Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Little Things/ Thanksgiving 2005

My buddy Larry emailed me from his home in Seattle a week ago, and among other things, announced that he would be coming to Portland on November 23, yesterday, to watch his step-son David, who starts at center for the Seattle University Redhawks, play The University of Portland Pilots. I told my son Blaine about it right away, and we decided to go to the game, and surprise Larry and his wife Robin.

If you have been here before, you may have read some of “The Adventures of Blaine In His Wheelchair”, because, as you probably know, it can be a mean world out there regarding accessibility. So when we go to a new venue, somewhere we haven’t been before, we are wary enough to go a bit early, just to be sure there are no surprises, or to give us the time to overcome any obstacles we might encounter.

We arrived at The Chiles Center, The University of Portland’s basketball court, and it was pretty easy, though we did have to take a few of the usual detours around things to get to our seats. We saw Larry and his family, and had a brief exchange as we entered the gym, and left the bulk of our visiting for after the game. It was great to see them.

We got to our seats, which were on the main floor, at one end, got a hot dog, checked the situation out. The band was playing mightily, with a real bass player, who looked to be the band teacher, typical band fare, The Theme From Rocky, Proud Mary, The Theme from 2001, with a back beat, and of course, The U of P fight song. It was an upbeat College Basetball Game Scene, really fun.

Right before the game, the starting five for the Pilots were introduced, just like they do in the NBA, with the reserve players making a tunnel for them to run through as their names were announced. After each player was announced, and had performed the popular “chest bump” with one or more of the other starters, he would then toss a small purple Portland Pilots souvenir basketball he had carried out with him into the stands, which would be retrieved by some adoring fan.

When the last player was introduced, whose name and number I didn’t even get, it happened so fast, he ran out to center court, and then, without hesitation, without chest bumping, he ran immediately over to my son, as we sat in the wheelchair section, and handed Blaine his souvenir basketball. That he had noticed Blaine in the crowd, that he had decided to hand off his ball to a guy who is not gonna be scrambling in the stands to get one, well, it was just a very nice gesture, and something that I am thankful for.

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