November 2016, around the time the Cronulla Sharks became NRL Premiers, Almandin won the Melbourne Cup and our Test Match cricketers were getting thumped by the South Africans. But none of that was on the front pages, because in November 2016 the United States elected Donald J Trump to the highest office in the land. Well, how has that turned out?
I was fortunate enough to be invited to a wedding in North Carolina in November 2016, so like every other man and his mates would do, we enjoyed all the joy and festivities of the wedding, celebrated that for many nights and then packed the suitcases and flew from Charlotte to New York to visit The Big Apple for 5 days.
I had booked a little later than my group of mates and consequently, found myself landing at a different airport in New York. LaGuardia is where I found myself, the wheels hit the tarmac, the seatbelt sign turned off and I peered out the window, previously obscured, and who’s plane should be there, it was Trump’s. My mate DJT. The stairs were out, but I didn’t get a chance to see his orange face, this must have been only a few weeks prior to him being sworn in as President, he had already won the vote.
Off the plane, got my luggage and found my way into our apartment, just 4 blocks from Time Square. I felt like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone II, my eyes wide open, a sucker for the bright lights, this was what I’d been waiting for all my life.
We spent a few days sussing out New York, taking all the normal tours you do, drinking plenty of piss, we did it well. Some wild weather made the Brooklyn Bridge adventure a tough one and the fog meant we couldn’t get up to the Empire State Building lookout either. But the weather couldn’t stop one thing and being a lifelong NBA fan since I could remember, watching the Knicks at Madison Square Garden was high on the bucket list. The night before leaving Charlotte, we’d been to see the Hornets play the Spurs and Aussie Patty Mills.
We find a bar to get into the spirit of things and make our way to the great landmark, where the best ballers, musicians and entertainers have performed. The Knicks were taking on Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder and everything was as brilliant as I had anticipated. A full arena, the atmosphere was incredible, a mixture of die hard Knicks supporters and tourists from all around the world, just like us. I reckon you could have almost run an impromptu Olympic Games and we would have had representation from most nations.
For 1 night, we were massive New York Knicks fans.
We bought merch, like you do, I got a shirt, a beanie and a big finger, we cheered for the Knicks as though we were their # 1 ticket holders, we got drunk, we got rowdy and we hugged the patrons around us who we’d met just prior to the 1st quarter. The beers they sell at MSG are massive, they fill your bladder real quick, they are like tiny little canisters of grog that we tried to shove into our newly purchased Knicks stubby coolers. Combine the beers with a couple of hot dogs and you’ve got yourself a great night.
Sadly, for all our support, the Knicks went down by 9, Westbrook put on an absolute show, another triple-double. We left a little bit upset, but then realised we weren’t actually New York fans, just for that one night. The festivities continued, we found a bar and reminisced on our time spent at Madison Square Garden, stuff you see in the movies, we were there, we had lived it and I can’t wait to go back and do it all again.