Tales from the Block: Fan Zone Auditions

Quick, you’ve got 20 seconds to impress Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson to convince them you deserve Pacers season tickets. What do you do? How about trying your hand at poetry? Singing and dancing? Maybe paint your chest, use a dog as a prop, make a fool or yourself or just plain GET LOUD?!

That’s what most fans did this past Monday night when the final round of tryouts for the Turner’s Block charged by Dew and Born Ready Crew Fan Zones for this upcoming Pacers season took place at the Madame Walker Theater in downtown Indianapolis. MC’d by Pat Boylan of Sideline Guys and the Pacers Radio broadcast complete with his Bob Barker microphone.

Like in years past, the Pacers will have two fan zones again this season to follow in the tradition started by Roy Hibbert with Area 55 and continued with the G2 Zone, and Rodney Stuckey’s Crew.

This season your humble iPacers writer and TheCorner3Show host decided to try his hand at a fan zone. The last time I tried out was in 2012 for the G2 zone (Paul George and George Hill). But that was while I still lived in Fort Wayne.

My friend and I made it to the final round (everyone auditioned as a pair that year). We didn’t have a skit or an act, just a speech as to why we deserved the tickets.

We dressed in suits with sunglasses, Men in Black style, with Mad Ants jerseys underneath. Oh ya, we looked cool. While we were willing to make that dedication to drive down for each home game from Fort Wayne… they didn’t see it that way. Sadly, we were not awarded the tickets. Understandable but disappointing.

The team behind us played mock dodgeball. Literally smashing each other in the face and won ‘Golden Tickets’ (automatic win) in the process. Just goes to show what kind of energy level, commitment, and random creativity you have to bring to win these competitions.

Since then, Paul and George have been traded away, an Eastern Conference Contender fell apart, I moved down to Indianapolis, started writing for iPacers, and along with Alex and Zach, began TheCorner3Show (YouTube/Podcast). This year was the perfect year to try to win season tickets again!

The signup process was pretty straightforward. Fill out your basic info (name, address, etc). Submit a picture/video showing why you deserve tickets and link to a social media site of your own that backs that up. That’s all. Then wait for about a week to see if you’ve made the final round of tryouts. Which I did. CELEBRATE!

Even though I’d never been to the Madame Walker Theater before, it wasn’t hard to tell that I was in the right place by the amount of Blue/Gold walking around outside.

Once inside you registered by last name and selected which Fan Zone you would want to be a part of and took a seat to wait for Myles and Lance to enter. The entries literally filled a whole wing of the lower auditorium floor.

The mix of fans at the tryouts was about 80% previous fan zone members. Most having already done this before and successfully be selected. Gulp.

One fan next to me asked if I have tried out before. He felt confident that even though it seemed like there were 150+ people there to tryout, he had a good shot at getting into a zone since there were two fan zones.

Another fan said he had a great chance as last year him and his buddies painted their chests for Lance Stephenson, sent him the pic and Lance retweeted them. They actually won automatic tickets to Lance’s Zone right when they got up.

Lance Stephenson Entrance :

Best fans ever Myles and Lance TurnUp day

A post shared by Lance Stephenson (@stephensonlance) on

When the players entered, the fans erupted. Chants already starting. A preview of how it will be this season in the Block/Crew. Each player said a little something to us all, how Indiana has the best fans in the league!

I was about the 10th to have my chance on stage after I heard they were going to go by row, I moved up as close as I could. I was definitely nervous in front of two ‘star’ players and their families, plus the entire audience, but for a chance at free tickets and to support my team, it was worth it!

So what did I do? A simple speech. I know, BORING. But I was wearing full Myles Turner Hickory Gear. Shorts, tall socks and Myles shirt complete with headband. I talked about how I had tried out before but have since moved down to Indianapolis and started writing for iPacers and TheCorner3Show. If I was selected, fans of each would get an inside look at what being part of a Fan Zone is like. Plus I promised to loose my voice after each game. 20 seconds really is a long time once you’re in it.

The other two members of TheCorner3Show were there to cheer me on. I felt like I saw Myles nodding while I talked. Either he’s fan of this site or listens to the Pod. Here’s hoping.

I wasn’t able to stay through all the tryouts but of the ones before me here were some of my favorites (hopefully you got to see them on the Pacers Instagram story). One fan was a Pacer ‘nerd’. Another dressed in 10+ Pacers Jerseys AT THE SAME TIME! Another had a partner (they both had made the final round) and ‘dunked’ on Myles Turner. The opening Poem was pretty creative too by Andrew Adams. There were many many elaborate costumes behind me and I wished I had time to see them all.

And I’ve got to say, no matter how good or bad each act was, Pacers fans gave each audition tons of encouragement and applause. Classy bunch.

So now it’s a waiting game…. if you didn’t win automatic tickets that night, you had to wait until Friday to find out if you made it. Four days of nervous wait time, just hoping to get that email…

Friday morning another email went out… keep waiting and keep your eye on social media. Great. More waiting. Just tell me already!

Then around 3pm Friday my phone blew up with texts.

I HAD MADE Turners Block!!!!! So excited. The first game they want us to attend is the 1st Preseason game October 10th to go over how the season will go.

Thanks for following along on my adventure. Please share in the comments or on Twitter your own story and if you tried out too.

Hopefully we have a lot of Crew and Block members reading iPacers. I hope to put up more stories from Turner’s block this season and give you the reader, a chance to feel like you’re there too. Go Pacers!

 

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