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My Night with The JUMBOTRON

Most people have simple dreams and aspirations. Taking a carriage ride through Central Park. Catching a fly ball. Running a marathon. Climbing Mt. Everest. Attending HBS. Many of us strive our entire lives to fulfill such dreams and aspirations. On October 24th, as part of a rowdy Business of Sports outing to the Boston Celtics preseason opener vs. the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, one of my dreams became a reality. This past week, I finally appeared on the JUMBOTRON. Some dreams, however minor, are no less important.

For the Internationals and non-sports fans among us, the JUMBOTRON is a slice of Americana: a large video screen suspended from the ceiling in the middle of a sports arena. Generally used for highlights of game footage, there are a select few fans that are “randomly” chosen to represent the “average” sports fans at games. Despite attending over 50 games in various exotic locales like Madison Square Garden in New York City, the United Center in Chicago and the FleetCenter in Boston, I had never been able to get the attention of the cameraman for the JUMBOTRON. I try to live the impossible dream.

For 26 years, I have found amusement watching children and fat men dance away on the JUMBOTRON. They became part of my experience. I laughed as I watched the “mature” men in suits flex like bodybuilders for the camera. I watched. And I anticipated knowing that one day my time would come.

I did due diligence. I took notes on hot dog holders and nacho containers to understand the dynamics of the JUMBOTRONITE (the name given to those fortunate souls who appear on the screen). Through this research, I determined there were 2 reactions for the would be JUMBOTRONITE; (a) Dance like mad and do one?s worst interpretation of Michael Jackson thereby receive a well-deserved round of applause or (b) Wave, grab all your friends and point at the screen. Anyone who attends athletic events with a JUMBOTRON knows that if you pick option b, the cameraman quickly loses interest. Option ?a? is the only way to get serious JUMBOTRON screen time. Often resulting in multiple appearances on the JUMBOTRON at one game. A girl can dream.
For many years, I practiced pretending to be on the JUMBOTRON. I watched games on TV and practiced. I visualized what I would be wearing and where I would be sitting when I was JUMBTRONED. I sacrificed so much.

On Wednesday night, with 6 minutes gone by in the 3rd quarter, surrounded by the zaniness of our HBS Business of Sports contingency, I saw myself on the JUMBOTRON. Perhaps it was all the preparation. Maybe I should have done a different kind of visualization. Ultimately, I am not sure if I ever believed my dream of the JUMBOTRON would become a reality. With 6 minutes gone by in the 3rd quarter, I noticed my companions and myself on the screen. Overcome with excitement, I did the unthinkable. I waved.

Well, there?s always next game.
About the author: Jessica is tri-president of the Business of Sports club and proud member of Section OK. She plans on making many more trips to the FleetCenter this year to redeem herself. Any extra tickets to sporting events should be directed her way.

November 5, 2001
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