MINNEAPOLIS – Cody Metz looks like any other 16-year-old Timberwolves fan. Sitting courtside while the team warmed up Tuesday for its game against the Hawks at the Target Center, Metz had the requisite jersey and awestruck smile. He was this close to Ricky Rubio, to Derrick Williams. He could have been hit by an errant basketball, for that matter.
Of course he was a little overwhelmed, a little nervous, a lot excited. But Cody Metz isn’t just any other Timberwolves fan. He isn’t going to retreat up into a lower bowl seat and watch the game and head home, like any other Tuesday night.
Cody Metz is at the game through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He’s suffered from health problems for his entire life, and in 2007 he had surgery to remove a tumor at the base of his spine, near his brain. He suffers from pilocytic astrocytoma, which affects about 2 in 100,000 people. Five years later, he still deals with severe headaches and nausea.
Metz, who lives in Lakeville and attends Lakeville South High School, has been a Timberwolves fan for a long time, even through the disappointing seasons when the team failed to win even 20 games. He watches every game, he said, and he tries to attend as many games as possible. Earlier this year, he met Kevin Love at one of his basketball camps, and a month ago, he had his second interaction with the star power forward.
Love recorded a video personally inviting Metz to Tuesday’s Timberwolves game and then to fly on the team plane to Oklahoma City to watch Wednesday’s game as well. A Make-A-Wish employee brought the video to Metz, and he was thrilled. He is most excited to ride on the team plane and attend Tuesday’s game in a suite, he said, but the chance to see one of the Western Conference’s best teams in Oklahoma City did not disappoint.
His parents, Rob and Carol Metz, will accompany him on the trip, and he doesn’t yet know where he’ll sit in Oklahoma City. He doesn’t necessarily have favorite players, he said, but “obviously Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are exciting players to watch,” he acknowledged.
Love will visit with Metz in his suite during Tuesday’s game, although he won’t make the trip to Oklahoma City, instead traveling to New York for a doctor’s appointment to consult about his broken right hand. But that didn’t seem to bother Metz, and he seemed more concerned about the team’s injury than any missed chance on his part to spend one-on-one time with Love.
Metz, a guard during his basketball-playing days, said he hasn’t come up with the questions he wants to ask the players yet. He was just soaking it in, a bit too wide-eyed for planning.
“I’m a little nervous,” Metz said. “I met Kevin Love at one of his camps earlier this year, so, yeah, I’m a little nervous. But more excited, I’d say.”