my ancestors came to oregon in the late 1860's to work at the now defunct nickel mine near riddle. to my knowledge, they didn't blog or play basketball. they did manage to spread themselves across western oregon, however, especially the willamette valley. skipping forward a century, i was unceremoniously hatched in ellensburg, washington, home of a real nice slaughterhouse. as i've previously shared on BE, my first clear memories of the blazers were around the drafting of bill walton, who i initially assumed was one of the waltons of early 70's television. i grew up mostly in rural sw washington, spending more time fighting and vandalizing than hooping. especially vandalizing. if any of you lived between camas and vancouver and discovered your mailbox/car/truck/house damaged or destroyed between about '77 and '86, it was probably me, and i apologize. for what it's worth, i cut that out decades ago. i became a real nba fan around '82, and soon after, my folks bought blazer season tickets. they bought two tickets for a family of four. with me being low man on the totem pole, i attended "only" a couple of games each year, usually against the least competitive teams. however, i became a blazer devotee, with clyde as my prophet. the clyde era was fabulous to experience. despite being a wrestler, and thus likely to suck at hoops, i began playing regularly with my actual baller friends. by the time i left for college, pickup basketball had become a great passion for me. like many, i tuned the blazers out somewhat during the jail blazer era. during that time, i was randomly attacked on the court under the jefferson street bridge in eugene, suffering a punctured eardrum. i shifted my play to the noon games in esslinger gym at u of o. they were great games, with an assortment of undergrads, grad students, a few professors, and a few random guys from around town (like me). life took me down to southern oregon in the late 90's, where i have found my true home. it's far from portland, but i get up there for a couple of blazer games a year. my wife and kids have become solid blazer fans. i built a nice half court on our property, and host a sunday afternoon game with my friends. while working on my land several years ago, i blew it and cut through 90% of my arm with my chainsaw, just below my left elbow. surprisingly, i survived, and a miracle working surgeon at ohsu reattached my arm. i've recovered significant use of it, and can even drive left on occasion (there's hope for armon yet!). i don't type with my left hand much, thus my sparing use of capitalization. we have no television, so i am very appreciative of league pass broadband. truehoop and blazersedge are my primary sources of basketball information. with work and family, i'm busy enough to weather the lockout just fine. but i'll be thrilled to join some of you at the rose garden for a game or two the next time we have a season. big thanks to dave and ben and everyone here. time for sleep.
addendum: i was too sleepy last night to continue, but there is one inspirational moment that i would like to share. when i was initially healing my arm after my near amputation, i was not playing basketball, or doing much of anything physically, other than rehabilitation exercises and yoga. i was feeling much sadness, and anger towards myself for foolishly damaging my body so severely. i wished very deeply that i could hoop and do the other things that i used to do. then i read a local newspaper article about a junior high boy, in eagle point or thereabouts. i haven't read of him since, so this information is my best recollection. he was born without one foot and one hand, and the hand and foot that he had were missing digits. and he was the starting point guard on his 8th grade basketball team. there was an accompanying photo of him dribbling during a game, using some prosthetics. after i saw the article, i had a good cry. then i joined the local pickup game that evening at the elementary school. though i kept my arm out of contact as much as possible, i did double up in pain a few times after bumping someone. the surgeries to reconstruct my arm had used various tissues removed from my abdomen, shin, calf, and thigh, so i had much healing to do. however, the pain that night was almost enjoyable, because i felt like i was beginning to live again. the lessons that boy helped show me were about perspective, courage, and hope. if you know him, please thank him for me.