As many of you know, last Monday Night was Blazer's Edge Night at the Moda Center. Readers and listeners of Blazer's Edge sent 1151 underprivileged children and chaperons to see the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Phoenix Suns and clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Today we want to share some of the responses we've gotten from participants so you can experience some of the joy they felt on that night. This is trickier than it seems. We definitely don't want to put our participants on public display. Privacy issues are one reason. The nature of the event itself is another. Part of the draw is the chance to do something great in a normal, kid-like way when the rest of your life forces you to grow up too fast. The more we shine a spotlight on people, the less normalcy we leave in its wake and the less pure the experience becomes. So we've edited a little, taken out names and identifying details, while leaving you the core of the story.
Now go ahead, see what you've helped accomplish.
Thanks again for giving the opportunity to a handful of our students to get to enjoy the game last night. Of the 8 or 9 students that went... none had been to a game before. As the walked into the Rose Garden, their eyes lit up and smiles were easy. So cool.
I wanted to thank you for the tickets to the game yesterday.
The game was spectacular, and a lot of fun for our youth. Many of them expressed that it was their first time attending a Blazer's game. Being provided with these tickets offered a unique opportunity to experience a Blazer's game for the youth in our program from underserved communities.
We thank you so much! We hope you're able to receive more funding for youth to attend future games. The Blazer's Edge is making a difference for underserved youth in Portland, with these memorable opportunities to join the best fans and cheer for the best team in the NBA!
My most sincere thank you
The boys had a GREAT time last night! We made an evening of it starting at Chuck E Cheese, and then on to the main event. Thanks to Dave, you, those who did the footwork to make this happen and of course the generous donors. It was a night they will not forget.
Feeling like a "stellar" teacher tonight... The Blazer game with my students was amazing. Most of my kids did not even know what the MODA Center was and had never even been to a basketball game. One of my boys said this was the best night of his life. There were about 1000 students that were able to attend tonight's game because of Blazers Edge.
I teach what most folks would call "tough" kids. All year long I watch my students struggle. Home is hard. School work can be hard. Finding friends to make a positive difference is really hard. My job is hard. What keeps me going is the conviction that these kids are kids. There's something soft and fun, something innocent in there even if they can't show it and we can't see it. They deserve a chance to be kids no matter what. I always believe that even on the hard days.
When I got to take them to see the Blazers it came out. We had a fantastic night. Not much great happens to my students. It probably seems like a small thing to you guys but going to the game was a great thing. We laughed and cheered. The Blazers even won. It could not have been more perfect.
On the way home one of the boys talked about a dream he had. I had never heard him speak of the future at all or even speak much about himself. He does his work and keeps his head down. His dream wasn't even to be a basketball player. It was to work in the arena someday. He just wanted to be a part of it again.
I laughed and talked with them all the way home then when I got home I sat down and cried. It wasn't sad, it was a relief. They finally got to show what I knew was there and I got to be there to see it. Thank you!
I got to take a young man whose home broke up this year. Nothing good has happened to him since summer. This was good for both of us. Thanks.
We only went to the game on one night but we anticipated it for a week and talked about it for 3 or 4 days after. I can't think of a better way to stretch 2 hours into 10 days of fun! You gave more than you know.
Here are a couple broad pictures of the crowd that night, plus pics of thank you signs that students made for all of us. To protect privacy we've blacked out faces and last names on the signs, but you get the idea.
Here's what the upper deck looks like. Those people in the background are, in large part, B.E. Night folks. pic.twitter.com/RmZIEYCBkF— David Deckard (@DaveDeckard) March 31, 2015
Thank you to Dan Son, our ticket coordinator, Lisa Swan, our Trail Blazers ticket representative, and to everyone who donated tickets to allow kids to attend the event. We've already put down our deposit for next year. Here's to doing it again in 2016!