December 2008


Science City Jena

The best local player at Jena’s basketball tent/arena was not a member of the Science City Jena basketball team.

It was the local who made a shot from slightly beyond the 3-point line, thus winning 800€.

He was also probably the only local player who could run around the court quickly, jump up and down, as well as show any kind of excitement.

Making the shot?

Making the shot?

The paid team members showed a distinct inability to make baskets—whether from 3-point land or from an area immediately adjacent to the vertical space in which the basketball hoop was located. They also didn’t seem interested in winning—when down by ten points in the fourth quarter, they moved as if they had an eternity in which to catch up—naturally they didn’t and when the final buzzer sounded, Jena lost to the arch-rival, Weißenfels, by a score of 48 to 61, thus falling to a record of 12-11.

But as a detached local fan, it was more exciting being in the atmosphere—this was my first basketball game in years—the last game I attended was a circus—Mike Davis’s Indiana University Hoosiers—where the game is accompanied by a dozen cheerleaders, the drill team, the marching band, and enough other sideshows to keep the 18,000 fans entertained no matter what happens.

Excitement at JenArena is mild in comparison-it seats a mere 2,000 people.

The Weißenfels game was well attended by guest-fans, so it was a loud and raucous environment—diehard fans from both teams beating drums and shouting in support of their chosen team. It’s hard for me to judge accurately as I was sitting at the Jena-end of JenArena, but it seemed to me that the Weißenfels fans were much louder, had a better coordinated drumming section (both in ability and dress), as well as a team that could perform.

But that’s not to say the Jena fans were dispirited, just that they were overwhelmed by the guest fans and underwhelmed by the players.

Being at the game brought back a number of memories for me—a blending of one George Washington High School (Denver) basketball game, combined with a multitude Wyoming and Indiana games. (This might be, as far as I can recall, my first professional basketball game, ever.) I don’t think basketball is a perfect sport—that is reserved for baseball—but it’s warm, fun entertainment.

Wyoming Basketball Notes: After getting home last night, I talked to my sister until 00:30, when I begged off—I popped online for a few minutes and thought I would check out the Northern Iowa versus Wyoming (at Casper, Wyoming) game. I could “watch” the gametracker version of the game, but when I tried the audio version, I discovered that listening to Wyoming sporting events is no longer free! I could buy access for 8USD a month, or $60 annually. I turned on the game with about 15 minutes of play time left—that’s not worth $8, and the thought of paying for an annual pass to listen turned my stomach: the vast majority of Wyoming games happen whilst I am sound asleep. There are two games left that start at 21:30 my time, three starting at 22:00, and the rest start at or after midnight—with one game starting at 04:30 by my German clock.

On a positive note, Wyoming won: 74-65; improving their record to 7-1.

2 comments to Science City Jena

  • Ed

    Look at you being all interested in sports and shit. I admit I love to watch IU basketball. The team really sucks this year but Danny Moore is so cute. ed

  • @Ed: I’m not actually following IU basketball too closely this year. I don’t even follow UW basketball very closely. I just think it’s fun to go to the games every once in awhile.