Monday, July 4, 2016


Indy Pop Con 2016 took place at the Indiana Convention Center from Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 19. It was my second appearance at that wonderful melting pot of a convention, a delicious buffet of pop culture. Comics, cosplay, gaming, anime, movies and TV, art and music, fantasy and science fiction, and even the Internet in all of its geeky splendor. The show had a large and varied guest list with an events schedule and vendors area to match.

My son Eddie came with me on this trip. We wanted to leave Medina as early as possible, but Ed had to put in some time at work - He’s a projects manager for an engineering company - before we could hit the road. I had our car loaded and ready to go, but we weren’t able to leave Medina until around 2 pm on Thursday afternoon.

The drive from Medina to Indianapolis is approximately four-and-a-half hours. With occasional heavy traffic and inclement weather, we never expected to reach the convention center in time to bring my show stuff to my table. Our goal was to reach our hotel in time to check in, find a good bar/restaurant and settle in to watch Game 6 of the NBA finals. Our Cleveland Cavaliers were playing the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were ahead in the series 3-2, so this was a must-win game for our team.

Despite my interest in the Cavaliers, the Ohio State University football team and, occasionally, baseball’s Cleveland Indians, I’m not a huge sports fan. Likewise, I’m not a huge fan of a great deal of current music, movies and other entertainments. I don’t hang out at bars, casinos, churches, malls, etc. I don’t camp, fish, hunt or shoot. But...

I know something about all of the above. I know enough to steer me in the right research direction if my stories require I know more than I already know. I read two newspapers a day, The New Yorker, and several news/opinion/entertainment sites. I don’t have the kind of memory that remembers everything I experience or read. I have a basic retention that serves me well enough to get me started when I am researching or writing a story.

There are comics fans and professionals who eschew sports and other general popular entertainments in favor of a steady diet of fantasy and nothing but. I can understand that. The real world can be a difficult place. It can often be a horrible place. Regardless, it’s where we live. To me, knowing about and experiencing it makes our art better. This has been one of two long-winded digressions I’ll be inflicting on you in today’s bloggy thing.

The convention had booked me into The Omni Severin on West Jackson. When I called asking for a room with two beds, the hotel was quick to accommodate my request. The hotel chain describes the Omni as a four-star hotel, which is a wee bit of an exaggeration, but nothing to be concerned about. It’s a very nice older building with a good bar and a nice restaurant. Our room might have been just a touch on the small size, but it was clean and comfortable. I’d stay at this hotel again.

The biggest plus of the hotel is how central it is to many things. It was a block away from the Indiana Convention Center. There are dozens of good restaurants within walking distance, as well as the spiffy Circle Centre Mall, Lucas Oil Stadium, and other emporiums of sport. If you’ve no need to travel during your stay, you could leave your car in the parking lot and stroll almost any place that you wanted to go.

The biggest minus of the hotel. No parking lot and a charge of $38 per day for the valet parking. After we unloaded our luggage, Eddie  drove two blocks to another lot that charged $22 per day.

While Eddie was moving the car, I checked in and a bellman brought our luggage to our room. Nice older guy, probably just a few years younger than me. He asked where we were from and, when I told him Medina, Ohio, he said he know the place well. I figured he was just blowing smoke up my ass. However, in his previous jobs, he would travel to our neck of the woods. He really did know Medina.

Eddie and I walked to the Rock Bottom Brewery on West Washington to eat and watch the sixth game of the NBA finals. On previous visits to Indianapolis for Ohio State football games, Eddie and his pals had hung out at this bar/restaurant and liked it a lot. His choice was right on the money. Excellent freshly-made food and a variety of terrific beers from the working brewery.

The game? With the Cavaliers beating the Warriors 115-101, it was a fun and exciting game to watch. The best moment for me was seeing Steph Curry foul his way out of the game. Just like the Cleveland fans watching the game at the home court, the other Cavaliers fans in the Brewery started singing “Na na na na na na...hey hey hey...goodbye” as Curry threw his little hissy fit and mouthpiece before heading to the locker room.

Curry is a tremendous athlete, one of the best basketball players of our time. But he is not yet one of the best basketball players of all time. I find his smirk off-putting. That said, he’s a wonder on the court and, by all accounts, a good man. However, even though Curry had a great game, he couldn’t control his emotions whenever calls didn’t go his way. I’d like to think he will learn from this season’s defeat, that he will gain some maturity and that he will someday be recognized as one of the best players of all time. Maybe not at a LeBron James “one of the best players of all time” level,  but high up there.

After the game and back at our hotel, we watched a press conference with Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who paid around $25,000 to talk nonsense. Kerr was complaining about the fouls called on Curry. I can relate to that. Officials can and do make bad calls in every sport known to man. It’s the bad luck of the draw if it’s your team that gets hit with those bad calls. I might not and don’t agree with Kerr’s assessment of those foul calls, but I can certainly understand his frustration at those calls. However...

Kerr lost me completely when he claimed officials shouldn’t call fouls on the league’s most valuable player. Excuse me?

Curry is, as noted above, one of the best basketball players of our time. He is highly athletic and skilled. Why should he, in addition to his tremendous talents, get a free pass from the officials when he commits fouls? An outstanding player shouldn’t need to have the deck stacked in his favor.

Eddie disagrees with me on this. He believes you should not remove star players from the floor because those are the players the fans have come to see. But if star players are given those calls simply because they are star players then we might as well start putting asterisks next to every accomplishment, every game, every record. In sports as in life, a level playing field is essential to basic fairness. That was the second digression I warned you about.

Those of you whose eyes glazed over when you realized I was writing about sports today can relax. Tomorrow’s bloggy thing will be all about the convention. See you then.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. I remember back in the 80's and 90's where Jordan, it seemed to me, got the benefit of some calls. I agree with you Tony, a fouls a foul no matter who commits it.

    Dan Lorenzen