Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spirit on the loose!

The Atlanta Hawks’ real-life mascot got a little flying time during the playoffs.

Spirit, an actual hawk that flies down from the rafters during the pre-game introductions, decided to hang around for the start of Game 2 against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

The bird was perched atop the scoreboard at tipoff, refusing to go to his handler. Then he swooped around the arena while the game was going on, landing on a railing in the lower deck before he settled on the top of the basket at the Hawks end of the court. One of the refs tried to scare the Hawk by throwing the ball up against the backboard. Not a smart move! Some of the players realized this and stopped the ref from doing it again.

When the players spotted the bird, they refused to go on. The game was halted with 8:28 remaining in the first quarter until the handler finally arrived, luring Spirit to his arm and carrying him out of the arena to cheers from the crowd—and several players.

I was at the game and to tell you the truth, the fans were more interested in the bird than the game. It was pretty crazy to see, I really thought the bird was going to swoop down and fight a fan for a hotdog or something. Looking back on the way the Hawks played; Spirit was the most exciting part of the night. With the Hawks loss, the series is tied 1-1 now and is heading down to Miami for game three.

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