Here at Pacific, and at most college campuses for that matter, students are encouraged to share their own cultures with others, and in turn, reciprocate by being open to new experiences one may not encounter outside of the college setting; this is how we grow.

Fortunately for us, Pacific has little shortage of diverse cultural experiences that offer a unique perspective into the lives of those whose lifestyles differ from that of our own.  From the heralded Luau coming up shortly to the medieval-themed Mensch Festival in the fall, students are given a wide array of interesting activities through which they can experience life outside of the Northwest.

But what do we from the Northwest have to share back?  Piss-poor weather and sexual innuendo-themed doughnuts are the first to come to mind, but neither of those come close to competing with a fully-choreographed fire dance or horseback jousting bouts.  Oregon does have the highest number of strip clubs per capita than any other state, but that’s not really what I mean.

There must be something beyond trendy clothing exchanges, and an affinity for anything on two wheels that sets Portland apart from the rest of the world.   I pondered this question for quite some time, but I finally settled on something any Portlander would be proud the call their own:

The Trail Blazers.

I realize that Portland is obviously not the only city with an NBA team, let alone a professional sports franchise, and that every city probably thinks that their own team is the hottest ticket in town.  But, when it comes down to relentless loyalty, I’d pick Blazer fans over just about any fan base in the world.  (Except maybe Manchester United, those guys are crazy.)

Don’t believe me? If you are new to the area, just take a stroll up the eastside waterfront and count how many photos of Brandon Roy you find; or walk inside a Buffalo Wild Wings after tip-off and try to find a decent table.  Not as easy as you would think.

Besides the Timbers, a newly instated MLS franchise that will kick-off for the first time in April, the Blazers have been the only game in town for 40 years, and in that time the team has endeared itself to the city like few others.

Admittedly, it’s been a tough decade for fans who have been forced to endure one head-scratching slip-up after another; be it Sebastian Telfair sneaking a handgun onto the team jet, Zach Randolph being spotted at a local strip club during bereavement leave, (with so many how could you blame him!) or Damon Stoudamire learning the hard way not to bring pot through airport security.  But finally, Portland has managed to shed the “Jail Blazer” stigma while establishing a team with a legitimate chance at winning.

So far this season, Portland has overcome injuries to star players Greg Oden and Roy to compete for a playoff spot among a crowded Western Conference.  LaMarcus Aldridge    has emerged as an All-Star caliber power forward while recently acquired Gerald Wallace attempts to fit into an already cohesive squad.  The way Portland has structured itself has it poised for one of the most successful stretches in recent franchise history, and it would be a shame to miss.

So Pacific, if you long for a local experience that doesn’t involve hipsters, cities of books and public nudity, why not pick up a ticket for a good old-fashioned basketball game?  Most seats are quite affordable and the Max line goes straight to the Rose Garden.  I guarantee that you will have the time of your life.

Just be sure to purchase your tickets well beforehand, as these have the habit of selling out quick.

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