BEING A GOOD FAN 101
Rip City, as most of us would agree, has the league's best fans. The casual Blazers fan knows ball, talks ball, and knows when to cheer, boo, or recognize special efforts with a name chant. Of course we all know you can't apply generalizations to a fan base. But around here there has always been a special atmosphere created, and perpetuated, by the fans and the players and the relationship between them. But the fans are a naturally greedy mob and the players are humans straddled with unreal expectations. Some of those expectations are only perceived in the mind of the fan:
"I just saw Gerald Wallace! He is like a public servant! He must acknowledge my presence, take a picture with me, sign something, record my voicemail message, and call my Mom."
Yes players, these things pop up in our head in our excitement. This meeting already has unreal joy for one of us, and absurd tedium meeting strangers is in store for you. When you see Crash on the court, he is a player. Never forget when you see him around town, he's just a person. What might he be thinking?
"Awww man! Look at the way that kid's looking at me. I should have stayed home. Hes shaking, this is gonna be weird. I wonder what he wants. I just want to ___________."
Now as silly as this imaginary scenario seems, NOBODY can be perfect all the time for their fans. These guys are NOT public servants. But since the JailBlazers era ended, we have had a lot of truely good guys here. They often times hold charity events with meet and greets. They don't have to do these things. They want to do these things. I have had a few experiences that bothered me with other fans at these things, and I got to get this off of my chest. Lets rewind to a year ago, Patty Mills is raising money for the crisis in his homeland by holding one such meet and greet at the Clackamas Town Center. Two other Blazers mentioned that they might come out to support Patty's efforts. Of the two, only Marcus Camby had made it out. By the time I got far enough in line to make the required purchase for charity, Marcus Camby had been there for about half an hour. I was stoked to meet Marcus and have him sign a jersey for me. I had seen him training his personal shopper on what to get for him when he first got here. I walked by him and managed "Hey Marcus, we love having you here." He acknowledged me with a "thanks man", and I walked away realizing I had interrupted his day. So I felt like I earned my signed Camby jersey having been patient before. But in reality, had I? I am one of those fans that totally collects what he can, I love having that piece of something that connects me to a player I care for. I was literally at the register about to purchase my Mills and Camby jerseys (it was a sports store) and Marcus got up and said he had to leave. I asked the cashier to pull the jersey from my sale (sorry Marcus, I'm broke) and just appreciated meeting Patty, although I was admittedly disappointed.
The point is, we don't need to start bad mouthing players who aren't playing, because they are just people. "Oh my God, he's leaving! That's so disrespectful! He said he was going to be here!" The people behind me were pissed, and wanted to complain about it to anybody that would listen. Why? It wasn't Marcus' event. It wasn't officially advertised that he would be there. Also, I wondered if anyone else noticed that he had his young daughter with him, and that she had no one else watching her and was just sitting there as Marcus signed for fans. She was visibly bored and I think he stuck it out as long as he could, so I stowed my disappointment. The player was taking care of their family, almost like we do! Dude gave his own time (away from the rest of his family) to us expecting nothing back, and all he gets is bad mouthed when he leaves. That's not cool Portland.
I should have written this back then, but I didn't. This happened again the other day as the terrible human being know as Wesley Matthews did something to upset one guy. Wes was obviously proud of the coat drive events he has been doing with Fred Meyer's. He has been posting about it on twitter for a while now. Mixed in those twitter comments is a disgruntled (name withheld for the sake of the poor dude that lacked the foresight) fan's complaints about something I'm sure is silly.
@wessywes2 lost respect for you tonight @ Fred Meyer. Thought you were better than that.
@wessywes2 how about showing up late and not taking a picture with some kids who idolized you. All for 23k? Not to mention ur security...
Fellow fans, this is unacceptable behavior. Some people just want attention from someone famous so they attack them publicly. I think that's what happened here. But if a player is at a charity event don't criticize them so harshly. Wes didn't bring a gun, did he? Show up drunk or stoned? Wes did this to get coats to people who needed them! If you missed your shot at a signature or picture, as I did with Marcus - tough. Part of our Portland pride is being respectful and considerate, and now that we have good role model guys here we pick them apart anytime they do charities because they don't pay enough attention to us? Get over yourself!
In conclusion, fans need to be reminded of simple manners. The players know what your special autographed item means to you (although they also know some people just put it on Ebay), and I'm sure it is gratifying to meet a fan, so if we keep things in perspective it can be cool for the player and fan. If the player is able and willing to accommodate you, be respectful of their time! Thanks for letting me vent.