Fans stepped onto the field with the essentials of a relaxing outdoor evening. Some brought lawn chairs, others blankets. Many had their favorite beverage in one hand and a hot dog or hamburger in the other. The weather was in the lower 90s, slightly uncomfortable, but the temperature would quickly drop to a comfortable setting.
It was a perfect night for a movie at the park. The featured stars? Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Miami’s LeBron James.
More than 1,000 Enid residents gathered at David Allen Memorial Ballpark to watch Game 3 of the NBA Finals between Oklahoma City and Miami. Most sat in the outfield grass in front of the centerfield jumbotron showing the game. Others sat in the stadium seats down the first and third base foul lines. Two women even sat in the visiting team dugout.
“It’s exciting there is something we can do for families or friends and just sit and watch the game on the big screen and support our state and our town,” Enid resident Lacasa Taylor said.
Taylor sat with Dustin Allen near the front of the first line of fans, which lined up about 30 yards away from the screen.
“(We) wanted to take advantage of this ballpark,” Allen said. “It’s nice to use it for stuff like this too.”
The crowd was large enough to bring the official Thunder merchandise retail hauler to the ballpark. Aaron Blum, the general manager of merchandise, said the sales Sunday night in Enid were the best of the trailer’s four stops outside of Oklahoma City.
The night offered a good cause as well. For $5, fans could get a hamburger or hot dog meal. The money supported Enid Police Department, Enid Fire Department and Enid’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees members.
Most of the crowd wore Thunder T-shirts, but Juan and Jenny Alfonso dressed out of the norm. The couple moved to Enid from Miami nine months ago. They had no ill feelings toward the Thunder, but stayed loyal to their hometown team wearing Heat T-shirts and red hats.
“It’s actually surprising. The one year we come here it is Oklahoma City against Miami,” Jenny Alfonso said. “It’s been especially hard at work, but it can be fun at the same time.”
“We knew we were going to be the only ones here,” Juan Alfonso added. “We are in the middle of Enid. How many Heat fans can be here?”
The fans gradually applauded each Thunder basket during the first three quarters. The cheers started to get loud after Durant threw down an alley-oop with eight minutes left in the game. When Russell Westbrook’s layup got OKC back within one with less than a minute left, the roar was thunderous.
However, the Heat would leave the crowd, with the exception of the Alfonsos, disappointed, for it pulled away for a 91-85 win.
Despite the heartbreaking loss for Connor Angleton, 15, and other Thunder fans, Angleton said he would love to have the opportunity to come back and watch Game 6 next Sunday with his parents, siblings and friends.
“It’s a really good environment,” Angleton said. “I’m pretty excited I could come here and there are a lot of people watching the game.”