J performed today at Arthur Ashe Stadium for the NY Liberty women's basketball game "Outdoor Classic". They say it's an historic event since it's the very first regular season outdoor pro basketball game ever. I worked an early shift (11-3), got home at 3:20 and got J's makeup and hair done. She had a 5pm call so we left at around 4:15 and picked up her friend (S) on the way. It's nice that the stadium is only 10 minutes away, lol. J met up with the dance group and they were escorted into something like a "green room" - a big area where they wait til it's their turn to go on. The rest of us got to wander around the stadium area where they were having this big "fan fest" with music, games, prizes, and lots of stuff for kids. W got in on this basketball shoot-off game. He was the youngest player out of 16 players - 8 lined up on each side taking turns shooting baskets. Out of 7 tries, W scored 4 baskets. He was high-fiving everyone as he finished his turn each time. His team won 3 in a row. His prize was getting to go over to David Lee of the NY Knicks and get a t-shirt signed. Then he went over to this big inflatable slide while S and I had a blast at the Radio Disney booth. We were answering a bunch of Disney Channel questions and walked away with some prizes.
We went in at 6:30 - right to our luxury box. Again, I highly recommend these. It was beautiful - air conditioned, packed with food and drinks (and beer!), and had it's own bathroom. It led to an outdoor balcony with tables and seats where we had a perfect view of all the action. J's group was finally introduced and they were great! All 4 of the studio dance teams performed. It was so awesome to watch them dance right on the court. (It's still awesome even though J's danced at many major venues - Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Izod Stadium for the NJ Nets, Six Flags, etc). At the peak of the Liberty game, there were 23,000 people in the stands. Probably around 7,000 were there to watch J's pre-game performance - pretty cool. After their performance, one of the Liberty staff members escorted each kid right to their seats! That cleared up any worry about trying to figure out where to meet her after her dance. I love that they did that.
So it turned out that 2 bands were performing there as well - V Factory and Menudo. The girls were so excited. Then as luck would have it, both bands happened to be 3 luxury boxes down from us. They were on their balcony, so I grabbed the girls and we all ran over to them! They were really happy we came over (I don't think anyone else saw them there, lol) and several members of V Factory were talking with the girls and we got some pictures with them. One of them (Nicky) told J he saw her dancing earlier and she was really good. J just about died right there. Nicky got a couple of band photos for the girls and had the rest of the guys sign them.
Right next to them, Menudo was just sitting there and of course the girls went over to them and were like, HI! They were all so nice and chatted with them a bit. I cannot tell you how excited the girls were with all this. S has posters of both V Factory and Menudo on her wall, so she's a huge fan. I actually thought Menudo broke up in the 80s and I've never heard of the other band til like 2 days ago, lol. After the Liberty game (they lost) the girls ran down to courtside. V Factory came out and sang another 2 songs, waving at the girls when they were done and walking off the court. Then Menudo came out and sang like 3 songs. As they walked off the court, the girls were yelling and waving and they waved back and shot them a peace-sign or 2. It was funny that most of the audience left early (I guess they were just there to see the game) so the girls got to get up real close.
As the crowd was shuffling out of the stadium, the girls were getting pictures with each member of V Factory. W was happy to be the cameraman as one by one each band member put his arms around the girls for a picture. Talk about pure preteen heaven! We left right after that and the girls giggled and talked about it the whole ride home. S couldn't wait to call her mom and tell her how amazing this night was. J has been hanging out with S a lot over the last 2 weeks - they've been great friends since they were 2 or 3 and go to CCD together, but haven't really hung out regularly like they do now. I love S and her family and I'm thrilled they're (we're) such good friends after so many years. I didn't want to put S's face in any blog pictures so I uploaded a set I made with her cropped out. But every pic is originally with both girls - that J will cherish forever. J and S are going to the Jonas Brothers concert together, too, next month. Now that band happens to be J's favorite in the world and I know she'll be talking about that one for a long time!