Moda; don’t change.

Portland’s ‘The Rose Garden’ arena recently underwent a name change so that the place didn’t go bankrupt, etc. basically it needed a new financier. Moda Health (formerly known as ODS) stepped up, threw the large sum of cash into the ring and won the bid. The Portland Trailblazers now play in The Moda Center. Odd? Probably so for some life-long Portlandians, but change is always on the horizon so as with any change, we’ll adapt. It’s not that big of a deal, right? 

I stumbled upon an article recently summarizing a change to a 14-year tradition between the Blazers and Taco Bell. When the Blazers reach 100 points in any game, everyone in attendance would be able to get their paws on a small piece of paper which they could redeem for one free CHALUPA. If you’ve ever been to a game and the Blazers are hovering around the 95 point mark, the crowd begins to chant CHA-LU-PA! CHA-LU-PA! People really need their 4th meal you know. Well, I hate to burst your bubble but that partnership is ending. The Blazers or Taco Bell decided it wasn’t in their best interest to continue giving away shitty food. Rejoice! Right? 

Not so fast. At the conclusion of the online article, I glossed over some reader comments. The one I pasted below made me laugh out loud and then roll my eyes. Hell, I might have been doing those two things simultaneously. I got to thinking though, why would this partnership be dissolved? Well, for starters, maybe local Taco Bell franchises no longer think it is in their best financial interest to continue giving away potential profits. Maybe the players no longer like Chalupas. OR, maybe the new financier didn’t think that giving away free Chalupas aligned with their mission statement. After all, they are a health plan and promoting 4th meal likely doesn’t align with their overall image. Whatever the reason, the comment below just didn’t make a lot of sense for multiple reasons, which is why I found it so amusing. 

 

This is an outrage, and a helluva lousy way for our new Team President and Arena sponsor to treat this City and Trailblazer Fans! Now I’m supposed to believe that its Taco Bell’s fault and the Blazers plan to come up with a new sponsor as soon as they can. Don’t bet on it; my guess is they’re gonna see if they can get away with not having this lil’ Promo, at all?! 
 
I’ve never been at a game where we scored enuf for this “Chalupa” thang so don’t even know how they taste, but that’s not the point. Aren’t the Blazers getting an extra 10mil a year from this new name, and they can’t afford Chalupas for crying out loud? Too afraid we’ll score over 100 too often, lol, i’ll believe that when I see it. 
 
That seals it for me, you will never hear the new name for the Rose Garden ever pass my lips, it will now forever be – THE ROSE GARDEN, so take that, and shove it up your chalupa.

 

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Date night. news you can use.

Wednesday was date night. It had the promise of many things and just so happened to be hump day AND my day off. I was already half way through the work week where I had only worked one day. Things were definitely looking up.

The grand evening plan was the Blazer game, section 102. I only mentioned where I was sitting because I’m used to sitting in 302-land where the air is thin and the players look thinner. Being up closer and personal is great on a number of levels. Less strain on your neck and eye muscles to look downward for several hours. Second, there were only three steps, okay maybe four, to my seat. The beers and baños were nearby making the viewing as convenient as sitting on your couch at home. But the question remained, even with all of these great amenities, how would I feel should the Blazers lose to the Pacers?

Beforehand my boyfriend decided upon a happy hour spot he’d been wanting to check out. County Cork Public House is nestled in the rising neighborhood on NE Fremont.  It’s an Irish pub that caters to people of all ages. Typically I don’t like to imbibe in spaces where Littles can run at my feet, but I was feeling exceptionally permitting this day. Walking in just seemed like a regular bar, nothing exceptional. The space felt a little cold, both in temperature and atmosphere and surprisingly there were about a dozen people or so enthralled in conversation, throwing back some brew, and awaiting their meals. We sat in a wooden booth along the bank of windows that open wide during the warmer months (read: July, August). This was January and it wasn’t one of those warm ones. A pair of Lagunitas IPAs were ordered as we decided on happy hour eats. The ales were satisfying but I was a bit worried about the food choices. Judging by the atmosphere and space I didn’t have high expectations. I expected mundane and greasy bar food. We settled upon:

  • Buffalo wings
  • Scotch egg
  • Fish and chips

I know what you must be thinking. What the fuck is a Scotch egg? Yeah. My boyfriend described it to me as a hard-boiled egg wrapped in ground sausage meat, lightly breaded and deep-fried. Okay. Weird. Those were my inaudible thoughts. The Scotch egg came out on a plate cut in half so each side had equal parts sausage and egg. The waiter suggested we use a little sweet hot mustard and we would NOT be disappointed. Well. Truth be told, he looked like a hippie and I rarely trust that kind. I was surprised at how much I LOVED it. It was delish! So were the buffalo wings. Crispy and the right amount of saucy and spicy. Perfection. I’m not really a fish and chips gal. Fish and chips can be very heavy and leaving you feel like a bomb went off in your stomach. Not these. They were excellent. I mean, excellent. The fish was perfectly moist, the breading not overly greasy. And the tartar sauce was so yummy I could have dipped anything in it just to finish the small container we were given.

If you’re ever in the area head over to 1329 NE Fremont. Just pay attention to what door you walk into. Why????

Because as we were hustling in the cold to get into a warm space, we went into the wrong bar. What we thought was our destination was actually a chic, dimly lit bar called Free House. It was just before 5pm and there was only one other patron at the bar besides us. Realizing our mistake we decided to stick around for a beer and give the place the old college try. It was a nicely decorated bar with wood tables and chairs. The atmosphere felt very comfortable despite the absence of humans. There was a TV mounted above the bar and music playing throughout the space. There were food entrees listed on the chalkboard and we vowed to return here at a later date to taste some of them. I can’t remember what we imbibed but they have a plentiful tap list, in addition to canned and bottled selections. I didn’t check it out up close but they have a patio space out back that is heated and was OPEN that evening for guests. Next time! I loved the bar. I wanted to stay all night and just people watch (well, provided more people showed up!) It was definitely our kinda place. Head on over to 1325 NE Fremont and check it out!

Despite the Blazers seven game losing streak they beat those smugly Pacers by twenty points and everyone got Chalupas!!!!! (Except us, because we didn’t care.) The front and off-centered experience was great. A win is a win and even though the Blazers aren’t the most exciting team this year, I still have a great time when I’m at a game. Win or lose. I look forward to more nights like this, trying new places, hitting events and making memories.

Getting my stripes

I’ve been a fan of the game of basketball for, well, as long as I can remember. Growing up in Portland I’ve watched the Trailblazers have some amazing seasons, and some not-so-amazing seasons. They went through the ups and downs like most clubs and are finally coming around and have an amazing team. I started playing in the sixth grade and had (what I remember) a great time. We were an okay team, not as tough as some of the other inner-city teams we played (which were very intimidating) but we still eeked out a few wins. (My brother tells me there is video lurking out there of a few of my games from the eighth grade. I can only imagine what a jumbled circus that team effort looks like!)

High school was a different story. Freshman year we SUCKED. Sucked with all we had. We were slow, had few girls that could really play and were just a mess. As the years went by our teams never got any better. We were lucky to get a win or two out of the season, and I even recall a game that led to fisticuffs. Oh adolescent girls. Such anger!

I thought my basketball days were behind me after high school but the last few years I’ve been spending several days a week watching my niece play. This occupies a lot of my time for a few reasons. One, I LOVE the game. Two, I love watching K play. She’s fun to watch and her game is only getting better. These last couple of seasons I’ve been making comments here and there about becoming a referee and several friends and family have urged me to do so. As with anything that requires me to step outside of the box, I’ve been hesitant in making contact with the local organization, not because I don’t want to do it, but because I have some fear of breaking into new endeavors.

All those fears were cast aside today as I made the necessary contact to learn about the next steps to pursue this dream of mine. I received a return phone call from the man who runs the Portland Basketball Officials Association (PBOA) and he is putting me on his list to make contact with later this summer. I’m so glad I finally made a connection and am eager for the time to come to see if I have what it takes to get my very own whistle! In the meantime, I will be working on my hand signals and body movements to call out errors during game play.

my favorite is travelling

Blaze a trail

 

 

Foam finger pride!

 

I had the esteemed opportunity to escort my favorite niece (okay, she’s my ONLY niece..) to a Blazer game vs the Nuggets. I had a fantastic time! Our major mission after 48 minutes of play was to get downstairs to the parking garage to score some autographs. She has a binder dedicated to the Blazers with their trading cards in plastic sleeves, hoping to get them signed. By her own admission she realized she failed to get the newest pack of trading cards for this season, and could have gotten some of them signed last night. Next time, she vowed.

 

 

The view from atop!

 

 

 

Still some growing to do.

 

We picked up a few presents and grabbed some food and settled into our seats. Roy and Co. got off to a slow start, but eventually picked up the pace just before half-time with a 5 point lead. We roamed the concourse and people watched for a bit before returning to our seats for the second half, which definitely proved to be a lot more exciting! I always love it when games are on-the-edge-of-your-seat compared to blow outs.. always makes it feel so much more worth it. With 5 minutes remaining on the game clock, that was our queue to make it down to where we needed to be! Granted, we had a general idea of where we needed to be based on a 12 year old’s memory. With a little stop to ask for directions we made it! (Exit A7, down to P1)

 

Nic Batum

 

 

The sweetest of them all!

 

 

Sweet, sweet rides!

There were about 5 or 6 people already there when we arrived, but we got a nice spot right in the middle up front. The game was still in progress, but with the Live Scores app on my phone we were able to keep up with the action. It was a close one, but they pulled out a win, 90-83. We waited patiently for about 20 minutes until the first glimpse of a player.. while we waited the area started to fill up with more and more people, trying to get their opportunity for a signature or photo. Sadly, I’ve been out of the hoops loop more than I’d like to have been the last few years. So when a player came out I didn’t recognize, I had to ask her if she knew who he was. I felt like a nub. My brother would be severely disappointed! We scored about 6-8 autographs and then called it a night. A semi-wet drizzle on the long walk back to the car, but we didn’t mind!

Today on Facebook she had posted this comment on her wall:

“Great blazer game at the rose garden with my aunt it was awesome I got autographs from the players one of the best times ever:)”

Miss K.