Ushering Out?: Nathaniel and Britney

Published: September 22, 2011

Today the NBA will cancel preseason games. Most people don’t seem too upset about the loss of the exhibition games, except for what their demise may foreshadow.

The loss of these games, however, is concretely mostly irreplaceable income for many Arena workers. The lockout has already hit many team employees, not all of whom are paid well, but these are hourly workers making low wages.

Arenas will be hard pressed to book events on relatively short notice, so those workers will have to look to other sources of employment if they require that money. This could do even more damage to our NBA experiences.

Ushers are the class of workers I interact with the most. Maybe I’m lucky, but my ushers are top notch. Nathaniel is my usher in the Dome for Saints games. He’s been with us for years . . . he knows us all, knows my buds’ kids, high fives us each and every time something good happens, and was with us through the Vikings game, which basically makes him a third cousin who’s also a neighbor.

Britney is my usher in the Arena. She always has a smile and lets me through while she checks everyone else’s tickets.

As they are both tied to SMG, the loss of the income from the Arena events may lead the moving on of Saints ushers, vendors, ticket takers, etc. These folks are as a part of my New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Hornets experiences as the other fans I share laughs and smiles with, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that way.

What if this causes the departure of Arnold Young (Arnold the Usher, of Section 124 and the I’m In campaign and recently, I do believe, was shown on the Dome screens doing his thing during the dismantling of the Bears)? He’s a fixture . . . I’d hate to see him go.

At any rate, this sucks, but it sucks more for some.

Thank your ushers, vendors (they didn’t set the prices or make the rules), and other SMG folks next time you see them . . . and ask them to hang in there. They keep us full of good food and . . . hydrated . . . keep the aisles clear, and generally help people to enjoy the facility and events to the greatest possible extent. They are underappreciated (many Dome ticket-takers must leave once most of the doors close, for instance), underpaid, and now, sadly, underworked. Thanking won’t fix the last two, but sometimes a kind word can make a difference, at least for a moment. After all the great moments they help us have, they are due.