sarahhecht

Apr 20

VIDEO: Trail Blazers Open Practice For Fan Appreciation

By sarahhecht
I planned to write a recap about yesterday’s open practice as soon as it was finished, but instead I found myself pretty keyed up from the day. As far as Trail Blazers events go—I’ve attended too many to count in my two years with the team—this was far and away my favorite.

Over the last few weeks as playoff hopes dwindled and finally disappeared I’ve found myself going through somewhat of a grieving process. But days like yesterday make it so much easier. Interim Head Coach Kaleb Canales decided to hold a practice that was open to the public. And thought it ended up being less of an actual practice and more of an exhibition for those in attendance, it was was a very cool move by K and the squad.

“We looked at the schedule and technically this is our last practice in Portland for this season,” Canales said. “So I though it was important to really let the fans know again how much we appreciate them. Their love and support for our team is second to none and we really appreciate it.”

The guys went through their normal stretching routines and headed straight into a three-point shooting contest. It’s no big surprise that Luke Babbitt took home top honors with Nicolas Batum coming in a close second.

Post-contest was when the real shenanigans began. A new challenge started in which players were partnered with a fan from the stands and a member of the media. One person from each team had to shoot a layup, free throw and three-pointer. After all were made everyone on the team tried to make a half-court shot. It was awesome.

“It’s fun. It’s bittersweet. We would like to be practicing in the confines of the PF grinding and getting ready for the playoffs, but reality is we’re not,” Wesley Matthews said. “So what better way to really go out than to be in the community with our fans.”

Finally, the guys spent time signing autographs and taking pictures with the countless fans in attendance.

If you weren’t able to make it be sure to check out the video, you won’t regret it.

3 Comments

  1. It was really awesome. Never experienced something like that. Although a lot of people expected a more regular practice with some scrimmaging, I enjoyed this more I think. It was a little bit like Fan Fest, but just better.

    It was the informality of it all. There were little moments, where the players were goofing around and talking trash to the media, that just wouldn't happen in another environment I think. The fan participation piece was a brilliant way to give back to those brave enough to accept the white Make It Better T-shirt without having any idea what they were getting into. For the most part, those that took them were PCC kids, for whom I think they were intended.

    I was there early and got a great seat. I chatted with the students around me, got to meet and talk with Matt Caulkins and Chris Haynes, watched the Blazers goof around, and just enjoyed seeing a small window into how these guys are around each other. Here's a few moment's I enjoyed:

    Loved watching Kurt do his 3-pointers, but Flynn's commentary on the video is just hysterical! Seeing Nic, Luke, and even Wesley just get into their shooting zones was super cool. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh! I swear, Nicola has one of the prettiest shots in the league. The camera didn't catch it, but at one point, Wesley grabbed a small child on the players' side, picked him up, turned him upside down and pretended to put him into/onto things, before delivering him to what I assume was the person in charge of the little tyke. JJ Hickson was CONSTANTLY goofing around, like a giant kid. I really thought he was going to hurt someone when he jumped up to bump into them after every round of the last contest, but it was funny. Seeing Nicolas' reaction to Casey, from the moment he heard Case was on his team, all the way to end of their round, was just priceless.

    It's been a disappointing season, but for me, that was a heck of way to send off our team until fall :)

    by SisillaRiann on 4/20/2012 7:55 PM
  2. Hey Miss Sarah; I got to watch some of the open practice on just Casey. I saw you run across the gym like a little rabbit with your two toned hair. I saw the three point contest heard Jonny trashing Thomas about getting tired and if the truth was known I think Batum let Babbitt beat him. He made almost all of them up to 15 made then he never made another for like a minute or so.

    I had to lead just as the trio of a player, fan and media player got started. Casey said over the air that he would probably be one of the media players.
    I listened to you this morning digging Casey about not making a free throw, that must have been hilarious.

    by Hg on 4/20/2012 8:51 PM
  3. Miss Sarah:
    I just listened to you and MB out of archives. A great show, I love MB as much as I do you, Patronic of course, I am not hitting on either one of you.
    At the end of the show you said you didn't get into the Chat much because you was to intense with what mike is saying.
    A few weeks ago, I told you I only listen to a half or 3/4 of yours and Adam show while it is live and then listen to it out of archives. So when I am listening live, I get so caught up on what you and Adam is saying that I don't get in the chat very often.
    My point is, that Adam said, he would give people in the chat special privileges, I protest that, because even if I don't get in the chat that often, I am just as faithful as the one's that has the time. Hey it is just a friendly protest, I by no means feel a grudge because I don't have time.

    by Hg on 4/21/2012 6:59 AM
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