If you know me well, you know that I’m not exactly the target demographic for sales pitches for sports team season tickets. I’m the type to subscribe to opera and theater and not the Women’s NBA ---but I understand and appreciate the innate drama of sport, and I think it’s important for my kids to take in everything—even if they spend a big part of the pre-game/pre-show hollering how boring its going to be. In the past week I extracted my kids from the idiot box watch, shoved them into the mini van and headed to a Chicago Sky game. And I have to say: after actually attending a game, the overall experience is a LOT like, in terms of family entertainment, going to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s kids series. First of all, when you head on out to either the CSO or the WNBA, what you will witness, fundamentally, is a spectacle of mastery. You will see humans who have spent a very big chunk of their lives perfecting their craft, and these folks are the very best of the best. They have survived grueling auditions and draft picks, and they have to stay really good to keep working. Their skill brings them a small celebrity and a living wage—the two operations are not the star studded overblown mass consumed celebrity of say the boys NBA, but true devotees know who they follow and love, whether its Jia Perkins or, in my families case, soprano Joyce DiDonato.
For the Chicago Sky team, like the CSO family series, a choice has been made to gear the show/the game to be the Ultimate Family Experience. At CSO you’ll find a musical instrument petting zoo. At Chicago Sky you will get two mascots, a magician and free airbrush tattoos. At the CSO they push musical literacy, at Chicago Sky, with the help of a corporate sponsor, they push reading and regular literacy. Both venues have percussion—the Chicago Sky drumline is definitely more danceable than the kettle drums at CSO. Both venues have interactive art booths, and both have Take Aways---though the CSO could learn a lot from the WNBA about those lovely lovely sponsors who laden the audience with ever desirable Cool Stuff. Not sure how I would feel about the musicians tossing tee shirts into the house, but maybe coupons for music lessons?
And the venues: the UIC pavilion and Orchestra Hall feel up close and personal, perfectly sized and close to the action, even if you are in the balcony. Both have enough potties for itty bitty bladders. And both feature nearby parking—so important when you are squiring extra kiddies to the Event, or have to carry a sleeping child back to the car at the end. The WNBA though, has way better food---cocoa and cookies can’t compete with dippin dots and Chicago Dogs.
But at the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with a family or group outing to either the WNBA or the CSO. Happy Experiences!