I try to bring my son up to a Boston College game each year, usually around the holidays when we each have a little more free time. After the Thanksgiving rush on Thursday, I took a look at the college basketball scene in the area. Boston College football was away, along with the basketball team. I checked into Harvard. They were away. The PC Friars were away.

Finally, I thought of Brown University basketball. As luck would have it, not only were they in town, but they were playing Navy. I checked online to see if I could get seats and I couldn't believe my eyes. I was able to get front row seats for only $12 each.

My son and I took a 40-minute ride to Brown, parked for free on a side street, and walked into the small Pizzitola Arena. Seating roughly 2,800, the arena isn't much bigger than a large high school gym.

We were so close to both benches and the court that we could overhear the coaches sketching out the plays and trying to pump up their teams during timeouts.

One of my favorite parts of the experience was overhearing the referee repeatedly warn Brown head coach Mike Martin to keep cool.

"You need to stop. Right or wrong, you need to stop right now," calmly warned the referee.  It's the kind of thing you see on TV, but never know what the ref is saying.

I also got to a first-hand look at a replay review by the official who was five feet in front of me.  It was a lot of fun.

Watching the Brown vs. Navy game was unique because it was competitive college basketball in an intimate setting. It was almost like watching a moderately popular band in a small venue like the Zeiterion Theater.

Hot dogs and popcorn were a reasonable $3 each.

Brown University basketball is an incredible value. It's family fun just a short ride away. The team's next home game is Wednesday night against Merrimack.

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