Longtime Blazers fan finally attends 1st game

Longtime Blazers fan finally attends 1st game


by Reggie Aqui

Bio | Email | Follow: @reggieaqui


Posted on March 21, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 21 at 6:00 PM

PORTLAND -- Ninety-year-old Mary Ellen Groen has been to Europe three times, lived in Alaska for three months but until Tuesday, the loyal and longtime Blazers fan had never seen the team live.

Groen says she's been a fan of the team since the franchise was founded back in 1970, and watches the games religiously on TV. But in more than 40 years, she'd never seen a game in person.

"Well, nobody offered to bring me before," she told KGW's Reggie Aqui. "I live in Eastern Oregon, John Day, it's way out in the boonies."

How big a fan is Groen? According to a family member, Groen has a friend that is a Blazer fan and they call to remind each other that the game is on TV before the game, and call to discuss how the game is going at halftime, and then rehash the game when it is over.

Her family stepped up to get her to Tuesday's game in Portland, said niece Jerri Bronson, part of a conversation that began at Mary Ellen's latest birthday party.

Mary Ellen was surprised by how loud the Rose Garden can be.

"She took her hearing aids out," Bronson said, "so it's not as loud for her as it is for us."

How about those seats just a few rows up from surprise visitor Brandon Roy?

"Well actually," Mary Ellen said, "you're further away from the play here than on the TV."

She also got a visit from former player Jerome Kersey, who loaded her up with signed Blazer goodies.

"Long standing fans like that," Kersey said, "is what our team has always thrived on, and it's great that she came all the way from John Day to enjoy this night in the arena and watch a good game."

Mary Ellen liked the Rose Garden, but said she'll go back to following the Blazers from her home.

Perhaps now a Timbers match at JELD-WEN Field?

No, Mary Ellen told Aqui. She doesn't want to watch a bunch of guys kick each other in the shins.