Thursday, February 10, 2011

Inside game day: Minnesota Timberwolves

By Santiago J. Escobar
Cardinal Staff

Most people would see a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves as just a professional basketball team — a team that happens to be significantly below .500, and seems to be constantly rebuilding. The truth is that there is much more than just an owner, a coach, and players; a lot occurs at the Target Center before the doors open to the public. Much goes into the planning of an event that seems simple in the eyes of the fans in attendance or watching at home, but there are plenty of behind-the-scenes activities.

Starting around noon, there are youth basketball games going on until around 4:30 p.m. This is part of the team’s community relations, allowing children to play in the same court they see their favorite players. Soon after, players start coming into the court to do quick drills and warm-ups. During this time, special acts as well as the cheer team practice routines for the game. While this is happening in the court, special guests start arriving around 5 p.m. These guests are usually officials from other teams and season ticket holders for both the Timberwolves, and the visiting team. They have the chance to walk around the arena at this time and also get a tour of the entire facility during halftime. The tour for special guests includes the team offices, the media room, the Timberwolves locker room, the medical room, and the press room. Some guests also enjoy entrance to “The Cave,” which is a bar. All these amenities and special treatments make any fan feel welcomed and wanted.

By 5:58 p.m., there is an announcement for everyone to take their places as the doors are about to open to the public. At 6 o’clock sharp the arena’s doors open for the fans, and an hour later the environment was completely changed from the sound of a few people talking and basketball sneakers on the floor to music, sound effects, and a roaring loyal fan base which all leads into an exciting game and great experience — no matter the final score. Even if a team has a losing record, the atmosphere created by the efforts of those behind the scenes working in media, services and management can make the event something memorable, and give fans the feeling that they are appreciated and that without them the team could not go on.

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