If you make the decision to move down, prepare yourself for an evening filled with anxiety. For some reason, its mildly terrifying sitting in seats that are not your own. Every single person that comes walking toward your section looks like theyre The One. You cant really enjoy the game because youre constantly scanning for the seats rightful owners.
In reality, its no big deal. Its not like youre in their shower. Youre just sitting in a seat at a game. But it feels like youre doing something horrible.
And when it finally happens and someone comes up and does the whole pull-their-ticket-out-and-look-confused thing, you have to play it off like you didnt know: Oh, look at this. This is section 103. I thought it was 303! Its up there in the Walk of Shame rankings. Its fairly humiliating to get bumped, so here are some tips:
Watch multiple sets for at least the first quarter. This is kind of tough in Oklahoma City, seeing as the arena is 95 percent full nightly. But there are always a few sets of seats not filled. Eye those bad boys for the first quarter, making sure no one ever shows up to them. If theyre clear the entire time, make a move about halfway through the second. Scouting is especially key. You cant just go after a pair of seats on a whim. Youve got to do homework.
Look for a string of six or seven empties. This is part of the planning. Its better to find a row that has multiple empty seats so that way if, God forbid, someone shows up and you have to move, you can just slide down a bit. And dont make a big deal of it. Just say, Oh, and move over. Thats it. Dont try and pretend like you were confused or innocent. Just slide over and forget it.
Dont be a hero. I know you want to sit courtside. I know you see those two open chairs right at halfcourt. But youve got to play it cool. No matter what youre upgrading, just accept the fact youre closer. Dont go for the Jack Nicholson seats. Look for your string of empties and dont deviate from your plan. If you happen to end up at the top of 103, just accept it. Again, youre better off than you were.
Confidence. You cant try and sneak into your new spot. Youve got to go down like you own those seats. The moment you commit to sit in them, they are yours. If you hesitate and look uncomfortable, everyone will know youre the poor person trying to sit with the rich folk. Go in with confidence.
Sit in the middle of a row. I actually asked one of the ushers for a little advice on this, and he said that sitting in the middle makes you tougher to get. Even if an usher knows you moved up, if youre in the middle, its almost not worth the hassle of getting you out.
Mind your business. Once you get there, play it cool. Dont heckle, dont yell, dont jump up and down and act like an idiot. You dont want to draw attention to yourself and the fact you dont belong.
If all that fails you, then I guess the last tip I have is this: Spend some money and buy a better seat. But that just seems ridiculous, doesnt it?
Young is the founder of the DailyThunder.com blog.