If you’re weary of my Trail Blazers posts, you’re welcome to stop reading right now–you won’t hurt my feelings, I swear. But as you know, I’ve documented extensively here on this web site about my whole Channing Frye thing. So figure that I owe it to y’all to keep you up-to-date on any breaking news. If you’ve been paying attention here you know that he’s my favorite Blazer not named Brandon Roy, that I was worried that my “Buffet of Goodness” screenprints that I made for Susan and I might be cursed, and that I think it would be awesome if he were Mayor of Portland.
And I think I’ve shared the back-story here before, but here’s a recap. Back in summer 2007, it was pretty obvious that the Trail Blazers weren’t going to re-sign my then-favorite Blazer, Ime Udoka (local guy). They also shipped off two other local guys to New York as part of a deal to get rid the nightmare that was Zach Randolph. I was pretty tweaked out that I didn’t have anyone to root for–I love the star players, but I’ve had a lifelong habit of rooting for some player who is not a star that I really like (who will then, in turn, get traded sooner rather than later). It’s not intentional, it just sort of happens organically. Anyway… In that aforementioned deal, Channing Frye came to Portland. I was listening to the radio (I’m old school that way) when he did one of his first interviews where he was being very funny, slightly weird and actually mentioned a couple of neighborhoods he wanted to check out in Portland. Like actually in the city. Not the ‘burbs. I decided this guy had potential to be kind of cool. A few days later (my memory for the timetable here is foggy), we saw him wandering around the Pearl District (he’s very tall, so kind of hard to miss), staring up at the new buildings over on Lovejoy. I thought it was really cool that he wasn’t full of crap about being excited to check out the city, and wanting to live actually in Portland–a rarity for any Trail Blazer. I like to claim that I was the first Channing Frye fan in Portland (probably inaccurate, but whatever).
Shortly after that, I added a quotation from him to my Facebook profile (the “Buffet of Goodness” one) and started joking that I wanted to meet Channing Frye and tell him that I have a quote from him on my Facebook profile. I thought this was a really funny joke, okay. It was not serious. But, as these things do, the joke grew, I started arguing with a co-worker about how “awesome” Channing is, and basically began playing this silly role of Channing Frye fan. I decided that if I met Channing, I needed to tell him that I was glad that he liked Cadillac’s so much, since I was the one who commented on his blog that he should try it. Funnily enough, the whole Channing thing seems to have gone viral among people I know, because it seems like A LOT of my friends and family have come over to my way of thinking. Even my mom says things like, “I sure hope Nate [the coach] is nice to Channing, because he’s a good guy and he need a positive work environment in which to thrive.” (My mom’s very, very funny.) Josh, too, has become a fan, wincing every time Channing misses a shot. Susan has totally embraced Channing fandom and I think I’ve even got my friend Bryan cheering for Channing. Hell, just today, even Diane–who has never struck me as a big NBA fan–said that she’d vote for Channing for Mayor on my recommendation (Portland would probably need to annex a good part of Washington County to make that happen, but whatever.).
So I finally met him.
Because Michelle kept me from chickening out.
He seemed to think my “Channing for Mayor” shirt was hilarious (or at least did a good job of pretending). He shouted “Oh yeah!” and high fived me. (Actually I was the one who had to kind of reach high, he graciously low-fived me, since he’s like two feet taller than me.) He also used the word “awesome” at some point. It was all a blur. I forgot to show off the back, which has the “campaign slogan” of “Keepin’ Portland Weird.” Oh well.
I’ve actually never been one for tracking down famous people or whatever. I think because I’m a bit of a nerd, that it just seemed to me to be the grownup equivalent of wanting to hang with the popular kids or something. And the popular kids never liked me anyway. Back when we lived in New Mexico, I used to see Gene Hackman at Borders in Santa Fe all the time, he even held the door for me once, and never really talked to him. (Then again, what the hell do you say to Gene Hackman? My friend John once answered this question pretty well, actually, saying that if he ever met Gene he’d say, “Hoosiers changed my life.” [John: I don't know if you read this site, but if you do, you really did say this once, and it still makes me laugh every time I see anything about Gene Hackman or Hoosiers.]) There’s a lot of risk involved in meeting someone who, in the abstract, you think is awesome. What if they’re a jerk? Or have really bad B.O.? Or are just plain stupid? That would suck. I really appreciated Channing–in the minute or whatever we talked to him–being exactly like he seems in his blog, in interviews, etc. Outgoing, silly, engaged with the people around him and very Portland. That was a relief.
For the record, it was too crazy where we were at to mention the weird stuff that I’d planned on mentioning when I finally met the guy. And I’m thinking that would have been a little extreme, anyway.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming…
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