Spurs and Fiesta. Fiesta and Spurs. Can any pair of symbols better represent and unite the San Antonio spirit? Friday night the two converged and Fiesta-going Spurs fans filled dozens of watering holes to watch the Spurs’ 100-73 Game 3 victory over the Clippers that put them up 2-1 in their first round series.
Despite the all but certain forecast of thunderstorms around game time, The Friendly Spot in Southtown filled up long before the Spurs tipped off at 8:30 p.m. Some fans, like attorney and “Mayor of Southtown” Mike Casey, watched with interest the waning minutes of the Mavericks-Rockets Game 3, trying to size up the Spurs’ potential quarterfinals opponents.
As the Spurs game got underway, so did the rain. Some patrons left; others tiptoed around the puddles and moved to the covered back patio. One such patron was Councilmember Alan Warrick II (D2), who was dressed in his Fiesta finest and lounged on the patio, cigar in hand, taking in the game and chatting with strangers.
Wearing impressive threads of their own, Ray Reyes and Olivia Rodriguez watched the game from the back patio bar in custom-made, LED Spurs T-shirts that were the envy of fellow fans.
Tension during the game peaked in the second quarter, when the game was still up for grabs. Kawhi Leonard’s alley-oop dunk, followed by his equally impressive acrobatic layup, brought roars of approval from the crowd. On the night he received his Defensive Player of the Year trophy, Leonard scored a career playoff-high 32 points—proving himself to be among the game’s best two-way players.
By halftime the rain had stopped and the front patio area was full of fresh faces, many wearing the floral crowns of Fiesta. Isabel Retiz sat with Michigan native Frank Wrivez, who in the span of his 10-day visit to San Antonio had been converted by Retiz into a card-carrying Spurs fan.
There was plenty of time to enjoy the company of family and new friends in the second half as the Clippers shot themselves out of this game with a miserable 34.1 field goal percentage. The Spurs double-digit lead went unbroken for the final 22 minutes of the game.
The Friendly Spot offers a true sample of the surrounding neighborhoods and has a vibe that breaks us all down to our common denominators: we’re all human, and we’re all Spurs fans. Family friendly and pet friendly, there’s rarely a shortage of either category to be found.
As the game’s final minute wound down, three kids in the playground of near the bar started a cheer punctuated with claps. “Here we go Spurs, here we go.” When the game ended, the adults began a chant of their own.
While the tension and catharsis in games like Wednesday’s Game 2 overtime thriller are ultimately what being a sports fan is all about, sometimes it’s best to just take the gift-wrapped 30-point win and enjoy it among friends. Let your nerves live another day.