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I enjoy the almosts, and I think we all do. I
am sadistically thankful for not drafting Michael Jordan and blowing
three consecutive home games to the Pistons in 1990. I am grateful
Uncle Cliffy played hot potato with that outlet pass in Game 6 against
the Lakers and for our meltdown nine years later against a very
different Lakers team in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. But I
don’t want to be just another fan whose moods undulate with the Blazers
as they never seem to quite meet their great potential. I want to feel
what it is like to be a Portland Trail Blazer experiencing these same
tribulations. I want to be able to empathize with the plight of my
team, my players. So last fall, I decided to embark on a new level of
those of you who are not familiar with method acting, it is when actors
immerse themselves in their character’s persona. Daniel Day-Lewis
famously prepared for his role in “My Left Foot” by spending all of his
time on and off set in a wheelchair, being fed by crew members and
speaking in his character’s dialect. This form of preparation for
acting has produced some of the best actors in modern history, including
Nicholson, Brando, and Vladi Divac. So if actors can perfect their
craft by living as their character, feeling what it’s like to be them,
why can’t a basketball fan perfect his craft by experiencing what his
beloved team and players go through? I give you, Method Fandom: when a
fan goes through life just like his or her favorite players.
employ the concept of Method Fandom as a Trail Blazer fan, it could
only mean one thing—enduring outpatient surgery and months of rehab
before being able to return to not-quite-yourself on the court. I have
always seen myself as a Nicolas Batum type ballplayer, someone who
hustles on both ends of the floor and has a smooth three point shot that
can regrettably be streaky. To try and understand why Nico has yet to
break out and consistently meet his astronomical potential, I had four
tiny cameras probe my right shoulder to repair a torn labrum before
training camp began. Because of this surgery, I was out for all of
pre-season and basically the first half of the regular season. I
learned to use my left hand to write, flip off Bron Bron for his
condescending smile, and do the chicken dance left wing style. My right
arm atrophied, jealous of its counterpart and craving the loving slug
of my cousin after an LA oop. Yet, after five months of solid rehab, I
was ready to imitate Touchdown Jesus after a Rudy 3, both arms and all.
if you are a serious Blazers fan, you know things don’t work so
seamlessly. Once a player has recovered from a major surgery, what must
happen next? An unexpected surgery to an ailment that surfaces from
Magic Kingdom! One week away from being able to do a back handspring,
full tuck, round-off, layout, and just as the media was pronouncing the
season will be saved because of my return, cartilage spontaneously
combusted in my left knee requiring microfracture surgery. Sound
time, the surgeon drilled three tiny holes into the cartilage deficient
part of my knee to generate scar tissue to fill in the gap and act as a
softer version of cartilage. I was so close to being the difference
maker on the court for my Tuesday night basketball league, but alas, I
was out for another 6-12 months. I’m currently four months into my
rehab and can understand better than most fans out there what Mr. Oden
has endured. I get losing all the muscle in your quads and hamstrings.
I empathize with having to follow your doctor’s directions to “take it
slow” and wait to run until your leg is strong enough. I know the path
to full recovery is annoyingly long. Yet I also know Oden, like me,
will return better, stronger, and more mentally tough than anybody
have been there. I have felt the pain. Weaned myself off percocet.
Recovered only to have to recover once again. I know, like only a
Method Fan can, that the Portland Trail Blazers can still achieve
greatness, because I’ve lived it.
any of you method fans? Have you had both of your knees scoped only to
return to work for a huge meeting a week later against the advice of
all your clients? Have you tried to sneak weed onto an airplane by
masking it in a leftover tinfoil crane from Montage? Share your stories
and pay forward the madness of Method Fandom.
this be a great year for my brothers in black, white, and red…I can
finally say after 30 years of being your fan, I feel like part of the
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