Game Day by BlazerDancer Lindsay
For a typical Blazer fan, the game day experience lasts for a couple of hours once you factor in commute time, grabbing a bite to eat, and the actual game itself. But for the BlazerDancers, it’s all of that, plus a whole lot more. Game day is one big production and there is so much that goes into the preparation. However, our days begin much like any ordinary day.
Being a BlazerDancer is a part-time gig, meaning that we all have full-time lives outside of dance. Some dancers have full- or part-time jobs, while others are students or applying to post-graduate programs. So on game days, we have to juggle our everyday life with our dance life. I have a full-time job, so I start my day like a normal work day (albeit with a bit more adrenaline), but I leave my office early to head to the Moda Center. We typically practice on the court three hours before tip-off, but it is not uncommon for girls to arrive at the arena much earlier, because we have a few things we must do before practice even starts.
The first order of business when we arrive is to check our bags—suitcases, rather—to ensure that we have packed everything we need. Our extensive packing list varies from game to game, but it usually includes numerous different boots and sneakers, five or six different costumes, and a wealth of hair and makeup supplies. If we realize we have forgotten something, we have a couple hours to arrange for a friend or family member to bring it to us. Needless to say, bag checks are a little nerve-wracking because no one wants to be the person who forgot something!
Once all of our costumes and shoes have been accounted for, we start stretching and gearing up for practice. Our pregame court rehearsals are our last opportunity to practice before the game, so we want to make sure we are completely focused. This is especially important because there are many distractions on the court during this time—players are warming up, media personnel are coming to and from, and of course basketballs are bouncing, well, everywhere. Amongst the chaos, we set all of our spots on the court and run through our routines multiple times.
After practice, it’s time to eat dinner and get ready. This downtime is a great opportunity for us to unwind and catch up with each other, which is something I always look forward to on game days. On most game nights, a few dancers will have pregame appearances, like the Trail Blazers pregame television broadcast or suite visits. Meanwhile, the rest of us get in the zone by reviewing our dances and applying finishing touches (like our lucky sparkle dust). Then we head to the court for player intros and the game is officially underway! This is one of my favorite parts of the night and I still get chills every time I watch the opening video.
The remainder of the night is when all of our hard work is put into action. We perform one dance routine in the first half and one in the second half. Sometimes we will go out on the court during timeouts for contests or “hot timeouts” where we pump up the crowd. We also sprint back to our dressing room in between routines to change costumes or footwear. At any point in the game where we are not dancing, we are cheering on the sidelines and encouraging our passionate fans to be even louder. There is no better feeling in the world than when the energy in the arena is electric and Rip City is in full effect!
When the game concludes, we pack up all of our belongings in the dressing room, change into our normal clothes and call it a night. On very special occasions, we will have a spontaneous locker room dance party to celebrate a phenomenal win. Our coach posted one of these dance parties on social media last season and it is one of our most popular videos to date. It just goes to show that even after a long night of dancing, we still can’t stop dancing!
Although game days are long, I am running off of so much adrenaline that my exhaustion does not catch up with me until the next morning. When my alarm goes off for work, it’s back to the grind of a normal work day. It’s funny to think about how I transform from regular Lindsay, to BlazerDancer Lindsay, back to regular Lindsay all within a 24-hour timespan. While it is relieving to have a few days off in between home games, dancing for the Portland Trail Blazers is a dream come true, so I am always counting down the days until I get to do it all over again.
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