For once, the saddest thing in Madison Square Garden wasn’t the Knicks’ defense. It was the family of four sitting in front of me, up in the nosebleeds, in section 405 during Monday’s loss to the Celtics.
From left to right, you had the father, a Jeff Van Gundy look-alike with mid-life crisis written all over his face, who probably woke up proud that he had spent half his paycheck so his family could watch his beloved Knicks play the best team in the NBA. Next to him was his rail thin son, equip with a new iPod mini, who had about as much interest in basketball as he did in his father. To the boy’s right sat his younger sister, the new Harry Potter book in her lap and an iPod blaring in her ear. Finally, there was the mother. Even more oblivious to Kendrick Perkins’ 22 first half points than her daughter, the forty-something woman alternated between her iPod Shuffle and a game on her cell phone for the better part of 48 minutes.
Collectively, the son, daughter and mother trio must have left their seats 15 times throughout the game, mostly to walk around or to fill up the water bottles they had snuck into the Garden.
The father attempted to stay upbeat in between glaring at his ignorant wife and groaning about the Knicks’ poor shot selection. He bought his children hot dogs and ice cream before cutting them off “for the rest of the day.” He tried to talk to his wife about the brilliant half time performance from a local high school band, but she was far more interested in getting a high Tetris score.
There were no “thank you’s,” and no “I love you’s” for this dad. No appreciation whatsoever actually. But he kept trying anyway.
And I sat there and thought about all the times I have treated my father the very same way, when I was too cool to hang out with him or too into a text message to listen to his story.
Father’s can be insanely out of touch sometimes – this one sure was. But remember this: It’s better to hang with an out of touch dad than it is to have one who doesn’t bother to keep in touch at all.