The Portland Trail Blazers are on a three-game losing streak, with no end in sight as the Los Angeles Lakers come up on Friday. This seems like a good time to stick our fingers in our collective ears and go, “La! La! La! Can’t hear you!” Or you can do what Dave Deckard and Dia Miller did today, escape into your best Blazers-related memories. Read all about theirs below, then share your own!
Dave: We know we’ve both been at this for a minute, through all the ups and downs. Downs are no fun, so let’s do ups! What’s one of your best Blazers-related memories?
Dia: This definitely isn’t my oldest memory. I’ve been a fan for over 30 years and this just happened last season. But it’s very easily my favorite Blazers memory. I have an 8 year old daughter. Her name is Julisabel and she is a Trail Blazers fan. Over the last few years, she has really come into her love for the team, and it’s become personal to her.
We live in Los Angeles, which is a far cry from the Moda Center, but it’s just a short drive to the Staples Center where the Lakers and the Clippers play. So last season, I bought tickets for her and I to go to a game at the Staples Center against the Clippers. She was so excited. She wore a pink Trail Blazers sweatshirt that was mine as a kid, and off we went. She was in absolute heaven.
We got there early and had pizza across the street and then we got to be in the tunnel as the team ran through before the game. She was so excited she could hardly contain herself. She couldn’t believe we were going to be right next to the players. Sure enough they came running through the tunnel, blindly high fiving the fans. It happened so fast, and when I looked down at her after, she was crying. It turns out her little hand was just too short and none of them gave her a high five. It was at that moment that I realized just how invested she was.
The game itself was incredible. I don’t remember who won, but I remember the look on my daughters face as she watched her team on that court. I remember her little voice asking questions and trying her hardest to follow what was happening. I remember her yelling until she lost her voice for her favorite, Damian Lillard. She stayed awake and alert and on her feet for the entire game. She still talks about it.
Dave: That’s so cute. I have a couple of kid stories too. My son, Baby Point Guard, at some point grew up enough that I could take him to his first Blazers game. This was, like, 4-5 years ago. He actually wasn’t that much into it at first. It was too much to process, being in Moda Center live with the game and the scoreboard and, most importantly, all those people. At the time, we lived in a town of 1000. Basically he was standing among 20 times all the people he knew in the world!
But then people started chanting. It came from somewhere off to the left and his head swiveled that way. When he picked up what people were saying, he looked up at me. Yelling was not normally encouraged in the venues he frequented. I nodded and motioned my head towards the crowd. He joined in.
When another chant started up, he chimed in almost immediately. This continued throughout the first half. By halftime he was having a ball.
The Blazers being the Blazers, they struggled through the opening of the third quarter. The arena fell quiet. Then I about jumped right out of my skin as beside me, and just below, came this voice shattering the silence—perfectly pitched, in cadence, and louder than I’d ever heard it—“LET’S GO BLA-ZERS!” Apparently I wasn’t the only one surprised, as two or three rows of people turned in their seats to look at the little kid beside me with the big audacity. They all started smiling and cracking up, then they gamely joined in, “Let’s Go Bla-zers! [clap-clap, clap-clap-clap]” In less than five seconds, the chant was picked up by the whole arena.
The beaming in my son’s eyes was incredible. Nobody knew it, but he had been experiencing trouble at school. People were bullying him, making him feel like his voice didn’t matter. Now, for a moment, the entire Moda Center was following him. That was special, and he’s been hooked ever since.
Dia: It’s really such a cool thing when it all starts to click. Sports has a way of building such community and camaraderie. I’ve told the story before about the life-size poster of Clyde Drexler I had on my wall growing up. My friends thought it was weird (a couple of them even messaged me after I initially wrote about it here on Blazers Edge and said they remembered it and definitely thought it was weird). But I remember gathering with family and friends as a kid to watch the games, and the joy I felt being with them and watching those games, running around with the kids and devouring the pizza.
When I started playing basketball in 1st grade, I chose the number 22, because of Clyde, obviously. I wore that number proudly all through elementary school, middle school, and high school. My love for the Blazers kind of leaked into my everyday life and was a recurring theme growing up.
Sports isn’t for everyone, and especially fandom—real fandom, the kind that seeps out of your closet and into your conversations. But when you find your people, whether that’s online, or in an arena, or even someone else wearing a shirt with your favorite team at the grocery store, there’s an almost instant connection with a complete stranger.
Dave: Speaking of Clyde, another of my favorite moments came in ‘90-’91, the best year in franchise history as far as regular-season wins. The Blazers were cruising through the season, clearly the best team in the West, but the specter of the Lakers still loomed. Portland had 59 wins and an April home game against L.A. in the Coliseum. It had all the verve of a playoffs matchup. It was a proving ground, a momentum-preserver, and a message all at once. I was there. Everything from the pre-game announcements to the final horn was ELECTRIC. The Blazers won, getting to 60 wins over Magic Johnson and company. It couldn’t have been more special. Of course, we know how that story turned out a month later, but it was still a thrill. I loved that game. It competes with the Perfect First Quarter against San Antonio the same season as my best regular-season memory ever.
I also remember Clyde being on track to win MVP of the 1992 NBA All-Star Game until the teams gifted it to Magic, but this is supposed to be about happy memories...
Dia: Most of my Blazer memories don’t involve actual games because I didn’t ever live in Portland. My grandparents did, and they had season tickets for years, but my family lived in Southern Oregon.
I have what feels like a very vivid memory of being at a game when I was a child, although when I try to recall much about the details they are pretty vague. But I remember sitting on my Gramps’ lap. I remember his running narrative throughout the game and the way he would point things out to me. I remember his button up shirt with the Pearl buttons and his Trail Blazers baseball cap. My Gramps passed away a few years ago, and that’s a memory that’s more special than ever. That baseball cap is in my closet now.
I think that’s the thing for me— the Trail Blazers memories that I have tend to be formed around people that I love and happy feelings that I’ve had. I have very clear memories of significant times in the teams history (like the day Clyde got traded and I cried and thought I’d never recover), but when you ask me about my favorite memories, it’s not about that. It’s about sharing something I love with the people I care about, and it’s about the feelings of happiness and joy that being a Trail Blazer fan have brought me.
Dave: Me too. They brought my family together, once upon a time. And it’s happening again a little with the next generation too.
So what about you, folks? What are your best Blazers memories? Share below and enjoy!