Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inconsequential Tales of Blazer-Fan Interaction: Uncle Cliffy

As a consequence of recent positive franchise developments, signs of rabid Portland Trailblazer fandom creeping back into the city can be seen everywhere. You notice little things like Blazer talk on the bus and more people wearing team gear. You notice big things like people greeting Rudy Fernandez at the airport, or chanting DEE-FENSE at preseason games. Also on the rise are the number of people excitedly telling stories of seeing players out in public. Most of these are along the lines of "I saw Martell Webster at Cheesecake Factory!" or "Greg Oden was buying video games at Best Buy!" These stories are lame. But some stories, while just as inconsequential, strike me as potentially funny. It is these stories that will make up this space filling blog feature. Some of these tales are from my experiences, some have been told to me. All will be told in third person, because third person is awesome and I am a pussy. I'll probably add some exaggeration for your entertainment. Actually, just to be on the safe side, assume they are all fake. If you have any personal accounts that could be used as inspiration, send them in.

Cliff Robinson is one of a small group of players that will forever be golden in Rip City. A second-rounder, he played his first eight seasons here and was a key member of those elite teams of the early nineties. More than a few fans used to wear headbands to the games just like Cliff. At half-time they would change to a different color headband, just like Cliff. That is love.

Our fan grew up in that environment of Uncle Cliffy love. But this was far from his thoughts as he stepped into a Portland nightclub on a Saturday night in early 2008. Naturally, his mind was more on obtaining drinks and the attention of women.

He stepped into the club and noticed the usual crowd. It was that kind of young douchey top 40 club, and he fit right in. Like most young douchey top 40 clubs in Portland, most the patrons seemed to either be White or Asian, and nearly all under the age of twenty-five. He met up with friends inside and had a few rounds, catching up on very important current events issues like who had sex last night.

Once the group's thirst for imbalance was satisfied, they noticed Gucci Mane's Freaky Gurl Remix coming through the speakers. This was important. At this particular period of American History, young males had learned that this was the song to hit the dancefloor to. It was a hit with the intoxicated women and seemed to give them some type of self-fullfilling prophecy.

Our fan began dancing with a pleasantly plump female patron on the edge of the crammed dance floor. She was lip synching the song's lyrics, moving well, and all seemed right in the Universe. The song concluded and the DJ threw on "Kiss" by Prince. A strange choice considering the preceding song, but not totally unwanted.

In fact hearing these songs back to back was somewhat startling to our fan. He paused and tried to gain his bearings, his mind calculating all necessary swag adjustments. Then a coat hit him. No, it was a suit jacket. He turned to see who would swing a jacket around on the dance floor so recklessly. Discovering the culprit proved more confusing to his senses than the Gucci Mane/Prince combo.

It was...Cliff Robinson? He continued to stare in disbelief. There was no doubt, you could not miss the man in such a setting. A bulky, 6'10 Black middle-aged man contrasted quite a bit. Not to mention that he had been worshiped by our fan, who was now frozen in shock.

Our fan retreated to a position where he could appreciate the scene. Cliff was rolling with a group of similarly aged male and female friends, and he was absolutely going nuts on the dance floor. Through the next three to five songs Cliff busted out the air-bass, yes, the air-bass. Air. Bass. Imagine a guy doing this (1:50 mark) without holding an actual bass. Now subtract some rhythm and picture a 6'10 guy doing it. There you go.

What would you do in such a context? Our fan left the dance floor and retreated to the bar. There he remained until closing time, but some things cannot be unseen. Upon exiting the establishment, he noticed Cliff off to left, drenched in sweat.

"Ay Cliff, shoulda wore your headband! AhhhhHAHAHA!" A random young man yells with delight. Cliff doesn't respond, opting instead to talk with a few friends. Our fan walks off into the night. "That was bullshit that Cliff never got the respect he deserved," he mutters. It sure was.

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