Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rip City, baby.

The Portland Trailblazers have been a big part of my life since I can remember. They won their only championship when I was four. My grandma Pauline was a big fan and she took me to a lot of games. We would always sit in the nosebleeds, the cheapest seats that are all the way back against the wall, which was nice in some ways as you could stand up and jump around without pissing anyone off. We would always go an hour early to get autographs. Back in the early 80s at the Glass Palace the players were a lot more accessible. I remember meeting Jim Paxson, Darnell Valentine, Wayne Cooper (Coooop!), Kiki Vanderwhe, Maurice Lucas (Luuuuke!) and others. We would always stay for the postgame interview with Bill Shonley (bingo, bango bongo baby!).
As a teenager I was a rabid fan. In the glory years of 1988-1992 I rarely missed a game, whether in person, on the radio or on TV with the sound turned off and the Shons turned on. A highlight was when a coworker shared his dad's 9th row seats for a playoff win against the Suns that went to double overtime and we could hear every profane thing Charles Barkley was saying.
Then, finally came June 6, 2000 and the collapse in the fourth quarter of game seven in the Western Conference championships. After that game the Trailblazers entered a dark period, as did I. I still watched a few games but my heart wasn't in it.

I wrote the preceding as my second blog entry but never posted it becase I thought it sucked. Now my standards are lower and I'm using it as an intro to a post about today, April 18, 2007, henceforth known as "Portland Trailblazers 1977 Championship Day" or something. Mayor Potter was not the smooth talker I assumed him to be but I still enjoyed his proclamation.
Bill Schonley was great as MC and it was nice to hear Dr. Jack Ramsey speak so warmly of his time in Portland. The only current Blazers there were Joel Pryzbilla and Ime Udoka and of course Nate and Maurice Lucas. I was a little disappointed at the turnout, both players and fans, but it was still fun.

Here's El Torque posing with the championship trophy. The trophy had two handlers who wore white gloves and had their hands on the trophy at all times.

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