The Blazers And...

We've had quite the variety of posts so far this off-season.  A quick scan through the archives will show you tons of draft, Summer League, salary cap, free agent, and trade posts plus multiple looks at Blazer players, plenty of chat about management, and lots of gooey frosting covering the state of the roster, Portland's immediate and long-range goals, and plenty of fan opinion on Blazers past, present, and future.  We've seen contests in the sidebar, throwdowns in the comment section, depression over Turkoglu, elation over Miller, and confusion over the Roy and Aldridge contract situation.  We've heard tons of rumors, celebrated great mainstream media columns penned nationally and locally, lamented foolish ones from both sources, and seen guest appearances by statisticians, salary gurus, Blazer officials, and some of you as well.

I don't know about you, but after all that I'm pretty stuffed.  So we're going to take a one-day-only break (sort of) from Blazer talk.  (I do have at least one Blazer observation below.)  We're all passionate about the Blazers or we wouldn't be here.  This post is titled "The Blazers And..." because I'd like to hear about the other passions in your life that approach the level of Blazer fandom for you.  In effect each comment could start with the line "I'm passionate about the Blazers and..." and you fill in the blanks from there.  Anything is fair game as long as its content is site-appropriate.  Write at length or just make a list, whichever you choose.

I'll share a couple things from my life that probably approach the level of my devotion to the Blazers.  The first and most obvious one has to be Baby Point Guard, who has rapidly developed into Toddler Point Guard.  He's 20 months old now.  That's right...if you remember the post announcing his entrance into this world you've been reading here for almost two years now.  (To some that still makes you a new-timer!)  There aren't many calls I feel much deeper than the one you see me pursue right now but I honestly consider every moment I get to spend with the little guy a miracle.  Oh, you don't see many big moments...at least not moments that would seem big to anybody but a dad.  It just things like the other evening when I was taking him for a ride in a little plastic car with a long handle that he sits in and I push.  We live in a small town and pretty much walk right down the side of the street.  He doesn't know a ton of words yet but every time we'd get to an intersection he'd say, "Dad!  Dad!" and point the way he wanted to go.  We went on the longest walk--about 40 minutes--with him sitting there steering the whole time.  People would walk next to us for a while and talk and he just thought that was dandy.  I remember thinking as we got home that he wasn't going to fit in that little car much longer and that all too soon I'd be tossing him keys to my real car and praying that he'd be careful at those same intersections.

He also provides his share of hilarity.  He loves to vacuum the carpet with the real vacuum, which is about three times his size.  He'll get behind it, ask you to push the release lever on the handle, and then manhandle that thing all around the living room, holding on over his head.  He turns it on and off too.  Or the other night he wanted marshmallows for a snack before bed.  This is another one of his small cadre of vocabulary words, except he calls them "mi-mi's".  So he calls me in the kitchen and says, "Dad!  Mi-mi!  Mi-mi!"  I wasn't thrilled about the sugary end to his day so I shrugged my shoulders and said, "I don't know where they are!" knowing that his mother had hidden them in a special drawer instead of his usual snack cupboard for just this reason.  He looked at me, walked over to the secret drawer (which is above his eye level but not his reach), pulled it open, pointed to the corner where the bag was, and said, "Mi-mi.  Peese?"  He got his marshmallow.  "Please" is one of his recent words and I wanted to reinforce its use, after all.  Yeah, that was it.

I suppose the other thing I continue to be passionate about is work with the kids and youth in town.  Once upon a time we started with a few young guys and a couple board games.  They'd come over and play games with pastor, chat, and generally hang out.  A couple years later this has ballooned to a whole bookshelf full of games (plus an extensive DVD collection...we're working our way through classic Star Trek episodes and movies now), a raft of kids, and more afternoons and evenings than I care to count.  Somehow it's always a delight to get a call or have somebody show up at the door to hang.  These generations are growing up in such marvelous ways but they're also missing some things I took for granted when I was a kid:  relaxation time, attention from somebody, the chance to use your imagination and explore and talk and reflect without being guided towards a certain goal or achievement.  It makes me feel good that there's a little corner of the world where those things are preserved I guess.

Whoa.  That was more than I intended to type.  But I suppose that's the point of the post.  You've shared your Blazer love.  Clue us in on your other great devotions.  They don't have to be deep.  If you love water skiing or collecting Hello Kitty paraphernalia, go for it!  Let us know who's out there and what you do.  It'll be a refreshing read for all of us before we get back to Blazer business tomorrow.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

P.S.  Oops!  Forgot the Blazer-related point.  I think I've said this before but it's come to mind again.  Reflecting on spending time with my son and how precious that is (in every sense of the word) made me think about all of these Blazers who have children of their own and all of the time they have to spend away from them.  I think if I saw Brandon Roy out in public alone I'd feel fine about saying, "Hey, Brandon!" and thanking him for what he does.  But if I saw Roy out with his kids, you know what?  I'd leave them alone no matter how much I wanted an autograph and even if I felt this was my only chance to see him ever.  Those kids don't get a lot of those moments even compared to my own son, and I'm a pretty busy guy.  I believe it's possible (and necessary) to be successful at work and parenting both, but there needs to be some boundary between the two.  It must be awfully hard for NBA guys to keep that boundary strong.  We'd probably all help by assisting in that effort if presented the chance.  And if a player was short with me or had no time for me I think I'd take that in stride as long as I knew he was using some of his time and energy with his family and not treating them that way too.  We get what we need by watching him on the basketball court.  They need so much more.  And part of these players' success in life is learning how to give that to the ones they love.  Here's hoping they're as good with that as they are with a basketball.

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