Brighton Bears v Guildford Heat - 28/01/06
Report by Dan Collin
On a bitterly cold evening in Burgess Hill, myself and Peter Chapman ventured to the Triangle (Note to BBC: This is situated in Burgess Hill NOT Brighton) to witness what can only be described as a landmark moment in the town's history. Once superstar basketballer and Celebrity Big Brother evictee, Dennis Rodman made his return to the sport and, for none other than the Brighton Bears.
Of course, The Rod was not the only celebrity in attendance. Realising the publicity following such an event would be huge, Burgess Hill's own minor celebrity Peter Chapman invited myself, an avid basketball fan and former player (I have even won trophies!), along for the evening with the intention of seeing a spectacle and to report back with a more personal report for local citizens.
Indeed, the Triangle and the Brighton Bears staff, both those who are employed permanently and those hired for the evening, rose to the occasion and made a complete mockery of what is essentially a very basic task. On arrival, me and Peter were ushered to one side of the entrance with but a few other people. As time passed we were joined by dozens more before the doormen decided to stop cramming everybody in. A good hour was spent there getting colder and colder and with tempers flaring (some old women telling the doorman to 'be quiet!') it was a mighty relief to finally progress into the A-E queue. Fortunately, me and Peter did not make a rudimentary error as it was fully explained to us by the doorman that we had to get in the queue with the letter corresponding to our surnames(!)
However, while in the queue, it was obvious that with all the local media snooping around that it wouldn't be long before someone picked out minor celebrity Peter Chapman to talk to. Inevitably, Peter was selected as 'promising' and was routinely interviewed by the reporter. Being the devious character that he is, Peter went against the grain of everyone else and answered the questions posed to him as the reporter, no doubt, would not have wanted. Additionally, the Meridian sports reporter Paul Belverstone and his one man crew hovered near us, enjoying a refreshing beverage no less. It was no surprise that he ignored us as Peter informed me that 'he looks much older on TV' and was clearly intimidated by our youthful appearance. Perhaps most crucially however, was when Peter was called into emergency action drawing upon his Media Studies experience in helping a rogue cameraman to 'white balance'. I have absolutely no idea what this means but clearly Peter and said cameraman were on the same wavelength. Then with the excitement beginning to fade - The Rod arrived! He crept in through the backdoor, though it's very hard to be subtle when you're a 6 foot 8 black man!
The saga continued, as we had to wait near enough another hour before finally receiving our tickets. Then, finally arriving at the collection table, disaster came close to striking. Informing the ticket lady of our name she realised that mere moments before she had handed them to another man. As luck would have it, the man noticed the mistake and handed them back allowing myself and Peter to swiftly join the queue to enter the stadia. This was not without queuing further of course!
Finally, we found ourselves inside and proceeded towards our seats. In true fashion of the evening so far, this did not go smoothly. Finding our particular section we issued our tickets to the stewardess who informed us she 'wasn't sure' where we were supposed to be sitting. This puzzled me and Peter as well as many other spectators who had been equally informed of the current situation. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that our seats did not actually exist! However, when a portion of the waiting fans were allowed through we were not hesitant in following suit. Now with a male steward, we were told 'we don't know where you're supposed to be, so just sit anywhere in Row F'. We duly obliged and had no further trouble regarding our seats for the remainder of the evening.
The match itself was a tense and torrid affair (similar to that which Dennis' housemate Faria Alam shared with Sven-Goran Eriksson). The Rod played a fair portion of the match and I thought, bearing in mind the circumstances, he did rather well. Firstly, he is at least 10 years older than most, if not all, of the players that he played with and against. Yet he held his own and showed signs that he still has the athleticism and ability of his glory days in the NBA. Of course, to the Rodmaniacs (I made that up) out there it could be seen, in a biased way, that Rodman made all the difference. He scored 4 points, the Bears won by 3, the difference between a win and a loss. But to the neutrals it was quite obvious that players like Terrance McGee and Jerry Williams were the most influential on a night where Brighton were under the cosh.
Following the action, Peter and myself decided that, unlike the majority of the crowd who were requesting autographs, we would take a number of 'candid' pictures with unsuspecting players. Having completed this task we made our way out of the arena and into the car park where we located Peter's car. On a pleasant journey home, we discussed the antics of an amusing evening before finally arriving at my residence.
And that's about it!
You've read the report, now it's time to view the 65 photos from the event.
Dennis Rodman and the Brighton Bears photos