You should know that I don’t compare to the NBA. Okay, maybe that’s a lie – I compare a little. But I don’t expect the same things from the NBL as I do from the NBA. Seriously – the NBA is ridiculous and completely over-the-top and wonderful, but has about 100xs the amount of money that the NBL has so I know it won’t be the same experience. Here are some things I loved and some things I didn’t love as much.
What I Loved
Membership Sales. This is where I was most of the time. While people were waiting in a long line outside, we walked up an down that line and offered memberships. It’s funny – there were a few of us and each of us did well with a certain type of person (I did best with younger guys and couples). The membership is cheaper than the individual tickets, as long as you’re not getting floor seats or anything, and those who bought got to skip the (ridiculously long) line. Genius. Over 50 were sold – that’s pretty awesome.
Easy Navigation. Everything was so easy to find. The signs were clear and they were everywhere. I was never confused and neither was anyone else – at least, no one looked lost.
Cheerleaders. The half time cheerleaders were really good! They’re technically a dance squad from somewhere in Wollongong, not associated with the Hawks, and they tore it up. They were younger – none of them could be high school graduates yet – but they did a great job. It was good half time entertainment before running to the hot food stand and snacking.
The Win. Well… duh. I volunteer with the Hawks now. Even though they played the Sydney Kings, I was rooting for them. And they won! Close game, good win.
And now, for what you really wanted to read about…
What I Didn’t Love
Ticketing. The Ticketek line was OUTRAGEOUS. At one point, there had to have been 100 people in it – no joke. That’s a ridiculous amount of time to make someone wait to buy/pick up a ticket. I’ve heard it’s never been that long before, but still, there’s gotta be a better way. It also doesn’t really make much sense for Ticketek to have people buying and people picking up in the same line – people who had already paid were FUMING that they had to wait. It was also a bit confusing. There were three places tickets could be picked up: the Ticketek line, the Hawks ticket pick up, and the Hawks membership tent. And it wasn’t always clear which one you were supposed to go to. There also wasn’t a sign for the membership tent (don’t worry, I’m pretty sure they’re working on that). Buy your tickets from the Hawks – it’ll make your life easier.
Music. Maybe Australia just does things differently… but I’m confused about the music. For some reason, the music was being played DURING game time. In the NBA (sorry for the comparison) music plays during timeouts or breaks so people can sing along and stay pumped up. During regulation time, don’t people want to see the game without distractions? Just me? Oh. Okay then…
Cheerleaders. I loved the halftime cheerleaders. The Hawks cheerleaders? Not so much. For starters, there were only 6 of them – that doesn’t make a good show (trust me, I used to be on a squad with 6 of us). They also couldn’t dance very well. Maybe half of them could, but the others… it was almost embarrassing. During one performance, one of them fell. During another, I saw a lady in the stands laughing so hard at them that she was crying. I realize that in part, they’re chosen because they can talk to media but they couldn’t even talk to game attendees. When they were out in front of the stadium before the game, they were just talking to friends and each other. C’mon guys. Sort it out.
Since this was the first game, I know for a fact that the Hawks will be ironing out some of the kinks (for example, the merchandise will be there at the next home game). Not everything can run perfect from the get-go! I’m seriously looking forward to the strides they’ll make this season. They employees are so incredibly dedicated to bringing a good game day experience to the fans that I’m sure it will happen, and be amazing. Maybe I’ll tweet this article at them (and then hide my face so they don’t think I’m rude)?
The next game is Sunday, 21st October at 4:00 pm vs Townsville Crocodiles. I’ll be selling memberships again – let me know if you’ll be there! And that’s Pink Night in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation! Another great reason to attend!