The best thing about going to a Glens Falls basketball game is sitting in the balcony.
The balcony has regular arena chairs with seat backs, and when you get to a certain age, that is more important than the proximity to the court. The parents and students are welcome to the bleachers.
It is upstairs in the balcony where I see the other guys like me who don’t necessarily have a rooting interest — our kids don’t play — but are there to appreciate the basketball.
They remind me of the city fathers in the movie “Hoosiers” who tried to get the coach fired, lording over the action below, providing wise context to the latest group of varsity stars, and maybe a few jabs at what the coach should be doing.
Danny Hall, now the Glens Falls mayor, is there most nights, not in an official capacity but as someone who has lived with the program for years, got to see his own son not only star for Glens Falls but make it to the state tourney. He is a basketball groupie, too.
Doug Beaty, one of Queensbury’s at-large town supervisors, is there a lot, telling stories about how he played with the great Jim Towne at Glens Falls in the old days.
So is former coach Dave Casey.
The last time I saw the late Dave Strader was up in the balcony, taking in the action.
I used to see former Athletic Director Doug Kenyon pop in from time to time, but I have not seen him in a while.
All of them have that Glens Falls pedigree and I suspect there is no place they would rather be on game night.
I don’t fit in since I live in Queensbury and my son went to Queensbury High. But I suspect we all love basketball the same.
I’ve had two distinct careers at the newspaper. For 20 years, I was a sportswriter who covered games and told the stories of the kids who played. For the next 20 years, I’ve been a news guy as an editor, where the work is serious and I don’t smile quite as much.
After leaving sports, I would excuse myself after dinner and head out to a basketball game.
Sometimes I went to see Queensbury, other times Glens Falls.
It got me out of the house on those cold winter nights and got me back to my sports roots.
But after seeing a young Jimmer Fredette play at the Civic Center his sophomore year, my course almost always brought me to the balcony at Glens Falls High.
From his junior year on, I rarely missed a Glens Falls game. My wife used to say I spent more time with Jimmer than with her. Of course, Jimmer had a better shot.
I told my old friends about Jimmer and how they had to see him play. When they visited from out of state over the holidays, I dragged them up to the balcony for the holiday basketball tournament so they could see for themselves.
That ride went all the way to the state championship game Jimmer’s senior year, and the one thing I was absolutely sure about when it was all over was that I would never see any player quite like that again.
I was wrong.
Over the past four years I have been back in the balcony for almost every home basketball game to appreciate the talents of Joseph Girard III.
I started going to some of the football games, too.
His accomplishments have been well-chronicled, so I don’t need to rehash them here, but I have seen a lot of basketball games over the years, including one at St. Mary’s with Girard’s father, Joseph Girard Jr., but I have never seen anything like this young man.
Along the way, I got one of my friends in town to join me on game nights where we talked sports, critiqued the coaching and gradually became blasé over 50-point scoring exploits like just about everyone else.
That’s been special, too.
I know the games are getting short now with the Section II Basketball Tournament underway and a big week coming up at the Cool Insuring Arena.
I’ll be there, too.
And there may be a trip out to the Dome in Syracuse once Girard starts college, but I doubt it could ever be any more special than one of those $2 seats in the balcony.
Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog, “The Front Page,” discusses issues about newspapers and journalism. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley.