All-Star Game's Record Crowd Included Some Wretched Views
At least Brandon Lane knew that much about what was going on Sunday night at Cowboys Stadium.
"I would probably compare this to watching ants,'' said Lane, 28, of Dallas, about watching an NBA All-Star Game in which the red-clad West team fell 141-139 to the East.
FanHouse set out to find the worst seats in the venue for a game that attracted a basketball-record crowd of 108,713. Sherpa guides eventually led the way to section 431, row 22.
There were no disagreements in that row that these were the worst seats in the house. The game was a mere rumor as fans looked down from the last row in a section that at least tied for the highest up while being beyond what way down below looked like the baseline.
"They're the worst,'' said Mark Byous, 35, of New Orleans, seated next to Lane.
Byous and three buddies had paid $100 each for their tickets online, but the three others never made it to Texas due to travel problems related to weather. So Byous sold the other three tickets for $40 apiece.
"I didn't know I was going to be in the last row, but I knew I was going to be high,'' said Byous, who attended his fifth straight All-Star Game. "I'm just happy to be in the building.''
Byous claimed he could see the action reasonably well without the benefit of the huge Cowboys Stadium video board, while Lane didn't profess to having such great vision. Still, both were put through a test.
As the East came down the court just before the halftime buzzer, the two were asked who was putting up a shot. Both were clueless when it came to identifying Chicago's Derrick Rose as the one having launched the jumper. It only was confirmed when Rose's No. 1 was checked against a roster on the video board.
Rose was a blue ant. But that was close enough for Lane to have dubbed it a battle between red and black ants.
"My wife bought the tickets,'' Lane said. "I'm not putting it on her. They were a surprise. But I thought we'd be at least two stories down.''
Lane was seated next to James Reid, 31, of Monroeville, Ala., who is married to Lane's sister, Tierra. She and Lane's wife, Tania, were seated in another section, which was said to be not much better.
Lane and Reid, who had $100 tickets, were making the best of the situation.
"It's good to be here,'' said Reid, who said he knew the seats wouldn't be great but talked about being somewhat surprised when he kept walking up the stadium steps and didn't get to row 22 until there were no more rows left. "I wish the view could be better.''
It was better where Jennifer Hardy and her aunt, Jill Kirby, sat. OK, so it was three feet closer, in row 21, which did not lead to Hardy doing any gloating.
But then ticket prices were compared. The guys in the last row weren't overly excited to see Hardy and Kirby show off tickets that had a face value of $25 and had them one row closer.
Hardy, who lives in Dallas but previously lived in Oklahoma, said a friend who works in Oklahoma won the tickets at work and gave them to her. She figured the company must have gotten them at a discount price.
"I didn't think they were going to be good if they're free tickets,'' Hardy said. "You can't even hear the ball bouncing. I can't tell what's going on. This is just too big of a place for a basketball game. But I'm enjoying it. I'm here and a lot of people aren't.''
That was the consensus Sunday night at the summit of Mount Cowboys Stadium. At least those way up high could claim to be part of a record crowd.
"I'm going to tell anybody who asks that I was here,'' Byous said. "I probably won't tell anybody where I was sitting, though.''
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson