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The Trail Blazers Ticket Request that Broke My Heart

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Dave Deckard shares a bittersweet Blazer’s Edge Night request.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Blazer’s Edge Night needs your help. The window for donations closes this week and we don’t have enough tickets donated yet to cover the people who have already requested to go, let alone our ultimate goal of 2000. This is it. Either we’re going to make it or start turning people away. It’s up to us which it will be.

Before reading how to donate, please take a minute to hear this story. Unlike the thank-you’s we’ve shared from past participants, this one is a current request.

Dave,

I write to you in hopes you can help. My name is [X] and I teach 5th grade at [X] school. My students are exactly the kind you describe. I have 24. Almost all of them are on meal assistance. Very few of them have places to go that are safe before or after school. Some of them don’t have steady families. Every day these kids come. Sometimes they’re too quiet or too noisy. That’s usually how I know something went wrong for them at home. But they come. They’re working hard. I’m in awe every day of how hard they fight to make it.

I have three boys I’m especially thinking of. They have a hard time fitting in because you know 5th grade boys. But they love basketball. If I could make every lesson about basketball I think I could teach them for life. It’s all they want to talk about. They play together at every break. I see them light up every recess. I watch them walk off with heads down at the end of each day. I think all they have is each other.

Basketball turned them from three lonely, isolated boys at the beginning of the year to their own little team. I can only imagine how my class, but especially those three would feel if I got to tell them they could see the Blazers play for real. I think on that day they’d walk away from school with their heads up. If it’s possible my dream is to get a picture of those three boys sitting together at a real game. It’s something I’d treasure for a lifetime.

So I’m asking. I don’t know if you have space for us, but if you do, will you please let me know?

I don’t know. This request isn’t that much different than many that we receive. Maybe it’s because I have a son in 5th grade too. It just got to me.

Here’s what I’ve been able to let this teacher know. I have her on the list. If everything goes as it usually does and donations come through, we’ll send her class and chaperones. I don’t know if tickets are going to come through, so I can’t give the final “Yes” yet.

Right now, we’re at 1150 tickets donated. In order to cover our requests, including this one, we need to be at 1800 by Friday. Our goal is over 2000. We get TONS of requests after we announce we’ve made it, and we like to tell some of those people yes as well.

Right now, the issue is still dicey. We’ve never failed to come through before, but we won’t make it unless we band together and finish the job now.

People always talk about how wonderful Blazer’s Edge Night is, and how happy we must be to do it. That’s true. We never talk about this part, though. It’s so hard. I hear from people for whom this event would make a huge difference, who have really, really good reasons to go, and I face the prospect of having to tell them that we’ve run out of tickets.

I don’t want to tell that 5th grade teacher that another door closed for her kids. I can’t imagine even saying those words. Instead I want them to walk away from that school with their heads up, and walk away from the Moda Center on March 25th high-fiving, all because of something we did.

Together, we can make this happen. Tickets start at $10 and even a few make a big difference. Here’s how.