OnTap Magazine, February 01, 2008

Singles, Basketball & Babes by Linda Dickerhoof

It’s early January at the Verizon Center as the Washington Wizards battle the Los Angeles Clippers. The excitement builds as Gilbert Arenas shoots…and scores! And scores again! And again! The Wizards beat the Clippers 116-105, thanks in part to NBA superstar (and birthday boy) Arenas.

On this night, some lucky fans leave the arena headed for Arenas’ star-studded birthday party to rub elbows with A-listers such as P-Diddy and Beyonce. But for other, some might even say luckier (or at least, not as famous) fans, the party didn’t leave the arena, but rather continued in the Dewars Clubhouse where 500 singles were participating in “Singles Night,” sponsored by party-planners extraordinaire Professionals in the City.

What exactly is “Singles Night”, you might ask? Well tonight, it is an excuse for hundreds of (hopefully) singles to mix and mingle before, during and after a basketball game. The party starts an hour before game time in an exclusive, roped off section of the Dewars Clubhouse, a bar on the Club Level of the Verizon Center. Participants are treated to a DJ, free popcorn and reduced-price tickets to a Wizards game, while getting the opportunity to meet other (hopefully) singles with one thing in common, a love of basketball, or at least a love of the division-leading Wizards and their superstar Arenas.

While the Professionals in the City’s Web site promises some “perks” to Singles Night attendees (such as the Wizards dancers and a chance to win an autographed ball) that are actually opportunities available to any game attendee, there are several Singles Night-specific promotions, such as a Rod Stewart ticket giveaway. However, even more importantly to many Singles Night attendees, the ticket prices are a steal. Singles are sectioned off in sections 116-117 in the Main Concourse at $50, a price that can only be defined as a steal, with or without the accompanying party and popcorn. “I saw that tickets were $50 for the lower level, and I was sold,” said 29-year-old Jamieson .

The reasons for attending a Singles Night seem universal, whether they come from a male or female attend to meet some new people and enjoy some basketball. “This is my third Singles Night at the Wizards event,” says 45-year-old Gary. “It is always a great opportunity to meet different people, and see the game for $50.” However Gary admits that while he has met many different people, there is “no one that I have contacted after the game.”

This sentiment is echoed by 25-year old Jymece, “This is my second Wizards Singles Night, and while I enjoy these events, and they are something fun and different for my single girlfriends and I to do, I haven’t met my dream man yet.” Other attendees, such as 32-year old James, aren’t giving up hope. “A buddy of mine met his wife at a Professionals in the City Event, so I’m going to see how it works out for me.”

It seems though that either Singles Night attendees aren’t being completely honest with this reporter about the potential for a “hook up” this night given the potential for their name being in the paper associated with said “hook up”, or maybe they are just the unlucky few; for as the evening goes on there certainly appear to be some love connections being made between Singles Night attendees. Whether fueled by the energy in the arena as the Wizards lead the Clippers, or fueled by the alcohol from the Dewars Lounge is anyone’s guess.

Attendees who weren’t lucky enough to meet their Mister or Miss Right could have a very good reason, according to Jamieson “The people are very nice, and the party in the club level is fun, but I haven’t met as many people as I thought I would, because I’m kind of busy watching the game.”

The age of the attendees to a “Singles Night” at the Wizards ranges from 18 to 81, although most seated in the special “Singles Night” section of the Verizon center look to be somewhere between 21-33. While the Dewars Lounge party isn’t attended by all 500 Singles Night ticket attendees (likely due to a high percentage of ticket holders who are interested more in the reduced ticket price than the actual mixing and mingling), it is certainly a fun night out. And ladies who have attended other “Singles” events, such as 32-year old Ellen can rejoice in the higher-than-usual male to female ration. “I have attended many different singles events put on by many different groups, and most of them have very few male attendees, if any. However tonight’s male to female ratio is definitely skewed in my favor , thank goodness.”

Tonight’s singles night was one of four held during the season, according to Matt Williams, spokesman with Washington Sports Entertainment. While the Professionals in the City’s Web site doesn’t indicate that there are any more scheduled any time soon, this is definitely a fun event, not to be missed the next time any On Tap reader has a chance.

For more information on future Singles Night events, check out the Professionals in the City Web site, www.prosinthecity.com.