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Winner, winner! … Oh, it’s toothpaste? Umm… yay!

Winner, winner! … Oh, it’s toothpaste? Umm… yay!

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Guess what?! I won something at the Grizzlies’ game last week!

It was toothpaste.

I kid you not… It wasn’t even a large tube that lasts you half a year. It was a dentist sample size. I do not feel like a winner.

Furthermore, my entire section received this “prize,” as the result of what I can only call a race, for lack of a better word.

Three humans dressed in dental-hygiene-related mascot costumes stood at the baseline of the court while the Jumbotron displayed a prerecorded “race” at the Orpheum between Brushy, Flossy, and Pasty.

Yes, these are their real names, and exactly what they look like, in full mascot garb, including plush feet. As Brushy won, the human dressed as a toothbrush held up a piece of paper, on which was printed a section name.

That section was mine. A spotlight hit us. Our faces beamed from the Jumbotron. Then, a kid in yellow wearing a backpack full of sample- sized toothpaste tubes ran down the stairs, haphazardly tossing our prizes down the aisle.

Remember when you were a kid and that one house in your neighborhood always handed out toothpaste on Halloween?

Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly how I felt. Our smiles faded as this blatant marketing scheme landed in our hands. I mean, at least they could throw in a free coke, right?

The irony is not lost on me. Dentists call it job security.

But even a pack of sugar-free gum would beat toothpaste.

Grizzlies’ entertainment sure has gone downhill.

A few years ago, the Grizzlies organization received recognition as the most entertaining professional basketball venue.

This year, we get toothpaste.

Grizzlies: This is not entertaining.

While I’m at it, I’ll also just mention this–Kentucky Fried Chicken has a gimmick where they offer free food in exchange for your tickets the day following a game, provided the Grizz win and score 100 points or more.

Which free food depends on the spin of an animated bucket on the Jumbotron. Colonel Sanders first shows us our three options: two chicken tenders, three wings, or an 8-piece bucket.

Don’t even get me started on the Grizz Girls. They don’t dance so much as jerk around like they’re having a collective, choreographed seizure. Halfclothed. Or once, wearing Hammer-pants.

Seriously. Sometimes I wonder who’s making the fashion choices for those poor girls.

The time-out entertainment stinks now, too.

They used to have two men Sumo wrestle inside these giant, transparent, inflatable balls. Presumably, all that air would protect them as they bulleted toward one another.

Unfortunately, during the preseason last year, both contestants decided their heads would provide the most projectile momentum.

They collided, head-tohead, with zero air-bubble cushioning, and one contestant passed out cold. Right there in the middle of the court. We heard the announcer say, “Get him outta there,” as they dragged him off court, aroused but dizzy.

We never saw Inflatable Sumo again.

I guess Legal didn’t like it.

But one of the worst things the Grizzlies have done is brought in a companion mascot called Natch. Last year, Grizz discovered Natch’s allegiance to the opponents and destroyed him in hilarious and awe-inspiring WWE style.

Then they revived him in the playoffs. We were irked. But not irked enough to turn down playoff tickets.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the Grizzlies atmosphere enough to continue attending.

They have some decent halftime entertainment. Red Panda: A talented Asian lady controls a 20-foot-high unicycle while kicking melamine bowls onto her head.

Very impressive. At half-time, Grizz comes out and tries his hand at it.

Quick Change: A couple dances around for a few minutes while the woman’s outfit changes almost right before your eyes, from a ballroom gown to a sassy salsa outfit to a flapper dress. I’ve seen it twice and can’t figure it out.

Grizz also tries this one. I think he ends up naked.

Infie 500: Crawling babies racing to their mamas. How adorable is that? I love basketball, and I love babies.

If you can put those two things together for me, I swoon. Unfortunately, my husband texted me a picture of the Infie 500 this year from what would have been my seat if I had not relinquished it for father-son bonding time. Gosh, I’m still sad I missed it.

Dog Show: Rescue dogs wearing shoes catching frisbees. ‘Nuff said.

I’m also a huge fan of free t-shirts. Sadly, the FedEx parachute drop almost killed me last month. As a t-shirt dropped from the catwalk, it breezed right by my head. I stood up to grab it and nearly toppled right down the row below me like a drunken fawn.

So I’m a Grizzlies fan.

But moreso, I’m a datenight fan.

If good basketball gets my husband into a seat beside me for a few hours, then I’ll suffer through hammer pants, corny skits, and dumb giveaways.

But I’m not chasing a t-shirt parachute ever again.

Dorothy Wilson lives in Marion with her husband Chris as they enjoy all the adventures (and toothpaste) life with their seven children brings.

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