The Stories That Matter

An update on Blazersedge Night. We've got about 1/4 of the 600 tickets we're looking to acquire for kids in need so far. The good news is that this is GREAT for the opening 10 days or so...faster than we've ever moved tickets before. The tough news is that because of the shortened season we have less time than we've ever had before to move these tickets. Requests keep pouring in and we've got less than a month now to fulfill them.

I'm going to give you the info on how you can help kids who otherwise would never see a Blazers game come as our guests--free of charge--on March 22nd to see the Blazers play the Memphis Grizzlies. It's not hard. It's not even expensive! Every ticket sold is one more child who gets to go. But in case you'd like to know what it means, consider this piece I printed before last year's event.

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If you've never been to one of these events, let me fill you in about what happens. I'm going to piece together various stories that have been personally relayed to me by the adults who get to take these kids into a typical composite. You take a classroom full of students growing up in a rough area. The kids have little. They're down much of the time. Some are bright and brilliant and interact well with their teachers. Others hardly speak a word all year. The teacher struggles to reach all of them but she gets blocked off because what can she really do that speaks louder than the conditions these kids are experiencing every day? They're hard for a reason and that shell can't be broken down in the classroom alone. Then the teacher or her principal or a counselor hears about Blazersedge Night. And they write us and ask if somehow we can get 23 tickets for this class, because they're all underprivileged. They're apologetic asking. They know 23 is a lot. But we do a little math. 23 is less than 500. So we say, "Sure." It's as easy as that. One "yes" in a world of "no" answers.

So the teacher announces to her class that yes, they're going. The class...goes...crazy. They could have never gone as individuals, let alone as a group. For those bright, bubbly ones already with the program this is one heck of a reward. That makes you smile. But what makes your jaw drop in awe is the reaction of the quiet ones. I have heard this from teacher after teacher after teacher. All of a sudden a kid who hasn't said two words all year starts talking about LaMarcus Aldridge and defensive schemes and the matchup with the opponent. Kids will sit there and debate which shooting guard is better, ours or theirs. The teacher is taken aback and starts studying up on the team and the game and engages her students who, far from being quiet, now won't hush up for a month prior to the Big Day.

But all of that pales in comparison to what happens that night. The kids get on a bus or on MAX or carpool in and (again heard first-hand from multiple chaperons) all of a sudden this change happens. These 14, 15, 17 year old people who have had to grow up way too fast and who perpetually carry a wall around them all of a sudden look young again. They look like kids again. There's a sparkle in their eyes and barely-contained excitement in their voice because they get to go to a Blazers game. It's all too ordinary for most of us. It may be the only ordinary thing ever for many of them. I have literally heard teachers in tears because they never thought they'd get to see their kids be real, actual kids. I've heard about the awe and the wonder in their eyes as they walk up to the real, live Rose Garden. It's almost always described as a hush. On the way to the arena everybody is giddy and loud. But when they pass through the doorways and turnstiles the kids get silent. When they see all the seats and the court and the scoreboard, in that instant it's just too much. They aren't thunderstruck, they're Blazer-struck. Being kids, that precious moment wears off in about two minutes. Then it just gets LOUD. I have sat among all these kids and I know this: there is NO better cheering section in the universe. They are just out...of...their...minds for about two hours. There are smiles. There are signs. There's dancing. There are hundreds of kids wildly trying to get the attention of the camera, trying to catch t-shirts or free pizza, and going absolutely bonkers crazy every time something good happens for the Blazers. There's not a cynical gaze in view. Everything is pure, unadulterated cheering. And when the game gets close or exciting it takes you back to when you were first a Blazers fan before the hundreds of games and dozens of changing lineups, before all of the analysis and nitpicking, when there was just joy.

It's unbelievable what this does for those kids and for the people who get to take them...all of the teachers and social workers and parents and helpers. (Yes, we provide tickets for chaperons too. They work hard!) And we get to do all of this without asking a thing from them, without advertising or making them pay or getting them to do one, single thing except want to go.

We get to do that because of you. We get to do that because you respond. Not to sound like a PBS drive, but it's once a year and it's your chance to help create a new generation of Blazer fans. It's your chance to give someone a memory they'll never forget.

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If you want to buy tickets directly you can simply go to:

http://tickets.trailblazers.com/deals

Then type in the password: Blazersedge

The Blazers have set up this site so you can order directly. Tickets are $14 each plus there's a $5 service charge for the entire order no matter how many tickets you buy. They accept all the usual online payment methods. Note that this only works for DONATED tickets. You cannot buy tickets for yourself this way. Also note that you need to click the WILL CALL option. That avoids all delivery confusion and fees. The tickets just stay with the Blazers and go to us.

If you want to give a non-standard amount (like $10 or $100) and/or want to avoid the service charge you may make a donation via PayPal to the account blazersedge22@yahoo.com We'll compile the funds donated via PayPal into one lump sum and purchase tickets accordingly.

If you're having difficulty with one of the above methods or if you wish to purchase tickets for yourself to attend this event in our sections you can always call Lisa Swan at 503-963-3966. She will help you out.

We're sending more kids than ever this year and we have a shorter time in which to do it. The tickets are much cheaper than in the past, though! Please help us make this happen.

--Dave (blazersub@gmail.com)

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