POR-TRAILBLAZERS-vs.-HOU-ROCKETSThe sport of competition can be brutal. From the days of the loser leave town matches of pro wrestling’s heyday to the best of 7 playoff basketball series, if you’re lucky, they won’t be for the faint of heart.

If you’re lucky, every moment will be spent on the edge of one’s seat with nails wedged completely in between one’s teeth all the while your heart is beating at the speed of light.

In Portland, as we celebrated our first playoff series win in 14 years against a team no one gave a shot at even having a chance against, the same applied. The entire series was nip and tuck.

As a lifelong Portland resident, it felt good to have a basketball team back on the floor that I can get excited about. It’s been too long since our heyday of the early 90’s when the Blazers made multiple runs.

But something was different about this particular playoff series. To be certain and in the eyes of many, each team had their own set of heroes and villains. Just watching the games while scrolling the Twitter feed made that apparent. But isn’t all that part of the sport of competition?

Certainly, I too made my share of posts in the heat of the game about Howard, Harden, Parsons, Lin, and others. Just stop them already I cried.

But something was different this time. For every virtually impossible shot James Harden made, I couldn’t get mad. With every second chance board Chandler Parsons got… I just couldn’t bring myself to completely lose it. How can this be? Right then, in this series and in that moment… they were my sworn enemy. (Wait, I thought this was just a game?)

But why? What held me back? Why do I (as a Blazer fan) respect the Houston Rockets? Is it the unstoppable force of Dwight Howard? The beard of James Harden and his knack for making shots when it seems there were no shots at all? Is it…

Meet Sam.

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This is the entire Houston Rockets team hanging out with a young man from Portland that they have taken under their wing. His name is Sam. Sam has been battling a form of cancer called Ewings Sarcoma.

It is a rare pediatric sarcoma that affects thousands, but gets lost in terms of funding and support among the many other “big” cancers. Sam, now 12, has been battling this since the age of 9. Recently the cancer has returned. (Info credit from Sam Day Challenge)

The sport of competition can be brutal. But to a young man fighting cancer, this isn’t a sport. This is real life. Knowing the Houston Rockets have been a huge support to Sam long before this series took place sealed the deal for me. What’s even more special is that in a world of trumpeting causes to boost one’s image, you haven’t seen anything on this story from the Houston Rockets. This is not about boosting their image. This is about relationship. This is real. Not a PR campaign.

Time out..

Before you read further. I want you to take just a few brief moments and get to know Sam. Please watch this…

All I could see was….

As a lifelong diehard Blazer fan cheering for them and getting emotionally drawn in by the games, all I could see in my mind was the Rockets hanging out with Sam the whole series and thinking about the wonderful support they have given Sam and his family. In the end, how can you root against that? In the end, how can you not be inspired by that?

Certainly, I was in the mix of social media rooting for the Blazers, but for every post I made, Sam always crossed my mind. And if I had made a post in the midst of sheer emotion that I felt was not okay, I pulled it. As emotionally wrapped up in the game as I would get, I would get even more emotionally wrapped up from posts made by Sam’s mom with regards to Sam’s heartbreak for every Rockets loss and excitement for every Rockets win.

I want to thank the Houston Rockets for their support of Sam and I want to invite anyone who might read this blog post to follow suit. Watch the video, take action, and share the video with your family and friends.

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I love this picture of the Rockets with Sam. I saw this in my mind the entire series. I couldn’t shake it. It got me thinking, what if we all were on the court with Sam?

The sport of competition is brutal, but it wouldn’t have a chance if each one of us stepped onto the court in support of Sam.

But then again, this isn’t a sport. It’s real life. You can make a difference.

Also, if you feel so inclined, I would invite you to please consider..

  • If you got here from a tweet, please consider retweeting
  • If you got here from a Facebook post, please consider sharing the post

***not for me, but for Sam and all those battling Ewings Sarcoma

#TeamSam

** The two pictures of the Houston Rockets with Sam were used in this post with the permission of Sam’s family.

 

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5 responses »

  1. Diane says:

    I enjoyed your article and the story – Please correct your spelling of you’re in the first two paragraphs.

    • @gunnarsimonsen says:

      Thank you. Funny. Sometimes you just type as fast as you think and then re read a bunch of times and still can miss the most obvious of correction needs. Thanks friend.

  2. Julie says:

    Even though it has come up on my Facebook page many times I have never been brave enough to watch the “I Am Sam” video because I know of his family from church. I am not a basketball fan but the Rockets will forever hold a special place in my heart for their support of Sam and his incredible family. Thank you for sharing.

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