I went to the New Orleans game last night with my son. Both he and I have become pretty serious Timbers fans over the past year. I bought a five game package last year and now have season tickets in the Timbers Army section.
I also had Blazer season tickets for twelve years from 1977-1989. I remember how raucous the old MC was back then. The place was electric. We didn't have great teams during that era, but there was a feeling that the team would win another championship sooner than later.
Last night's game was-well, stunning. It wasn't because the Blazers won, but because the crowd and the team seemed not to really be into the game. There were a LOT of empty seats (though I suppose the Blazer will claim another sell out). Those who were there seemed very quiet for the most part. Most of the Blazers seemed to be going through the motions save Nic and Wes and Pryz. LMA looked like he wanted to be somewhere else. And Nate-what can I say. He stood rigid most of the game with his hands on his hips. Old soldiers never die-they just fade away.
We also went to the last Timbers' pre-season game. Totally different experience. Sitting with the Timbers Army is a trip. Reminds me of the old days back in the MC watching the Blazers-only a lot more fun. The place was packed, as it tends to be these days. People are VERY excited about this team. The players-many of whom get paid maybe $50k a year or less-work their butts off throughout the entire game. The whole experience is pretty electric.
I've been a Blazer fan for a very, very long time and I'm sure always will be. However, I'd be lying if I said that watching them play these days doesn't make me sad. I miss the passion and the commitment that seemed to be a part of past Blazer teams. Frankly, I have to wonder if this lack of passion and commitment doesn't start with Paul Allen. His silence is deafening. No GM for all of this time. A head coach who is obviously struggling. A team that plays half heartedly. And all the while, no communication from Mr. Allen save that he's "not up for another re-building process". Well, how many of us really are? I'm sure we'd prefer that the team was stocked with all stars and had a coach that is bright and full of energy, new ideas, and most of all, enthusiasm. But, that's not what we've got. So, it's either re-build (I guess with a new owner if this one doesn't have the heart for it), or just keep limping along, mired in mediocrity.
Meanwhile, the first Timbers' game is next Monday night and I am really pumped for it. As for the Blazers, sadly I don't plan to go to another game this season. In terms of sheer thrills at a fairly decent price, the Timbers win hands down at this point. I can only hope that something great and good happens to the Blazers organization so that they will again be worth being passionate about...