Ladies and Gentlemen, this is it. The process of donating tickets for Blazersedge Night is almost done. We are trying to send 500 (you read that right) kids who otherwise would never get to see a Blazers game to the Rose Garden on April 1st. It's not just any game, it's the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant. It will blow...their...minds. We've had tons and tons of requests for tickets this year, more than ever before. We want to continue our streak of never having to turn down a single kid. We're asking you to help make that happen.
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 with the program already 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 whether Brandon Roy or Russell Westbrook is better. 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.
Here's the info once again. Whether you're a lurker or a long-time member, whether you've got $5 or $500, please help us make a difference. We're closing up shop Tuesday Night at 11:59 p.m. so act soon.
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:
- 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.
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.