Despite the Portland Trail Blazers essentially bailing on the 2022-23 season, angling for better position in the NBA Draft Lottery instead of a spot in the playoffs, there’s still plenty of things to say about them. Damian Lillard trade talk is growing even more widespread. Their performance against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday was one for the ages...a topic I wanted to write about this morning badly. Let’s hope that they do better tonight against the Sacramento Kings, so I can avoid that. We’ll see.
But all that is going to be set aside for now in favor of a simple thank you. Tonight is Blazer’s Edge Night, the evening when 1600 young folks from the Portland area will get to see the Blazers face those pesky Kings because of tickets donated by readers of this site. For a moment, anyway, that makes everything better.
This evening hundreds upon hundreds of students, ball players, participants in mentorship community programs will line up outside the Moda Center for their big chance to see NBA Basketball. Even if Damian Lillard isn’t playing—or the rest of the starting lineup—that logo is still on the floor. The arena is big and bright. If Shaedon Sharpe gets to unwind for even one big dunk, these kids will have an experience they’ll never forget.
Tonight all of the participants in Blazer’s Edge Night will get to put aside the daily grind and enjoy something in common together. Kids will get to be kids. Their adult chaperones can celebrate being able to bring them, and watch the game themselves. It’s a magical moment, a chemistry that can’t be duplicated on such a large scale in any other way. More than once, tears have flowed from participants who have never had the chance to relax together or see each other as fun-loving, unguarded people. Sports helps us do that. You helped our ticket recipients get that moment.
Sadly, inclement weather along the route made it impossible for me to come in person to this year’s event, also scrapping plans of a get-together. Snow is inconvenient. But I’ll be cheering from afar and listening for the young voices in the upper sections tonight. I hope you do too. Regardless of record or fears or expectations, everything is made new again on this, the best game of the year.
Special thanks go out to the Trail Blazers themselves, who also donated a block of 100+ tickets for this year’s event. That was a fantastic gesture towards the community, and everyone involved appreciates the kindness. In the end, the bond between us rests on people more than numbers on a scoreboard. Thanks to the Blazers for helping remind us all of that.
Have fun, Blazer’s Edge Night Participants! Go Blazers!