Sunday 1st March saw Manchester Giants play Plymouth Raiders in their sell-out home game, which I was kindly invited down to watch, and naturally, I was super excited to do so!
George H Carnall Leisure Centre, Urmston, Home to the Manchester Giants, and for the day me as well! With tip-off at 5pm we headed down pretty early, giving ourselves plenty of time to enjoy the atmosphere leading up to the game. Upon arriving we were given a programme for the match which included player profiles, sponsorships, details, and spaces for you to collect the players autographs – a touch which I thought was really nice for Giants fans to create a special memory of the game. After we got our programmes and located the nearest point for a drink, we walked into the hall to be greeted with an indescribable atmosphere of music, all age ranges having the time of their life, and both Manchester Giants and Plymouth Raiders training and warming up on the court, which I got tired just watching!
Now, I won’t lie to you, my basketball knowledge doesn’t stretch much from Troy Bolton and the Wildcats in High School Musical, thankfully I took my neighbour with me who is a basketball enthusiast and so explained (in detail!) the rules of basketball to me so I had a basic understanding of what was going on throughout the game. Although, even if you don’t know much about basketball, I would totally recommend going down to a match if you ever have the chance, purely for the atmosphere alone. One of the main things that I noticed was how inclusive and welcoming everyone was. From the staff to the players to the fans, everyone was welcomed and included in all aspects of the day. As we took our seats, the people around us (some of who were die hard Giants fans, and others first timers like me!) took the time to say hello, and engaged in conversations with us throughout the day, which was lovely and I enjoyed the game surrounded by the nicest of people. Also, if at any point you did need a helping hand in what was going on, I witnessed lovely moments between fans explaining what was happening to people there on their first time.
The entire day was inclusive and engaging, and credit to one of the marketing guys who I was introduced to, who took the role of crowd engagement and could be heard yelling “Defence” and “Giants” down the mic, getting the crowd involved and yelling back to show support to the Giants throughout the game. As I was looking round in the supporters, I could see young and old fans, families and friends, and I thought it was particularly nice that all the fans got involved, whether that was cheering for the team, or singing along to one of the classic Oasis tracks played over the speakers. It is quite rare to find a sporting event that is inclusive to everyone in terms of there is something to keep everyone happy, and I would put the Manchester Giants basketball games as an event that does cater for everyone. Half time approached, and as I looked around I could see hundreds of rubber ducks being thrown into the centre of the court in what can only be named as the half time ‘chuck a duck’ game. The rules? Pretty simple in fact. You buy a rubber duck from the stand, and then at half time you chuck it into the court, and if your duck gets picked you win a signed ball! Just a word of warning watch your head if you’re sat in front of children with ducks!
The way basketball works are there are 4 quarters of 10-12 minutes each, and between each quarter there is a short break of a couple of minutes. Throughout the game it looked really, really, positive for the Giants, and during the fourth quarter I was certain we were going to take the win. However, the end of the last quarter came to a close, and it ended on a draw, meaning the battle was now truly on for either Manchester Giants or Plymouth Raiders to take the win. Sadly, after additional time was played, which I was on the edge of my seat throughout, Plymouth narrowly stole the win, leaving Giants fans gutted. However, people remained positive stating that it was the best they had seen them play, and keeping hopeful for their upcoming games.
Basketball fan or novice, I certainly recommend that you take a trip down to watch Manchester Giants because after my trip there I would love to return!
For all details on the Giants future fixtures, and for tickets head over to their website by clicking here.
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*although I was kindly invited down, all opinions remain my own.