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#BGReviewer: The Harlem Globetrotters at Budweiser Gardens

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When I hear the words Harlem Globetrotters, two things happen: 

1)  I remember my Dad and I laughing our heads off at the Globetrotters' hijinks in the seventies

2)  I instantly hear Sweet Georgia Brown - the team's catchy theme song (have a listen here).  

Both of these things put a goofy smile on my face, and so when I learned that I had been selected to be Budweiser Garden's reviewer for the Globetrotters show on April 15th, I was thrilled!   

As a child of the seventies, it seemed to me that the Harlem Globetrotters were everywhere.  My Dad and I watched them on tv and laughed uproariously as they "tortured" members of the audience and the opposing team.  We also saw them on a lot of loopy seventies and early eighties tv shows:  Gilligan's Island, The Love Boat and my all-time favourite - Scooby Doo:

 

pic from Warner Bros.

 

pic from Warner Bros.

They even had their own cartoon!

I begged my Dad to take me to see them but it didn't happen:  I had to be content watching their shenanigans on the boob tube.  My Dad would have loved to join me and his grandkids at Bud Gardens to watch the show live, but life doesn't always turn out the way we plan.

My kids and husband were super excited to see the show.  We are all fans and we knew that we were in for some good times and a lot of laughs. 

The pre-show featured "Globie" (the team's mascot) and his crew dancing and interacting with the fans:

 

pic from Harlem Globetrotters

They hosted a wacky version of musical chairs and staged a truly ridiculous dance contest between audience members.  Ostensibly, the folks with truly terrible dance moves got the most cheers from the audience. 

We could not believe the feats of athleticism that we saw from the dance crew:  they were total athletes in every sense of the word, performing one-armed pushups with ease, and spinning, jumping and tumbling wildly.  We loved their break dancing wizardry!

When the Globetrotters appeared on the floor, in a cloud of smoke, the crowd went wild!  It looks a little underwhelming in this photo, but had I posted my first picture, all you would have seen was the smoke :-)

I cannot emphasize enough how hilarious the team is.  They interacted with the fans constantly:  sitting on laps and begging for kisses, stealing phones to take selfies, performing a mock marriage, splashing fans and each other with water and then laughing their heads off.  They also tortured the opposing team - The World All-Stars - by busting into crazy dance moves in the middle of the game, pulling down their pants, and fighting with the ref (hey you big ol' zebra!).  The Globetrotters took every opportunity to good-naturedly embarrass the fans and each other, and everyone howled at their antics. 

We couldn't believe it when one of them scrambled up the pole and sat on the backboard, yelling at the ref and his teammates.  As Jungle Boogie by Kool and the Gang exploded out of the speakers (Get down, get down!), everyone looked on in astonishment, and began to chuckle. 

I don't think he even broke a sweat!

The Globetrotter's supporting cast of characters were also superstars.  When Cager came out (from  the World All-Stars) we were astonished at his height, athleticism and "bad" attitude.  Here, he's deflating a Globetrotters ball:

pic from Zimbio

One of the Globetrotters donned a pair of huge red boxing gloves to "fight" Cager, but ended up hitting and "knocking out" one of their own instead!

pic from the Southeast Missourian

My daughter's favourite character was Big G, who initially reminded me of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man until I saw him perform this stunt:

 

pic from Signs and Shapes International

Big G is 3 metres tall with moves like Jagger.  Near the end of his energetic performance, he ripped his eyes out of his head, threw them at an astonished player and then fell onto the floor with a giant "splat".  The crowd went nuts!

Between bouts of laughter, the team made sure that everyone knew about World Vision - a charity that "creates lasting change in the lives of children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice". 

We decided to sponsor a child and in return, we met and posed for pictures with the team and asked them to sign our basketball.  Here's Ezekiel, followed by some shots with the team:

The players were exceedingly generous with their time and energy.  They signed programs, basketballs, shirts and even wheelchairs.  They made everyone feel like a "number one fan".  I was so impressed. 

I would like to thank Budweiser Gardens for this awesome opportunity, and the Harlem Globetrotters for their athleticism and showmanship.  I'd also like to thank Downtown London and Tourism London for the Downtown Dollars. We spent them at the Covent Garden Market on bureks (flaky phyllo filled with cheese and spinach, served with a side of sour cream) from Hot Oven. 

mmmmm... bureks

My kids are addicted to these tasty pastries!  If you haven't tried one, get thee to the market pronto. 

Later that afternoon, we were inspired to play a little b'ball at home, using our new basketball, natch:

We would totally give the Globetrotters a run for their money... well, in our hoop dreams anyway!

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