The Blazer season is upon is. If it were any other year, this sentence would surely be followed by 5 proud exclamation points. The Portland Trail Blazers are my favorite sports team and my history as a fan dates back to when I still wet my bed at night (I’ll let you be the judge of that one). However, this season’s commencement sends bittersweet sensations down my spine. Although the season has just begun, I’ve already experienced a deep loss. It hurts my heart to type this out, but I feel it’s best for the grieving process if everyone knows; my black, retro, one of a kind, throwback, Portland Trail Blazer sweatshirt has gone missing. Now I know what you are thinking…“Are you serious? it’s just a sweatshirt, get a new one.” And that’s where you are terribly mistaken. This sweatshirt resembles a culmination of childhood memories that I hold near and dear to my heart. As fate would have it, I stumbled across this sweatshirt at a garage sale. It’s my go-to sweatshirt on game days and it accompanies me on all my travels as a reminder of my roots. It’s truly irreplaceable. I try to distract myself from this loss, but with the Blazer season officially underway, it hasn’t been easy.
Before I arrived in Australia, I made a conscious effort to keep track of my belongings. My failure to do so has left me deeply disappointed in myself. This sweatshirt consumes the third highest percentage of my thoughts, just behind what I’m going to have for dinner and my dog Jake. I’ve been on a search and rescue mission for weeks now. I announced my loss to the team, asking if they had seen my beloved sweatshirt anywhere. They all stared back at me as if I had a huge pimple on my face. One teammate broke the silence, “Do you mean a jumper?”
I had forgotten to translate my question into Australian, as sweatshirt is equivalent to a jumper. I have to give it to the Australians here, I don’t know why we would call an article of clothing a sweatshirt. It literally sounds like a garment that is used for the sole purpose of perspiration. Yet a sweatshirt is actually meant for the exact opposite affect, to to be worn in times when you are in need of warmth. Foolish Americans. Anyhow, none of them had seen it. I’ve traced my steps from practice, to car rides, to day excursions, to the park. The park has proved to be the ultimate tease on this endeavor. I’ve come across multiple sweatshirts hanging on trees and fences, each time experiencing a rush of hope, only to get closer, and see that it is not my beloved garment. Despite my failure, I have faith that my sweatshirt and I will be reunited once again. Allow me to explain to you how.
Australians like to leave their unused belongings on the side of the road. In America, people also leave things outside their houses, but not at the frequency and volume as they do here. Sofas, barbecues, bedside tables, coffeemakers, blowdryers, denture cleaner…you name it and it’s bound to be lying outside waiting to be taken. In order to get to the library, grocery store, and bank, we have to walk 20 minutes up and down, but mostly up, hills. The trek is just short enough to make it feel worthwhile, but if the sun is shining (which it almost always is) you’re guaranteed to reach the top all hot and bothered, and in need of a shower. However, the various items dispersed alongside the sidewalk makes these walks like a real-world scavenger hunt. The roads leading to the main street are a like a labyrinth, with multiple different routes that can be taken to end up at the same spot. I’ve developed a personal favorite route, which involves frolicking through a lovely park overlooking the water. However, some days I get a giddy feeling in my stomach and mix it up in hopes that I’ll stumble upon my sweatshirt.
Sadly, I’ve had no such luck, but my house has discovered a few other hidden treasures. We have collected a beanie bag and a pull-out lounge chair, which are the perfect items to finish off our tv area. If I’m being honest, I haven’t attempted to sit in either one yet. Although we vacuumed and sanitized the lounge chair, it still has some speculative stains that could very likely contain some sort of lice, syphilis or other contagious disease. I don’t want to risk it. But, there are two items I was extremely pleased about discovering.
The other day, I was on my way to kick the ball around at the park and right in front of our house, were the best gifts I’ve come across during my stay here: kid’s size Razor scooters, one pink and the other blue. Jackpot! I imagined myself mobbing down the grocery store hills, aviators on, the breeze in my hair, not a care in the world. These traveling vehicles would save us loads of time and energy, making lugging groceries down the hill easier than an EZ bake oven (whatever happened to those magical devices?) I grabbed both scooters and hurried inside to show Keelin my discovery. She was equally thrilled. The park I was going to was just down the street, so I stored the scooters in the back, eagerly anticipating the time they would came in handy. A few days later, that time came.
On this particular day, Hannah was visiting her cousin before practice and was stuck in traffic on her way back to scoop me from the house. She asked if I could save us some time and walk 25 minutes to meet her where we turn to get on the highway. I was a bit crunched for time, but then I realized I had the scooters! With a newfound vigor, I agreed and reverse calculated that it’d take me 15 minutes to scooter, 5 minutes to change into my practice gear, 30 minutes to roast my sweet potatoes and chicken, and 10 minutes to prepare my sweet potatoes and chicken. So that left me with 3 minutes to take a tinkle before I reversed this process. After completing these tasks, I grabbed my cleat bag, slid on my aviators, and went out back to procure my scooter.
I chose the blue one because it matched my outfit and then headed out the door ready to mob down the hills on this gorgeous day. I placed the scooter on the ground and started chugging along. I got about 5 strides in when my plans changed drastically. My scooter wheel got caught in a divot, causing me to face-plant into the ground. My aviators went flying across the street as I attempted to cushion my fall with my hands. I failed, scraping my hands severely and leaving me sprawled out across the street. It was one of those moments that you wish your friends were there to laugh along with you, even though secretly you were writhing in pain from the stinging sensations of your hands and knees. But what was even more upsetting than the pain and the lack of my friends’ presence, was the realization that my expectations for these scooters were far too high. I would have to continue my future neighborhood adventures the old fashioned walking way.
After lying face down on the ground for about 20 seconds, I decided it was time to accept defeat and move on with my life. I got up to collect my aviators, to see that there actually was someone who had witnessed my epic fall. My neighbor was watching the entire time. He asked if I was alright. I joked, “Ya I might be a little to big for these things, I think I’ll just walk.” It would have been nice if he came to my rescue earlier, but I didn’t hold it against him.
I ditched the scooter and succumbed to meeting Hannah by foot. On that walk, I did some self-reflecting. I asked myself, would I give up my sweatshirt in exchange for this Australia trip? After a few minutes of deep consideration, I resolved that the answer is a definite yes.
I must live in the present, enjoy every moment, and after that scooter fall, I am just happy to be alive. I know there is more to life than an article of clothing, even something as special as a black retro throwback Portland trailblazers sweatshirt. Every day is a new day and I have plenty of other things to be grateful for. With that said, I just want my damn sweatshirt back. I’m not giving up on my search and I plan on finding my pride and joy amongst the piles of my neighbor’s “trash” before I leave. If anyone has any suspicions of potential culprits please please let me know. I’ll be forever indebted to you. In the meantime, I’m going to keep my eyes peeled on all future endeavors and will let you know when my sweatshirt is safe and sound back in my hands.