Sonics Guy’s Southern Pilgrimage: Portland vs. Oklahoma City

February 6th: Big day ahead, but no set plans but to be at the rally.

My plans for today were to leave around 9 AM. Head to Portland just after rush hour to avoid traffic and get to Portland around 11 AM. Then get some lunch and spend a leisurely afternoon at Powell’s Books and hit Voodoo Donut. I also thought I would just buy a ticket when I was down there. Well you know how the best laid plans go. I texted my buddy Jason, he said he would like to tag along, I was like “the more the merrier.” I was now in a holding pattern as he got a hold of another buddy named Dan who might also want to head on down.

Well lo and behold in just the span of 20 minutes I went from not having a ticket and driving myself to having a ticket, getting a ride, going with 2 friends. I felt like Hannibal on the show A-Team ” I love it when a plan comes together!”

On the way to Portland we stopped at Burgerville in Centralia. This is a top choice joint with great burgers that use real Tillamook Cheese, sweet milkshakes too. From their it was straight onto Portland. What’s interesting to me about Portland is they are using public transportation and bikes in a way Seattle aspires to. It was nice seeing a light rail train FULL of passengers.

We descended on the Powell’s Books. I could spend several days in here just wandering around the place, fortunately for us we had a rally to go to and kept our visit short.

As we parked by the Arena we were able to get parking on the street, another score!

As I headed to the Arena I was hopeful about various news articles that were saying a new team is just around the corner would buy attendance, thereby ensuring a sea of Greeen and Gold.

We got to the Rose Garden around 5:15 seeing other people sporting Sonics Gear me made feel good, knowing that other people still cared, and that I wasn’t the only one holding the memory of the Sonics dear. Jeff Brown and David M. Brown Co-Founders of Bring Back Our Sonics who I’m proud to be a member of were some of the first to show, we milled around as other assembled taking pictures and getting odd stares from the Blazers faithful. As the rally grew we went to the front of the Rose Garden for maximum exposure by this time Big Lo and Ty from Homers Apparel (He has some great Sonics shirts by the way,check them out.) showed up. We did a few chants of “SUPER-SSOOONNNICCSSS!!!” posed for some more pictures.

The good thing about being right in front of the lines of people clamoring to get in they have to listen to what you have to say, the bad thing is with the early darkness and cold weather our actual rally that was supposed to start at 6 was almost over before it started as some Sonics fans went inside as soon as the doors opened. We that were still outside did a few more chants. Once inside my friends and I decided to continue the rally inside walking around the concourse.

Suck it David Stern.

What really astounded me was the numerous staff members working at the Rose Garden who were wondering why so many fans were dressed in Sonics Gear. They didn’t realize that the Sonics were the old Thunder.

As we made our passes around the Arena upstairs and down, we experienced the gamut of comments from the very positive to the downright mean. People sometimes can say some mean cruel things, but they can also be very supportive especially when they know your intentions, especially the part where we wouldn’t cheer for the Thunder.

As we settled into to our seats I was able to see the Sonicsgate guys, Big Lo, and Ty behind the Thunder bench. They were great raising the flags and signs during timeouts, my buddies and I followed suit. At halftime we walked around the concourse gathering more comments, photos ops and support. Down on the first level we were interviewed by the local Portland sports show Talkin Ball. Of course I asked when is the I-5 rivalry is going to come back with us getting a team. My friend Ian, who works on the show, said it made it on the air.

I’ve been to two Thunder games before this one at the Rose Garden and this is the first time where I’ve actively cheered for the Blazers on offense, typically the last two games I went to I only cheered for the Blazers when they were on Defense, but as I thought about Nate McMillian “Mr. Sonic” coaching, and Jamal Crawford supporting them against the Thunder became easier. One of the things that dismayed me was the most was for the first time I noticed the amount of Durant Thunder jerseys was equal to the amount of Sonics followers, but I guess people grieve in different ways. The game was simply amazing with plenty of see-saw action, due to a bad goal-tending call the game went to Overtime where the Thunder took over.

After the game a guy in a Sonics Ewing Jersey extended his hand for a High-Five, kindly gave him five, just to be polite, but didn’t feel good about it. With all the news coming out about a possibly new arena, and by extension us getting a new team, I will stay positive about our message. Lets get a new Team, and Thank You Sonics Nation!

P.S. On a positive note the Blazers scored 100 points which meant everyone got a free Chalupa from Taco Bell.

Only in Portland.