• Ted Reyes

Staycation 2019: Kicking It Off With A Lottery Win

Saturday, 8/3: It was the show that made history and changed our vacation plans.


Last week, we planned for this week to be a road trip to the American Heartland. Similar to when we did our American BBQ road-trip that took s from Baltimore to Savannah, this trip was a music and fried chicken pilgrimage with Nashville being the final stop. It was all set.


Then Hamilton happened.


Since the show started, Sheryl had been entering the lottery for this show and always came up short until Friday, 8/2 when she received and email that said: “You Are A Winner!”


And just like that, Staycation 2019 began. It was an easy decision. I mean, it’s Hamilton! It’s the genre-bending, historic musical that changed Broadway! It is impossible enough to get regular-priced tickets for that show. But to get 2 front-and-center seats for $10 each? You do not think twice about an opportunity like that that so we bid adios to Hot Chicken.


Sheryl also told me that winning the Hamilton lottery is so hard that according to some statisticians, it is more probable for one to be born with 11 fingers than winning the Hamilton lottery. Imagine that.


What really astounds me though is how lucky Sheryl is with all these raffles and lotteries. She beats all odds and always wins. Don't believe me? Check this out!


• The 1998 NBA All Star Weekend at Madison Square Garden: Michael Jordan faced off with a young Kobe Bryant


Photo taken by Sheryl Reyes on Feb 8 at the 1998 NBA All Star Game at Madison Square Garden. Michael Jordan trails behind as Kobe Bryant pushes the ball for a fast break.

As a young student, Sheryl won this all-expenses paid trip to NYC to witness history. Here’s how it happened. A local TV channel that aired NBA games had a trivia contest that gave out the grand price of a trip for 2 to the 1998 NBA All Star Weekend.


Sheryl had ZERO interest in basketball. My friend Richard and I were obsessed though.

She could only vaguely identify NBA teams and could muster to name a few players. Of course, she knew Michael Jordan, but she thought he played for the Chicago Bucks! THE CHICAGO BUCKS!


The great Scottie Pippen's jersey and sneakers hung on display at Madison Square Garden during the 1998 NBA All Stars Weekend. Photo by Sheryl Reyes


Anyway, my friend Richard heard about the contest and asked us to join for more chances. He also supplied us with the answer to the trivia question: The Cleveland Cavs plays in what arena (in 1998)? Answer: Gund Arena.


So we mailed our entries. Sheryl got the call out of thousands of entries. Super fans Richard and I did not. So she flew to New York with her little brother, who idolized Kobe Bryant. It was mind-blowing.


But here’s the kicker: Sheryl was so disinterested in the NBA that in the middle of the historic game, she decided to leave Madison Square Garden and go to Chinatown for a bowl of beef noodles. Yes, she chose noodles over the G.O.A.T in his prime against the young heir to the throne. She preferred soup over Jordan’s last meaningful All Star game as a member of the Chicago Bulls (not Bucks). She chose lo mein over history.


The winner!

It would have been ok if she didn’t tell us about it. We would have been super happy for her if she said she witnessed Air Jordan posting up on Kobe live at MSG. But nope! That was not how she rolled. She called us from Chinatown and served the news to us very cold:


"It got too loud in the arena and got hungry so I took the R train to Canal."


I am still trying to get my head around it 21 years after.


Anyhow, other notable lottery wins:


• The Book of Mormon

• Wicked

• Harry Potter & The Cursed Child

• Matilda


Yes, all hard to get, premium/expensive tickets all for less than $35 for front-center seats. She just wins you know.


Meanwhile, I always lose any form of lottery or any game of chance. Once there was an office raffle for a ticket to a Paramount movie screening. I joined along with another employee. It turned out that only the two of us participated. I didn’t get it.


Anyway, Hamilton was amazing. It’s now my number one musical of all time. For a history buff and hip-hop/R&B fan like me, the show is at the summit of anything achievable in art. Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius.

The Hamilton stage

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