Bradley Center Forever Cemetery Sings for Epke Udoh.
Or something like that. Father John Misty has probably strolled about Milwaukee before, looking for New Glarus and stocking caps and herringbone blazers. Whatever. I wear NorthFace half zip pullovers and know all the words to American Baby. I’m white as a redhead’s stomach in January.
Despite the poor attendance, those here are doing what they can to have a good time. They’ve got Park High School’s cheer squad doing dance routines before the game, inciting cheers from the clump of photo snapping family and friends that got to sit at mid court. There’s a Boys and Girls Club basketball game that happens after that. This ‘Let’s put 10 minutes on the clock and run it down while we watch eight-year-old girls make their parents proud’ type of thing. They do a good job of trying to get the community involved. That’s never a bad thing. They also do an incredible job of playing more Gangnam Style than I ever thought possible. Psy reigns supreme.
There’s a surprisingly decent selection of food at this place. They skimp on their chicken finger basket (Only 3 strips), but they offer all the traditional arena delicacies: burgers and hot dogs and grilled chicken sandwiches and fries and nachos and pretzels and slow workers who forget what you order initially and bring the wrong thing. There’s a Qdoba cart and some fancy looking place called The Carvery where all the workers wear proper chef hats and everything looks like its been instagrammed in a Kelvin filter. The bathrooms are right outside our section and I’m almost on the aisle so I don’t have to be a jerk and make half the row get up when I need to go get a chicken burrito. There’s a chair to my right I can stick mine and B’s jackets in so we don’t have to stuff them behind us in our seats or in the floor. It’s a good situation I’m in.
There’s two other entertaining people in the row behind me. They’re sitting to the left of the pleated jean wearing Wave fans I spoke of yesterday. They are friends. A couple guys who look like they came to the arena straight from work at Dillard’s and talk like they come here often. They’re both wearing cuffed, khaki slacks. One’s in a red sweater. The other’s in a black sweater. People in Milwaukee are all about sweaters. The both of them, just like Mr. Pleated Jeans, have a beer in their hands at all times.
They HATE Doron Lamb. Like, a lot. Too much, probably. Every time he touches the ball, one of the two of them says, “He ain’t ready” or, “He scared.” I haven’t spent a lot of time watching the Bucks’ second unit this year, mainly because I don’t enjoy falling asleep that much, but they’re kind of right about Lamb tonight. No matter who’s on him, just looks tentative. Shaky with the ball. Can’t hit anything. Generally has that look you see in a lot of rookies where they appear to be doing more thinking than moving. He’s acting like he’s forgotten that he has instincts. Paul, Bledsoe, Butler, Green, all of them are giving him fits. Calipari shakes his head somewhere. Hair gel and dollar bills go everywhere.
They want him out of there, these dudes do. Lamb’s pressured by Bledsoe on one play in particular and picks up his dribble a good 40 feet from the goal. Both of them smack their lips simultaneously. One says, “Man, get that boy on the bench, Skiles.”
At a certain point they leave, making Mr. and Mrs. Pleated Jeans all the more dramatic at the prospect of having to move again. They’re gone for the better part of the fourth quarter. Against all odds, I forget they exist, right up until they show up again, much to the jubilee of the Jeans. They’d just gone to get a few more beers.
“Still got a lid on the rim?” asks one of them.
“Lookin like they went out all night last night,” says the other.
They boo Lamb some.
Again, say what you want about grown men booing (It’s stupid), but they’re not wrong in their assessment of his play tonight. Really, it’s more than just this game, though. He’s not exactly having a stellar start to his first year in the league. His per 36 minute numbers don’t inspire a lot of confidence. Averages of 34% from the field, 21% from three, and 46% from the line are sandpaper rough, even for a rookie. He’s 21, though. Maybe Skiles will have patience. And maybe all the grass everywhere will turn orange and Kramer was right and Pig Men were real and Gerard Butler will win an Oscar for Best Actor for Playing For Keeps.
After the game the two guys bolt. On their way to a bar named something I can’t remember. It was some one word title like Envy or Desire or Clay or Dove. They’ll have a good time, though, that’s clear. Seems like everyone in Milwaukee does.
Part 3 comes tomorrow.