The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things, and sports is one of them. The Laker game experience was much different compared to normal times, and it started even before I entered Staples Center. At the entrance, you are required to show proof you are vaccinated or had a recent negative COVID test. There are no bags allowed and any purchases made inside are currently contactless (no cash).
Once inside, it felt like a ghost town. Usually before a game everyone is walking around, getting food, etc, but this was not the case. As it got closer to game time, it got a bit more crowded, but it still felt very quiet.
Speaking of the game, a lot was different from that standpoint too. When in your seats, no food or drinks were allowed. You must wear your mask at all times. If you refused, you were given a warning by an usher (which a lot of people in our section were). Each seat is also marked with a big “Ticketed Seat” sign which makes seat hopping nearly impossible, which is one positive thing about these changes. There was also little timeout and halftime entertainment. Obviously no fans or cheerleaders are allowed on the court, so old dances and contests were shown on the video board for the fans’ enjoyment. The national anthem was also sung up in the 200 section, rather than on the court. But, something normal did occur, and that’s a Lakers win. The Lakers won a huge game against MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and his Nuggets, as the Lakeshow look to do their best while LeBron is sidelined with an injury.
Overall, going to a Laker game during the COVID-19 pandemic was crazy. Having less fans has its negatives and its positives. But you can never lose going to a Laker game. It was a great experience and I and many others hope to see a Laker game again soon with a full capacity crowd sometime next season.
I would like to thank the San Bernardino County Sherriff Employees’ Benefit Association (SEBA), especially Chris Lee and San Bernardino County Sherriff Department Corporal Danny Garcia, for arranging for me to attend this once in a lifetime Lakers game experience. In addition to the tickets to the game, SEBA also gifted me with an autographed Lakers jersey and new equipment for my YouTube show, CadenCenter. My new friends at SEBA surprised me with this amazing gift as a thank you for the Cadens Teddy Bears/iPads for Kids campaign. They were helped by Michael Fermin and Marc Nehamen, to who I would like to say thank you. I would also like to thank Scott Shamblin of A Better Class Limousine, who got us to the game in style and surprised me with a Kobe Bryant collage! Lastly, thank you to my grandparents, Bob and Mary Sheehan for surprising me with the limo ride to the game.
Check out SEBA’s vlog about the surprise here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I7gVx8IYXY&feature=youtu.be