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Gallows Humor: The Portland Trail Blazers and the NBA Playoffs

A personal essay about Portland fans, the city, and the Moda Center

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Jamie Cooper of Dime takes an entertaining look at his experience covering the Trail Blazers in the post season.  He calls it The Sight of the Gallows.  It's a long essay with an introduction and three chapters.

In the Introduction he writes about the tenacity of the Portland fans from his viewpoint of having covered Portland the last two years each time they won a desperation game four:

On both occasions, the Blazers played with a sense of urgency that had been inexplicably absent in each of the previous three games. Although, I suppose, as Samuel Johnson once alluded to, nothing focuses the mind quite like the sight of the gallows.

Chapter 1 is about some of the pluses and minuses of the Moda Center and the city.

In most NBA cities, it's a logistical nightmare getting in and out of an arena. Not here. Most folks leave their hybrid cars at home and hop the train, or just walk, and riding the Max to the game with hundreds of other delirious fans all decked out in the team's signature gear is a great way to get amped up.

Mass marketing and consumerism is the subject of Chapter 2 and he reviews the Moda Center's efforts in this area.

Some of it is actually kind of interesting, like the "Get to Know" spots that sometimes flash across the Jumbotron with fascinating and peculiar little tidbits of information about your favorite players. Such as the fact that Nicolas Batum's favorite food is Oreo cheesecake and that he's apparently under the impression that his nickname is Batman (?), or that Damian Lillard's favorite television show is Monk, all of which would indicate that the segment should be renamed "Things You Can't Unknow About Your Favorite Player."

Chapter 3 covers the perks of having media access (no comment) including sitting in media row which evidently expands during the playoffs.  This year Cooper got to sit next to a guy from the Memphis area and asked him how the FedEx Forum compared to the Moda Center.

"[The FedEx Forum] gets just as loud," he said, "But there isn't the synergy that there is here."

Since Cooper alluded to a Samuel Johnson quote (English Writer, 1709-1784) I was compelled to look at Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (because BE readers are literate) and this is the quote from September 19, 1777:

"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

This is an entertaining read, and many Blazer fans will likely identify with this quirky look at ourselves, our arena, and our city.  Let us know in the comments what you think of Cooper's Portland experience!