My two favorite photos that I took on the tour.
Spontaneous laughter, photo no. 1
Spontaneous laughter, photo no. 2
Let me tell you the story.
As part of this season-ticket-holder event, Player Development Director Hersey Hawkins welcomed our small group into a room by thanking us for coming inside the Rose Garden Arena on a beautiful Portland Saturday afternoon.
One of us, a retired lady who evidently has been a season ticket holder for years and whom he recognized as having been to other events where he explained what he does for players, replied, "It was this or weed."
"Weed?" he asked, confusion all over his face. In a split second, the entire room erupted in loud guffaws and belly laughs, tears in numerous eyes as we continued to laugh for what seemed like a very long time as we realized she meant weed the flower beds and he thought she meant the colloquial, slang definition of the word which, obviously, he had great difficulty connecting with her persona.
So, I say a gigantic thank you to a couple of basketball-loving-Portlanders--Hersey and the lady--for the chance to take these photos of blissfully spontaneous laughter. Look at Hersey and see our laughter. He soon got down to business and explained his job is to help players deal with the nitty-gritty, down-to-earth realities of an NBA career.
The description of the event: Rip City United is excited to host you and a guest on Saturday, July 27th for a special look Behind the Pinwheel. Learn from the team behind the players; our Trail Blazers staff! Featuring an interactive tour of the team locker room, the broadcast and production studios and the exclusive Sphere Lounge, you’ll hear all about what goes on behind the scenes here at the Rose Garden Arena, home of the Portland Trail Blazers. We look forward to honoring you, our loyal Season Ticket Holders, with this unique experience.
Here are a few other photos from the tour. Enjoy!
The sign that greeted us at the arena door.
My photo of a photo often seen by us fans, up on the Jumbo-tron before our Portland Trail Blazers left the locker room area and ran through the tunnel onto the court.
On-air play-by-play TV announcers, Mike Rice, yours truly, Mike Barrett in the broadcast studio. Well, I'm not an on-air play-by-play TV announcer, but you knew that already.
In the players' locker room, Todd Bosma, Director of Game Operations, regaled us with details about each home game and all that it takes to get it done, from when we're greeted by PA announcer Mark Mason until there is no time left on the game clock. He's a really nice guy whom I've visited with for a few moments at other Trail Blazers' events. If I remember right, he said that each game has a 39-page script!
While listening to Todd, I sat in #88's chair!
Locker room ceiling--the Pinwheel, a graphic representation of five-on-five, the nitty-gritty of basketball, no matter the venue.
We walked past the shower room. Look at the height of those nozzles!
During the season, one is filled with warm water, one with cool water. I don't know the temperatures, though, just those single word descriptions.
The weight room. My dream, to go there while they're working out! I know, I'm crazy.
Former Trail Blazers' locker room name plates fill the left side of the door. Do you see a former favorite? I do, more than one, truth be told.
Sweet. We're welcome here!
The production studio. Looks like something else, right? Well, it is, but it's not the game-broadcast studio. That's always done from a remote truck, even at home games, which is outside the arena in the loading dock, filled with much, much more equipment and a whole lotta people. Some of the this team travels with the players and coaches and uses a rental truck to broadcast away games. So cool.
It was such a treat to hear this man explain the broadcast process. I think his name is Chris, but I cannot remember for sure, doggone it. Before we left the studio, I got to say thanks to him in person for all of the great home and away games that Mama and I got to watch on our TV in our top-floor apartment in NW Portland, before she died in January, 2011. Then I showed him my "I heart Mom" button and said, "I bring her to every game!" We both smiled.
On our way to our last stop, I paused to take a photo of the quiet arena. First pre-season game, sometime in October, here I come!
Sphere, our last stop. An area exclusive to Trail Blazers' sponsors, it's where we got to partake of food items from the new food and beverage company for the Rose Garden Arena and the Rose Quarter, Levy Restaurants.A quote about this event: "We are thrilled to dive into the eclectic local culinary scene to capture the spirit and flavors of this truly trail-blazing region," Levy President and CEO Andy Lansing said in a statement.
My delicious food items. As best I understood it, these won't be for sale on the concourse at the vendors, but the vendors will be offering more locally influenced food choices, as well as healthier ones. I'm very interested in checking that out, just as soon as the preseason begins.