Saturday, May 2, 2009

Timbers Season Starts, Blazers Season Ends

The Portland Trail Blazers are done with the 2008 - 2009 season, after losing on Thursday night in Houston. They lost their first round series 4 to 2 to the Rockets, and now the off season begins, but it's much different than past seasons for this team. Instead of planning draft lottery parties and wondering what young player will end up in Trail Blazer colors, the team is looking towards the future as a key player and title threat. The second youngest team in the NBA won 54 games this year, was the 4th seed in the Western Conference, had one All-Star in Brandon Roy, a budding All-Star candidate in LaMarcus Aldridge, up and coming players Rudy Fernandez, Travis Outlaw, and Greg Oden, and seasoned vets Steve Blake and Joel Pryzbilla. The mix is very good on this team, and I expect the front office will make some moves to not only thin the roster of positions where we have lots of players (small forward, where we have 5 guys that can play there) to help areas where we need depth (point guard). But bask in the glory, Trail Blazer fans, this is the beginning of something special indeed.

The Timbers, meanwhile, started their season last Saturday in Burnaby, BC, against their rivals from the North, Vancouver Whitecaps. I've got some pictures from the trip, and some other observations from the road:
  • Apparently, we hit every patch of bad traffic between here and Vancouver, including phantom traffic in Shittle. I swear for a city that big, they never seem to open their express lanes, and when they do, it's always in the opposite direction I'd expect them to. I think they enjoy trapping people there just trying to get through town.
  • I'm going to be happy once passports are required at border crossings, because there is no excuse for almost a 1 hour wait going up, and over an hour and a half coming back, and we we weren't at Peace Arch. While I admit our secret crossing spot may not be much of a secret anymore, it still bugs me that we wait that long for essentially a 30 second conversation about your trip. I'm honest with the border guys and don't mess around, and I appreciate the hard job they do, but I think having universal ID would speed up those processes quite a bit. I'm just sorry I never got around to getting a passport until a few years ago.
  • I love Vancouver as a city, and the downtown buzzes quite a bit, but the construction for the Olympics makes it tough to get around. Everything is being ripped up on Granville street, which makes it hard to get about. I can't wait to see it once it's done, but after not being in downtown for a few years, I can imagine driving about is just a pain.
  • Swangard is a nice stadium, and a good road trip experience. Girl and I were walking from the SkyTrain, and heard our fellow TA chanting almost a half a mile away in the park, and that made me feel like I was home. I also got asked if I had tickets to sell a couple of times, but the park wasn't full at all, so I'm wondering if people stayed away for whatever reason. We had a big group, and we were loud.
  • I like our team a lot, they haven't been this creative in the midfield in years. Now, if we can only get people to put the ball in the net afterwards...
  • Thanks to the Chateau Granville for a great stay, the Morrissey Irish Pub for some great food and drink, and the G Sport Pub for giving us a back area to watch the Trail Blazers - Rockets game 4 and for providing good food and drink.
We also had our home opener versus Carolina on Thursday, April 30th, and I have more pictures and some videos of a couple of great shots, and the end march, which is one of my favorite parts of Timbers matches. We played fairly well on Thursday, and with our match on Saturday, we dominated the second half of the game but couldn't put the ball in the goal. But I'm optimistic that our team will do better, because we have depth at most positions and we have skill and creativity that we haven't had in a while. The goals will come in time, I'm sure.

I also enjoyed seeing a lot of folks in the shed that I hadn't seen in a while, and it was great to see the Cheerful Bullpen and Bitter End pubs full of Timbers Army. The sea of green is always a site to see, and we get to do it again today with another match versus Carolina.

Thursday was also special because Girl's birthday was Wednesday, and our Row N crew took care of her with drinks and attention all night. We have some of the most amazing friends, and it was great to see them honor her and she appreciated it a lot. Birthdays can be a stressful time, but it's nice to see friends do nice things because they care. I got her a collection of tulips on Wednesday with a special card, but she also got a neat flower to put in her hair from Sele, and the remaining Row N folks poured on the suds. She's doing pretty well now, and we even have evidence of our picture with her happy face. We are the famous Row N Infantry.....

I'll have more to post this weekend, but for now, that's all I have. Peace out, and enjoy the spring time weather.

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