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The Harlem Globetrotters. You just smiled involuntarily, didn’t you? The mere mention of the Globetrotters conjures up nostalgia; childhood memories of watching one of the world’s most famous teams do things you’d never seen before on the basketball court, all while oohing and ahhing alongside your mom or dad with Sweet Georgia Brown playing in the background.

Last week I took my 3 sons to see the Globetrotters for the first time in Lowell, MA. As the boys and I told people about our plans or recapped our experience, we repeatedly encountered similar responses. Almost without fail, the person would tell us that they had gone to see the Globetrotters as a kid and loved it. I recounted for them my memories of seeing the Globetrotters as a kid in Rhode Island. My wife did the same from her childhood in Tennessee and our parents let them know that they too had seen the Globetrotters (back in the “olden days” as my kids call it) in Chicago, New York City and Cincinnati, respectively.

As I learned last week, Globetrotters games are still good, clean fun. However, rest assured that these are not your father’s (let alone grandfather’s) Globetrotters. We saw the team perform at one of the stops on their aptly named “Pushing the Limits” tour. While I recognized and delighted in seeing the trademark weave being performed by the team and the skits involving the refs and audience members, the high-flying acrobatics were on a level I couldn’t have imagined as a kid. Limits were most certainly being pushed.

We arrived early for the game to attend a “Magic Pass” pre-show event during which kids can learn tricks, meet the players, get autographs and take advantage of the opportunity to dribble and shoot on the game floor. I highly recommend this experience for kids seeing the Globetrotters for the first time. My boys were very excited to see the players up-close and get their autographs on the new Globetrotters balls I bought them (a seemingly unavoidable purchase most parents happily made at the event). All three kids got a chance to spin the ball on their finger. The also met “Globie” and a handful of Globetrotters players, all of whom signed their balls and posed for pictures.

When the pre-game festivities ended, we got some food, found our seats and settled in for 90 minutes of quality entertainment. The kids were awed by the athleticism and tickled by the theatrics. As for me, there were enough familiar themes from the Globetrotters of old to tap into my childhood nostalgia with plenty of new elements and dazzling dunks to keep me engaged. Most of all, I loved seeing the game through my kids’ eyes for the first time.

The boys and I had a blast and I chuckled to myself witnessing the reactions to them telling coaches and teachers about the game when vacation ended. “The Globetrotters? That’s awesome! I saw them when I was a kid too. What kinds of tricks did they do?’

For those of you that are fellow Boston-area parents, you have two upcoming opportunities to see the team play locally. Here are the details:

Sat. March 21 at 2 pm & 7 pm
SNHU Arena, Manchester, NH

Sun. March 22 at 2 pm
DCU Center, Worcester, MA

Do you have a Globetrotters memory either from parenthood or childhood? Please share it with me below in the comments or on Twitter, where I’m @DadLifeStories. Thanks for reading!