here at stormfans.org have been looking forward to this trip
since we first heard about it. Not only would we not have
to face driving back to Seattle ourselves at midnight, but
we would also be traveling with a pack of Storm fans. While
we havent been harassed by Fire fans in Portland, we
also havent felt like we can go all out like we do at
KeyArena. We are looking forward to going nuts tonight.
first, we have to get to the game. There seems to be some
confusion as to what exactly constitutes the Park n
Ride near Northgate Mall, the place we have been instructed
to meet. Not only are there parking lots o plenty around
the Mall, but there is a Transit Station, and 2 Park n
Ride lots. As it turns out, people are spread out all over
the place and have to be rounded up. To make things even more
confusing, the buses are parked in the Mall lot waiting until
they have to come pick us up. Karen Bryant zips in and tells
us to stay put (we are in the correct lot) while she goes
and collects everyone else.
the buses arrive, the Storm folks make sure to outfit everyone
with foam fingers, mini-coolers and beverages for the trip.
We choose our ride, Storm Bus 1 (out of 2), and take our seats.
Karen comes aboard, introduces to Bruce, our driver, and Whitney,
our leader. She admits that The buses havent even
left yet and its already an adventure. She isnt
going to ride with the buses, but is going to drive down in
her sporty moss colored Saab (speed limit, what speed limit?).
are hoping that we get some fan activity / spirit boosting
along the way, but we instead get to see Ferris Buellers
Day Off. While Matthew Broderick is funny, it seems
to be a missed opportunity that there really isnt any
community building on the way down to Portland.
We know that we probably could have done it ourselves, but
we didnt want to jump in if Whitney, our Storm rep,
had something planned. Next time, the last 45-30 minutes of
the trip ought to be set aside for something to get everyone
pumped for the game, like a Storm trivia contest, coming up
with some cheers for the game (although we did pretty well
on our own), or some other group activity to get things rocking.
the 3 hour 15 minute trip to Portland is fairly uneventful.
We do notice that Bruce tends to slow down every time we approach
a police officer who has already pulled someone else over.
Maybe he was following Karen and her Saab. Hey, we have to
get there on time. We get one fifteen minute pit-stop along
the way, and Bruce tells us that The difference between
a passenger and a hitchhiker is about 2 minutes.
we get to Portland, Whitney hands out our ticket and hotdog/drink
voucher and in we go.
go to the Gameday
for the game details.
the game, we meet out in front of the Rose Garden next to
the fountain (and flame pillars). After making sure everyone
is present, we are led down to the bowels of the stadium where
the visitors bus is parked. Once
we get down there, a rather gruff security guard points us
to the autograph pen where we can wait for the team. Its
too small to allow our entire 75-80 person group to fit, so
some have to stay out at the entrance.
and Simone are the first players that we see, and they come
over for high-fives, a few autographs, and, in Simones
case, lots of hugs. Simone climbs over the barricade and mingles
with the group. The Simone Zone group gets her off to the
side and then ambushes her with silly string. She gets a can
and reciprocates by shooting Lauren and then Kamila who has
just joined the crowd. Lauren gets another Aussie, aussie,
aussie, oi, oi, oi cheer, which gets us a smile and
a thumbs up.
comes out with a group (her family?) and leaves with them,
followed by Sonja. Katy, who is dressed in street clothes
the whole game and is supposed to be getting knee surgery
(we heard anyway), lives in Portland and isnt going
to travel with the team on the upcoming road trip. Sonja,
who also lives in Portland, leaves with two enormous ice bags
taped to her knees. Yikes. Its easy for us to take it
for granted that the players work hard, but we dont
often get to see the physical aftermath of a game. Those ice
bags made our knees hurt in sympathy.
Lauren gets on the bus, Tom Maher, coach of the Washington
Mystics and the Australian National Team, and Chamique Holdsclaw
come out to their car which is parked right next to us. Lauren
and Tom speak a little bit and Chamique comes over to sign
a couple of autographs.
Lovelace gets a Love lace, love lace cheer when
she comes out. The Rose Garden announcer continually mispronounced
her name during the game. Semeka gives some high fives on
her way to the bus as well.
one person that we dont get to see that we want to cheer
for is Jamie Redd. She was already on the bus by the time
we got there, so we didnt get a chance to let her know
how much we appreciated her fantastic second half performance.
A Jamie, Jamie chant starts up, but she doesnt
Storm bus, which thankfully is a lot nicer than ours (we certainly
dont have WNBA player leg room), eventually leaves to
the hoarse-throated cheers of the fans. We troop it back to
our own buses and its off to Seattle. By the time we
hit the Columbia river, the fireworks are in full bloom over
Ft. Vancouver. Pretty much all the way back, we see burst
of color from home-launched fireworks. Oh yeah, and we get
to see My Best Friends Wedding on the way
trip was a blast, no fireworks pun intended.