Brian Matzat is a season ticket holder, therefore he was lucky enough to attend the Bucks preview luncheon on Monday. Here’s his recap.
I had the privilege of going to the Bucks Preview Luncheon. It was my original intention to recap, in detail, every minute of the event. I instead elected to take in the entire experience (I was with my boss, a tweetcast would have been inappropriate) and report back in summary. And since the lunch was pretty expensive and therefore less accessible, I’m going to touch on all facets of the luncheon.
The presentation of the luncheon was a mixed bag. The lunch was catered by the SURG Restaurant Group, so it was undoubtedly swanky, at least from a meal presentation standpoint. Kudos to SURG for having a vegetarian option so I wasn’t stuck with salad for lunch. However, the placemat under each dinner plate was a Bucks pennant, and the cloth napkins were bound by a Milwaukee Bucks “Livestrong” style bracelet. There was an incredibly expensive silent auction outside the lobby, and they set up a merchandise booth to try to capitalize even more on the attendees. The lunch was on the court, which provided an incredibly intimate experience. That said, I can’t tell you how many people tripped on the hardwood coming on or going off the court. Jim Paschke was the emcee for the event, somehow providing both class and awkward quips at the same time. Oddly enough, the lunch featured individual pre-game style introductions of each player by Paschke. It got even more awkward when they had someone sang the national anthem.
From a reporters standpoint, the event did not yield any significant news. The waiving of Brian Skinner was foreshadowed. Skinner was the only non-injured Buck that was not in attendance. In fact, every Buck, every coach, and even every Energee! member was in attendance, minus Darington Hobson and Michael Redd. Corey Maggette and John Salmons announced that they’d be ready for action on Wednesday. Unfortunately, Carlos Delfino left mid-way through the event due to a family emergency, according to Jon McGlocklin. Hopefully all is well for Carlos and his family. A lady to my immediate left, who has been a season ticket holder for 31 years, won courtside-club seats to the home opener by selecting the right seat. Bad chair choice on my part. And other than that, it was just a fantastically catered lunch.
While short on news, it was a lesson in basketball psychology. Everyone in attendance had the opportunity to witness the team in a rare setting: hanging out and eating lunch. Before I convey my observations, I want to point out two things:
A) I realize these guys see each other every single day. Most likely more than they see anyone else in their respective lives.
B) They probably all felt rather awkward eating lunch on a raised podium in front of 500 people.
That said, I was mildly concerned by the lack of interaction between teammates. Brandon Jennings and Maggette were burning through their cell batteries. John Salmons was getting lost in the sea of empty chairs that probably brought back memories of his first few games as a Buck. And Andrew Bogut rolled his eyes when Keyon Dooling mentioned his elbow, but he probably does that when anyone mentions his elbow at this point. A few small examples, but for a team that is relying heavily on chemistry, it did raise eyebrows. Coach Skiles seemed to be in a great mood, however, smiling more in one afternoon than I have seen in my 24 years of existence. Skiles even pranked Larry Sanders, telling the rookie to join him to address the attendees right before the event. Larry reluctantly walked to the podium behind Skiles, only to find out that he had been punked in front of 500 fans. John Hammond also spoke, and as always was modest in his assessment of the team. Hammond announced, “I think we, if healthy, will put together a competitive product.” After that, the luncheon was over and 500 Milwaukeeans went back to their 9-5s.
I realize this was a rather critical review of what went on at yesterday’s luncheon. I went in to the event hoping to analyze the team on a different level, and I was a little surprised with what I found. But in the end we’re not talking about the game of basketball, this was lunch. Not the game. We’re talking about lunch.
Brian Matzat is a contributor to Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan of Bucksketball on Facebook (click in the sidebar).