It gives me great pleasure to announce that Blazersedge Night at the Garden will make a return for the 2010-11 season. This is the fourth straight year we'll hold the event and it'll be the most amazing by far.
For those who don't know, Blazersedge Night started as a way for readers to get together. For the first one we reserved a hundred seats which people pre-purchased. A couple months before the event a reader wrote and said he had bought seats he couldn't use, and could we give them to someone deserving? We broadcast the opportunity and got a couple nice requests. One was from a gentleman who worked with under-privileged kids in the Portland area. He said he'd love the tickets because he knew dozens of kids who would love to go. They wouldn't otherwise get the chance. I asked him to put a solid figure on "dozens" and he did. I put that number before the people of this community and darned if they didn't buy up enough extra seats that all of his kids got to go and then some. The second year we just made it official and built in the extra tickets for kids as part of the process, again sending a few dozen.
Last year we took an enormous leap. We got the Blazers to reserve us 400+ seats. It was crazy, but we did it. Everyone banded together and we ended up sending 400 kids to a game against New Orleans...most of whom had not been to a game and all of whom were delirious with happiness and serious rooting spirit. Once you've seen the eyes of even a couple kids bewildered and enchanted by getting to attend a real, live Blazer game (let alone the eyes of 400 kids) you understand that there's nothing you could do that would better express your fandom.
Which brings us to this year. For 2010-11 we have reserved slightly more than 500 seats. Some of those will be available to readers. The vast, vast majority of those tickets (probably 475 or so if history is any indication) are going to be given away without strings to kids who otherwise would never get to see a game. We talk to teachers and principals, counselors and social agencies. It's all direct. People write or call us and we respond. Because of you for the last three years we've not turned down a single person. Every time someone has said, "I know a couple kids who..." we've sent them. Every time a teacher has said, "I have a class full of kids..." we have sent the whole class. We are all there together, all the kids in one mammoth swath across the Rose Garden upper deck, and it's magical.
You want to know what's magical this year? The game is April 1st, and that's not a joke. That means not only are we sending almost 500 kids, they are going to get a chance to see the Blazers play Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game that will almost certainly have playoff implications. It is going to blow...their...minds. They're also going to blow the roof off of the joint with their cheering that day, which has got to help the team, right? We have never had a game like this, nor an opportunity like this.
So here's how it works. Tickets are $25 each. We don't have huge corporate sponsors. This is about people buying one, two, ten tickets at a time. This is about college students getting together with buddies, skipping Starbucks for a week, and collectively sending a couple kids. This is about people in offices putting up a jar for donation or matching each other's gifts and ending up buying five tickets. This is about dads telling their children and grandmas telling their grandkids that the greatest gift they could get for Christmas wouldn't be another knick-knack, but would be a ticket for a kid for that game. In groups of 1, 2, 5, 10 we get those 500 tickets sold because you care and you want to light up the eyes of a young person who doesn't have much. This is about you saying, "For all that the team has given me, for all I've gained from my family and friends and fellow readers of Blazersedge, here you go, kid...this one's on me." This is about you creating joy, creating memories, creating hope, and creating a new generation of fans to take up the passion you've felt so deeply. But this doesn't happen unless you make it happen.
Here's the info. Let's do this together.
Blazersedge Night: April 1st, 2011 versus the Oklahoma City Thunder
Ticket Cost: $25 per ticket plus a $5 service charge per order whether you buy 1 ticket or 100 with that order.
Ways to Purchase:
If you'd like tickets for your students, your class, or your group my e-mail address is just below. We're looking for kids who otherwise couldn't go, to whom this experience would mean something special.
- Call Lisa Swan at the Portland Trail Blazers office at 503-963-3966. Tell her you're purchasing for Blazersedge night FOR THE KIDS or FOR CHARITY. You can also purchase tickets for yourself to attend in the B.E. section that night, which is why you need to make your intentions clear. If you tell them it's for the kids they set the tickets aside instead of mailing them to you. If you want to attend yourself, make that clear as well. You can purchase in all the usual ways: credit card, check, what have you.
- You can also donate money via PayPal to the Blazersedge Paypal Account: firstname.lastname@example.org We accumulate your donations and pay for the tickets in one big chunk at the end. This allows you to donate non-standard amounts (like $20 or $80) and also avoids that $5 order fee, as we make one bulk purchase.
Note that I will be coming to the game that night as well. If the response is good enough I'd be happy to arrange an off-site get-together, probably on the 2nd of April, where all of us can get together and celebrate the season and the event.