AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!
Sometimes it is best to say nothing about some games. Our brief sojourn in New England is one of those times. I have repressed its memory. There….Hey, who do we play next?
Answer: The Milwaukee Bucks, who have beaten us twice in rather humiliating fashion. Personally, I am tired of humiliation. I want revenge. Hopefully, we’ll see some tonight. I’m optimistic. The Pacers are pretty mercurial. They tend to bounce up and pop teams after someone squashes them flat.
Tonight, our antlered friends from Cheese Country leave their usual salt lick to visit the warm confines of The Bank. Last night, they were dispatched neatly by the Rockets 115-101 and have now lost 3 in a row. Their big guns, Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, had a so-so night, scoring 12 and 16 points, respectively. The Bucks' big problem was 25 turnovers and poor perimeter defense. The Rockets' Carlos Delfino went 6-7 from 3-point land and James (“Fuzzy”) Harden pumped in 29 points on them. My guess is the Bucks' coach, Plymouth, Indiana's own Scott Skiles, was less than happy. At any rate, we shouldn't be viewing the Bucks on one of their up notes.
The key to beating Milwaukee is containing Ellis and Jennings. As they go, so go the Bucks. In the last two games we didn’t do that and lost big time. However, I think we can do this at home, particularly if we pressure our antlered friends into the same sort of turnover night that they had against Houston. The Bucks really have no answer to David (“D-Train”) West, whose recent shooting funk, I think, will end tonight. Also when we played the Bucks before Tyler Hansbrough was a different sort of psychotic than he’s been lately. Roy’s game too has been modestly improving and he’s way overdue for a breakout night. Add Area 55 and the G2 Zone into the mix and I think we come away with a win. I’ve been pretty good on my predictions lately too. Better than Mike Wells, anyway. Let’s see what happens!
Detroit Road Trip There’s been a lot of early interest in the Detroit Road Trip, which is scheduled for Saturday, February 23rd at 7:00 P.M. At last count, I’ve got something like 43 names down just from Area 55. I’ve heard that G2 Zone has a similarly lengthy list. Pacers Marketing Jefe, Rob Laycock, will be looking into the possibility of scoring us a block of tickets at, hopefully, reduced rates. Hell, maybe we can score a bus too. Watch this Newsletter for further info.
The Western Boone Star Force Dance Team Comes to BLF! At the Wizards game, fans were treated to the martial choreography of the Western Boone High School “Star Force” Dance Team. Sadly, I was not all that wowed by their performance. I was hoping to see the bend-o antics of Rubberboy (“The World’s Most Flexible Man”), so I confess to viewing “Star Force” with a somewhat jaundiced eye right from the get-go.
But there are other reasons for my giving "Star Force" just a ho-hum review. Frankly, I’m always just a tad underwhelmed when PS&E opts for unpaid halftime amusement from the happy feet of local area dance or exercise troupes. I’ve always suspected that such interludes are not really intended to be seen but, rather, are periodically inserted into BLF halftime fare simply to gin up sales of beer, hot dogs and popcorn at the elite Blue Flame Grill. These extravaganzas don’t really cater to the jaded tastes of Area 55ers like me, that have been forced to watch their ilk at Pacers halftime shows over and over again now for three solid years.
Nope, I admit to having a preference for the slicker weirdness which comes from paid regulars - the professional NBA halftime charlatans like Tom Silver (“The World’s Greatest Hypnotist”) or Dan Menendez (“The Piano Juggler”) for example. When you have to stay in your seat to watch amateurs like “Star Force”, you never really expect much and always have to concede the tyros style points just because they’re homie wannabe entertainers that don’t know any better. With David Stern's paid family-fun pros, I feel less inhibited. I can let loose with a stinging review or a boo and a hiss at the conclusion of a performance with no pangs of conscience whatsoever.
All that said, I still have to scratch my head a little to describe here exactly what “Star Force” was all about.
As far as I could tell “Star Force” consisted of around 20 or 25 high school students -- mostly girls, but there were a few guys in there too -- from Thorntown, Indiana (where Western Boone H.S. is located and where “Star Force” is apparently headquartered). The troupe’s members were all dressed oddly – wearing Army surplus camouflage fatigues and black combat boots. Some were in full camouflage. However, a few of the women in the group (who looked kind of hot to me!) had spangled black clingy tops on, which sort of detracted from their decidedly camouflaged pants. I like the sexiness of clingy black tops however, so the troupe picked up a style point or two for that.
The use of all the camouflage gear actually puzzled me. Perhaps Star Force was trying to meld into the shrubbery and not be seen. But if that was the idea, it was an epic fail since jungle flora into which they could merge was distinctly lacking at BLF center court in wintry Indianapolis on January 2nd. Despite their camouflage, I could see them all quite well.
Their dance act was OK. It was pretty energetic and set to some bouncy rhythmic musical stuff that I (being hip-hop challenged) didn’t recognize. The dancers all seemed to be in sync, so I can’t fault them on their choreography either – which seemed to borrow a lot from Hong Kong cinema. It featured plenty of karate-style punches, some Taoist arm folds and oodles of synchronized kicking. I don’t know if there was an intended theme to it all or not. To me, it looked like a promo for “Jackie Chan Leaves the Shaolin Pagoda and Joins the Green Berets” but I readily admit that other viewers may have had a different take. Anyway, “Star Force” punched and kicked away frenetically for a good 6 or 7 minutes and then exited to good-natured applause from the largely indifferent crowd. Maybe the fans were simply recovering from a New Year’s Eve hangover and were in no condition to be picky about their 2013 halftime fun. Maybe they were still hyp-mo-tized from the Memphis game's show. It's hard to say.
Personally, in keeping with all the commando fun, I would have liked to have seen a couple of chicken wire and paper-maché tanks or armored cars mixed in with the dancing. Or perhaps, if Star Force’s deal was to emulate a Navy Seal strike – which is one possibility – maybe we could have had a couple of dancers sporting A-Team mohawks and chains a la Mr. T or perhaps a couple of turbaned terrorists or camels thrown in for light comic relief. The act needed something more than what we were shown. For instance, I would have liked to have pit them against the Korean Tae Kwan Do Academy that appeared a few weeks ago. Then we could have had more realistic kick carnage. Also, sporting types like me could have placed bets on the body count after all the stylized blood and gore was over.
As goofy as the Star Force performance was, I am thankful for one thing -- there was no Armed Forces swearing-in ceremony at its climactic end. While an army veteran myself, I still confess to having pacifist tendencies. Yeah, I know it's stimulating and patriotic and all, but personally I’m a little tired of our ongoing halftime glorification of war. More to the point, I’m still reeling from the awfulness of the mass Air Force swearing-in ceremony that passed for halftime fun back when we played New Orleans.
All in all, I still give “Star Force” a solid B. It coulda been better, but they were, after all, just unpaid high school kids and the effort was there.
Time to go to press!
GO PACERS! GO AREA 55!