Let’s face it, if you’re reading this at 4:00 PM, Pacific Time on Christmas Eve, you’re a pretty big Portland Trail Blazers fan. And full marks to you! We love the fact that you’re here.
But on this holiday eve, and throughout the week, we’d like to invite you to pass along that fandom to the next generation, youth and children who might not have had the same chance to follow the team as most of us, but who would love to.
Each year, during the spring, Blazer’s Edge gives away tickets to 2000 or so Portland-area recipients. We send classrooms full of kids, entire sports teams and after-school clubs. We also send groups of 3-4 who are in special need, plus folks from programs that serve at-risk youth. Among all the young people who attend the game, two commonalities predominate:
- Their teachers, counselors, coaches, and principals desperately want them to be able to go. This becomes a year-changing, relationship-changing event. Over and over again, we hear how classrooms mark their calendars for game night, how parents prepare, how youth engage in a new way with peers and adult chaperones because they get to go. We also hear that finally, in this context, these young folks get to experience innocence, wonder, the communal feeling of participating in something bigger than themselves, laid out in all its hardwood- and jumbotron-laced glory just for them.
- The vast majority of these young folks have never been to a Blazers came, might not ever be able to go again, and can’t go unless we get enough tickets to donate. Maybe their economic circumstances prohibit it. Maybe they don’t have people in their lives who would take them. Maybe they can’t get to the arena and back by themselves. But on this night, in this moment, with all their friends, adults who care, and tickets waiting for them at Will Call, they can come.
Anyone who has been to a Blazer’s Edge Night event knows the joy that emanates from the upper bowl of the Moda Center when 2000+ kids and chaperones—10% of the total attendees that night—are delirious with the opportunity to be there. The logo, the scoreboard, each and every shot...all these things take on new life as our participants take them in and cheer madly for them. It reminds all of us what we’re there for, and to look at the game with new innocence.
It also builds in the participants a sense of community, both for the local groups that they’re a part of and with Blazers fandom as a whole. You never know when the ticket you donated will start a lifelong journey with the Trail Blazers, as many of us have taken.
We want all those young people to be a part of this night. That means we need you to be a part of the process. During this week of giving, could you donate a ticket or two (or more, if you can swing it) to send kids to see the Blazers and Sacramento Kings play this March? Every ticket you donate is a potential life changed. And it’s really easy to do!
The Trail Blazers have set up a special website for us. The link is here. All you do is click through to that website and purchase tickets, just as if you were buying them for yourself. You can see the seats available, the price, the whole works! Except instead of going into your account, the tickets you purchase are reserved for Blazer’s Edge Night attendees.
During the time between now and March, local youth and school leaders will contact us, asking for tickets. We get to tell them, “Yes!” because of the seats you donate that night. We’ve never had a problem selling out our reserved allotment and we’ve always found plenty of participants to use them.
If you could, please donate a ticket or two. Prices start at just $11 per ticket and range up to $41. We’d love to get them all donated. If you’d include us in your season of giving, both we and a couple thousand kids in the greater Portland area would appreciate it.