Greetings from Beijing!
Well tonight I went to my first professional basketball game in China. Its called the Chinese Basketball Association or the CBA for short. Indeed it was quite interesting even though the talent was far from being NBA caliber. I mean real far from the NBA. First, my Chinese friends and I scalped our tickets for 16 kuai apiece, which is the equivalent of $2, and sat up in the cheap seats. I thought it was a mistake because we couldve bought courtside seats for 20 kuai ($2.50) When we got inside, the arena was much smaller than American arenas, seating about 1,500 to 2,000. The seats were quite comfortable, however, all with backs on them, and it was impeccably clean Absolutely no trash was thrown on the floor, which is unusual for the Chinese. Needless to say there was no spitting too. The arena reminded me of a small mid-major or lower Division I school arena.
In the Communist way, we were quickly ushered to our seats by surly-looking ushers in full military regalia. In fact, walking around the arena was quite restrictive as these ushers were quick to escort you back to your seat otherwise I felt they would David Carradine me. What I thought was really surprising was that there was no refreshment stands or souvenir stands in the building. There were no programs being sold, no vendors, no soda or even lo mien ..it was just the game. I really wanted to buy some CBA souvenirs but there were none to be had We asked and the common answer was mei you, we dont have Also of note: I stood for the national anthem the Chinese national anthem.
There were very cute cheerleaders, with pompoms and short skirts, who performed after every timeout and as well during the half-time. That was certainly one of the highlights. As for the game, I saw Qian Wei Ao Shen, which is one Beijings two home teams, --I was told their nickname Ao Shen means Olympic spirit (They really want the Olympics in 2008) against Zhe Jiang Wan Ma, the team from Hangzhou (their nickname was 10,000 horses). Both teams had some lao wai (foreigners) and I think all were Americans. The basketball was very mediocre, and I think my after-work basketball team couldve hung with these guys I saw a lot of blown lay-ups I mean I can do better than that!! But it was certainly fun. In the end, Ao Shen (Beijing) crushed Wan Ma (Hangzhou) 126-97. Gooooo home team!!
Zaijian, Scott December 13, 2000
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