Another night living the rockstar life

Sports commentary

Don’t hate me because I have connections.

Don’t fault me for spewing another “look at me” story about my big-time small-town sports writer’s life.

Don’t be upset because I planned three months ahead for Michael Jordan’s final visit to the Rose Garden.

And, most of all, please don’t blame me for having the night of my life Tuesday night.

All disclaimers aside, Tuesday’s Blazers-Wizards matchup was truly a night for the ages. A night that I can barely summarize into words, but also a night so spectacular that I’d be cheating myself and the readers if I didn’t at least share some of the fun.

More than just the spectacle of watching the best player in NBA history, Tuesday was my night to step onto the professional sports stage in a way I never had before. But I didn’t design it that way.

Due to the media frenzy surrounding the game, the Blazers were only able to grant the Hood River News one media pass. This meant that I was alone on sports’ biggest stage for the first time in my career.

I usually have Jim Semlor, our staff photographer, to back me up. He takes the pictures, I ask the questions. That’s the way I prefer it.

But that’s not how it happened Tuesday. I had to wing it as a one-man show. And, while I was still included in the V.I.P. media club, I didn’t even have permission to be on the floor during the game.

How’s a guy supposed to get pictures if he can’t even be on the sidelines? Plenty of persistence, that’s what.

It didn’t hurt that I arrived two hours before tipoff, either. In fact, the pregame festivities are what made Tuesday night the night of all time for this sports writer.

As I took shoot-around photos of the players — mostly the reserves — I got to talking to a couple guys who were guests of the Blazers.

Ivory Manning, a shooting coach based out of Las Vegas, and Carlos Maxwell, a personal friend of Blazer guard Jeff McInnis, took me under their wing and taught me everything I needed to know about the NBA lifestyle.

In exchange, I took a couple photos of them with their buddies. Jerry Stackhouse, Juan Dixon, Zach Randolph, Derek Anderson, Qyntel Woods and McInnis all shook my hand and said, “What up, Dave?”

A couple of them even went as far as to ask, “who’s this guy?” Manning and Maxwell backed me up and explained that I was just a small-town newspaper guy doing my job.

I don’t think any of these players would remember me from Adam the next time we cross paths. But, in that world, I would never expect them to. All I know is, I got to meet ‘em.

Manning and Maxwell asked me if I would send them the photos, saying, “don’t forget us, you hear?” They even said they would call me if any extra tickets ever showed up.

That would be a nice surprise, but just like the players, I don’t expect these guys to remember me next time they’re in town.

Tickets or no tickets, Carlos and Ivory already made my year by introducing me to the players most fans only dream about meeting.

That little two-hour primer gave me enough confidence to walk up to the Blazers’ Ruben Patterson and say “hey.” Only problem was, it was during the official warm-ups, and that is an apparent no-no according to NBA code.

Security promptly advised me of the rules, and I snuck off to my seat. Oh well, I guess I still have a few things left to learn.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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