If it wasn’t time for true winter sports a week or two ago, it is now. The GOAT has added another ring to his collection, and football is over. The kids in Portland are suiting up and smacking slapshots down at the pond at Deering Oaks. Until Tuesday’s snowstorm, some of them were shooting hoops on the outdoor courts around town, too. It’s in our blood; we have to be active and compete, or, at the very least, look on as others do. In February in Maine, as we have mentioned in these pages, that means hockey and basketball. So do what you do to get your heart rate elevated a few times a week, and in the meantime, watch the seasoned athletes go at it, at these three local games coming up:
On Thursday the 9th, the Maine Red Claws, the NBA Development League Celtics team, are up against the Northern Arizona Suns. (Guess whose farm team they are.) The game is at 7:00 p.m. at the Portland Expo (239 Park Ave). Tickets range in price from $7.00 to $32.00 at http://maine.dleague.nba.com/news/individual-tickets/ with four additional price tiers above that, available upon inquiry at (207) 210-6655. The Suns’ center, Gracin Bakumanya, a native of Democratic Republic of the Congo, is 6’11” and just as fast as he is gawky, at 220 pounds. Go find out what Red Claws coach Scott Morrison’s strategy is for getting around that reach.
On Friday the 10th at 7:00 p.m., The UMaine Black Bears men’s hockey team squares off against Notre Dame, at the Cross Insurance Arena (1 Civic Center Sq). Tickets are $18.00 at http://www.ticketmaster.com/ (click on Sports, then Hockey). The Black Bears are skidding through a 2-game losing streak. Their last victory was against UMass in Orono on January 28th. Let’s see if captains Blaine Byron, Cam Brown, and Eric Schurhamer and the boys can beat up the Fighting Irish.
If that’s not enough to whet your appetite for winter sports, no problem. Take a break, take your honey out on Saturday night, and then sneak off on Sunday to catch a second Red Claws game, against Grand Rapids at the Expo at 1:00 p.m. Those guys are hoping to get called up to the Pistons; we’re hoping our Claws help them blow a tie rod. You’ll get home ready to face another week of work, knowing you’ve rooted your heart out for the home team. (You’re not from Detroit, are you?)