It's hard to overstate the generosity displayed by readers of SB Nation's Portland Trail Blazers team site. For the ninth year running these fans came together to share their love of the Blazers and the pure joy of attending an NBA game with 2,000 local kids and their chaperones.
Site editor-in-chief Dave Deckard once again donated his time and efforts towards organizing all aspects of Blazer's Edge Night so his community of readers have the opportunity to give back to younger fans who otherwise might not be able to attend a game.
"Many kids across the Portland area don't get the chance to experience that communal gathering in the same way because they can't afford tickets. Those of us who have enjoyed the experience over the years are passing on the opportunity to them, making sure that economic divides don't separate the next generation of fans from the greater community and the chance to share their stories as well," Deckard explained.
The event has become a staple in the Portland community and is only possible thanks to Dave's dedication to raising the funds and coordinating with the local organizations who reach out every year for the opportunity to participate.
Reactions range from jumping for joy to crying. Those are echoed in classrooms and gyms across Oregon and Southwest Washington as the folks who contact us get to tell their kids that they ALL get to go to the game. Every year we hear stories of groups taking buses and MAX, shuttling to the Moda Center, standing wide-eyed and excited as they redeem the tickets, then shouting and stamping their way through the game, win or lose. The experience is incredible.
This year, the kids were treated to a Blazer's victory over the Sacramento Kings and a special pregame opportunity on the same court used by their sporting heroes.
Deckard has set a goal of 3,000 tickets for the 10th anniversary of Blazer's Edge Night in 2017. We have no doubt they will hit that target.
Here's some of the feedback sent by parents and participating community organizations.
The following is a partial list of Portland area organizations that participated in the 2016 Blazer's Edge Night:
Portland Public Schools
Boys and Girls Club Margaret Scott
Boys and Girls Club Meyer
Youth Progress Foster Care
Boys and Girls Club Parkrose School District
Boys and Girls Club Inukai
Boys and Girls Club (Various)
Foster Parents Night Out
Reynold's Learning Academy
Royal Family Kids Camp Hope Albany Inc.
Campfire Columbia Lane Middle School
Rose Community Development Corp.
Iglesia Bautista Cristo Vive, in Salem
First Place School (Seattle)
The Next Door
Covington Middle School
McKay HS Baseball
Franklin Girls' Basketball
African Youth and Community Organization
Christian Community Placement Center
West Women and Children's Shelter
St. Paul Middle/High School
Emotional Growth Center Conestoga Middle School
Polk Adolescent Day Treatment Center
Jefferson County Middle School Wellness Club
Northwest Family Services
Walt Morey Middle School
Children's Relief Nursery
Clear Creek Middle School
Village Baptist Church(Hispanic Fellowship)
Southlake Church/Roosevelt High School
We here at SB Nation are so proud of the Blazer's Edge community and the leadership of Dave Deckard. You are an inspiration to us all!