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The phrase Portland Trail Blazers evokes a range of emotions in me, from exuberance to exasperation. Anybody who has ever been to a Blazer game can attest to the butterflies in their stomach during a close game, and high-fiving a completely random stranger when the Blazers pull out the victory. The Blazers have always been my go-to pastime. No other sport, no other television show, no other video game could ever have the same mesmerizing effect a Blazer game has on me. It all started when I moved to Portland as a nerdy little kid. I didn’t know anybody here and by the looks of it that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. But when my dad took me to my first blazer game, I felt like I had just made 19, 979 other friends. As a family we could cheer on our team. As friends we could mourn a close loss. As a community we could celebrate a playoff berth. The Blazers became my friends and support system, and today almost a decade later this concept still has not changed.
That is why I was devastated when the NBA lockout dragged on and on. Without the Blazers I was missing a paramount part of me. Every day I would read the sports section of the Oregonian hoping basketball would return and I could cheer on my team once again. I tearfully watched as pre-season and even regular season games got canceled. I did not know if I could survive any longer. I NEEDED my Portland Trail Blazers back. So when the season finally started, I was able to take a sigh of relief as my best friend returned after much too long of an absence.
There have been many critics of the Blazers this season. Some lauding them and predicting that they are going to win the Western Conference. Others have written them off, as a faltering club with no chance at a NBA Championship. However I think the critics have it all wrong. Basketball and especially the Trail Blazers are much more than a winning percentage. Of course winning is nice, but that is not the reason many of us watch basketball. We watch basketball because we feel a connection with the team. We watch the Blazers because they exemplify the qualities that we respect. And this season has proven and substantiated my respect and adoration for the organization
I have the seen the fruits of effort and unrelenting drive in Gerald Wallace. While I was completing my college applications this fall, I remembered watching Gerald dive into the crowd to recover a loose ball and that motivated me to make my applications the best they could be. Laziness was out of the question, after watching someone that worked so hard. This kind of character is what causes Blazer fans to chant Wallace’s name during games, not how many points he scores or rebounds he wrangles. The leadership skills of Lamarcus Aldridge are remarkable, as he has led the Blazers to a winning record after losing all-star Brandon Roy. Aldridge has truly put the team on his back and has been catalyst for all the successes the Blazers have relished this season. Taking a page from Aldridge’s book I have assimilated his leadership skills making sure that I lead by example as captain of my basketball team. Watching Brandon Roy take an early retirement was heart wrenching but we can also learn many lessons from Brandon. He made sure to put family first and take care of his health. If we were all like Roy our community would be much stronger and healthier than it is right now. Watching the team contribute so much to our community inspires me to make a change myself.
I know this season has been filled with many up and downs, but that has just strengthened my relationship with the Blazers. The Blazers should not be known by their 12-8 record, or seed in the Western Conference, but respected for the quality of the players and the organization. The first twenty games this season have been amazing, and I hope that the rest of the season will be just as great. Knowing the Blazers they will fulfill my desire; they certainly have in the past!
it really has been a season of wide-ranging emotions. didn't care for the orlando loss at home, but otherwise, we've taken care of business at the Rose Garden. i had mixed feelings when i heard the lockout was over, but i am glad to have the blazers back. we should be able to find a way to complete on the road, and at least win the games we're supposed to.~ KMM
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