Love and basketball
Reliving past glories with Blazer resurgence
May 6, 2014
(Stephanie Baker/ N-R Sales Representative) With so much interest in the Portland Trail Blazers, who have made it to round two of the NBA playoffs for the first time in 14 years, I find myself watching the games again.
I hadn’t really followed the team since the Bill Walton years, when they won it all in 1977. It was a magical time for all Oregonians, but especially for a skinny, nearsighted pubescent with a mouth full of tin — a 15-year-old in the 9th grade.
Why was it so special? Two words: Dave Twardzik.
He was a starting guard for the Blazers, and I was convinced he was everything I wanted in a man. He was cute, funny, hardworking, Catholic and part Polish. For a girl who had never been kissed by a boy or even gone on a date, it was everything you could possibly ask for.
I was sick of always going to school dances stag and staying home Friday nights to watch “The Love Boat.” Finally, I had someone who was mine – if only in my mind.
I loved him from afar. I watched his every move on court and memorized all his stats.
It didn’t matter that he was 27 and married. Those were mere technicalities. In my pretend world, he was single, available and completely infatuated with me.
I etched his name in every one of my desks in junior high. There were variations: “Dave Twardzik,” “Mr. and Mrs. Dave Twardzik” and even “Steffi Twardzik.”
I didn’t care that I was defacing school property. I wanted to shout to the world my love for my idol.
I probably would’ve graduated to lockers or bathroom walls had Mrs. Milligan not announced during the Haiku portion of poetry class that whoever was ruining the desks needed to stop it right now.
When the Blazers won it all on June 5, it was the perfect day in my perfect world. I still remember everything about it.
You can’t get back moments like that. They’re once in a lifetime happenings.
I’m now middle-aged and menopausal. I’m lucky if I meet a man who hasn’t committed a felony or gotten behind on his child support.
When I’m feeling old, when I’m feeling life is over for me, I look at the little Dave Twardzik Christmas ornament I made out of dough. It still hangs on my shelf.
That makes me think back to that special year in my life when a man I’d never even met made me feel pretty, smart and popular, even if I was the only one who knew it. Rip City!
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