Thursday night after work, I headed to downtown Brooklyn to attend an early Northeast Conference clash between defending champ LIU Brooklyn and Wagner, who was coming into the contest with five wins paired with one loss. More importantly I would be meeting up with perhaps the two most prolific sports enthusiasts in the world, "the Prince" Gary Herman and "the King". I met these two men about a year ago and have since run into them at some sporting events in that time; each time it's an excellent chance to catch up.
To those who have never heard of them or their exploits, its hard to find a place to begin. For starters, they attend approximately 400 sporting events a year. That's not a misprint. They attend a sporting event almost everyday with often a doubleheader on Saturday and/or Sunday and major holidays. Although they live and work in the New York City area they constantly travel throughout the country checking out new venues and revisiting old ones. They have taken in a game at every venue in the four major North American professional sports. According to Gary this pace has been going on for around 15 years. In that time they have amassed some staggering numbers. The King expects to attend his 7000th professional baseball game this year. I once asked how many college basketball games they had attended, Gary seemed to be doing some mental math, then gave up and said it was a large number - he would have to get back to me on that one.
As I greeted them shortly before game time they were excited to tell me about their upcoming plans for the weekend which involved a trip to the northern plains to see a Minnesota Wild hockey game Friday night, followed by a Winnipeg Jets hockey game Saturday night, followed by a Minnesota Vikings football game Sunday afternoon.
We took our seats and watched LIU sprint out to a lead thanks to hot shooting by Jamal Olasewere. From there, Wagner tried to make runs, but never really was able to catch the Blackbirds. The score at halftime was 36-32 in favor of LIU. Wagner played very aggressive defense, so much so that they constantly found themselves in foul trouble. They remained in the double bonus a significant part of both halves, and three of their players would eventually foul out. Sometimes when one team has a larger amount of fouls than another team there is the tendency to say the officiating favored one side. In my opinion that was not the case here. Wagner simply fouled more often and in a smaller, more intimate venue such as the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center you could really see the difference between both teams play when they were on defense. After the half, LIU ran out to a comfortable lead for most of the second half without big man Julian Boyd. Wagner had one last run in them, cutting the lead to four late in the second half, but LIU responded with a 7-0 run of their own, sealing the game.
Although Wagner had started the season strong, it still seems like the title will again go thru Brooklyn. This year several Northeast Conference teams have gotten off to good starts though.
After the game we said our goodbyes and I headed home. Gary Herman maintains a blog at http://royaltytours.blogspot.com where you can find out more about these two amazing individuals. No matter where you live, they will probably be attending a game near you at some point, so if you see them at the game say hi. Gary is one of the nicest, warmest, most approachable people I have ever met and he would enjoy comparing notes and sharing road trip adventures. I am honored to be able to call him a friend.
at LONG ISLAND 78, WAGNER 73 12/01/2011
WAGNER 5-2 (0-1) -- J. Rahon 8-17 3-5 20; T. Murray 6-15 2-3 19; L. Rivers 5-20 1-1 12; J. Williams 8-17 0-0 16; C. Martin 3-10 2-2 10; N. Folahan 1-2 0-0 2; K. Ortiz 2-5 2-4 6; J. Thompson 3-6 0-0 6; M. Burton 1-3 0-0 2; O. Parker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 29-79 7-10 73. LONG ISLAND 3-4 (1-0) -- J. Brickman 4-8 1-2 11; M. Culpo 2-4 0-0 4; C. Garner 5-12 5-6 15; B. Thompson 3-8 0-0 8; J. Boyd 4-12 2-6 11; J. Olasewere 6-12 6-7 18; A. Mayorga 1-3 6-8 8; K. Onyechi 1-7 0-0 2; B. Hucks 0-0 1-2 1; G. Martin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-66 21-31 78.
Three-point goals: WAG 8-25 (C. Martin 2-5; T. Murray 5-7; J. Thompson 0-1; L. Rivers 1-7; J. Williams 0-5), LIU 5-13 (A. Mayorga 0-1; M. Culpo 0-1; J. Boyd 1-1; J. Olasewere 0-2; B. Thompson 2-5; J. Brickman 2-3); Rebounds: WAG 42 (T. Murray 9), LIU 46 (J. Olasewere 11); Assists: WAG 8 (L. Rivers 2), LIU 9 (J. Brickman 6); Total Fouls -- WAG 28, LIU 13; Fouled Out: WAG-J. Williams; LIU-J. Olasewere.