It's been a rough couple of days for the Portland Trail Blazers. The combination of getting blown out on opening night and Greg Oden's foot injury seemed to take the wind out of this team's sails. But today at the practice facility a friend of the team helped shed a bit of perspective on the things that are most important in life.
Cody Wippel, a life-long Trail Blazers fan, has osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer in people ages 10 to 25. It's a life-threatening condition, one that has forced Cody to endure chemotherapy, surgeries and weeks in the hospital. It's a tough fight, but it's one Cody seems to be winning.
So today in Tualatin, Cody was invited along with a friend to watch the Trail Blazers practice, something that few people outside of the organization ever get to do. That in and of itself is pretty cool, but the big surprise came after practice when head coach Nate McMillan called Cody to center court and presented him with two season tickets which were donated by the team to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to fulfill Cody's wish. It was an act that was meant to lift Cody's spirits, but according to Nate McMillan, having Cody at practice lifted the team's spirits as well.
"I met Cody last year," said McMillan. "He's a huge Blazers fan and it's great to see him doing good.
"It was really a lift for the team. We were a little bit down. We need to get fired up and get ready for this game tomorrow and Cody brought a smile to the guy's faces today. It's nice to see him doing well."
Sometimes we put so much thought and energy into this team that we need to take a step back and realize that there are bigger things at stake than the game. Having Cody around today seemed to help the team realize that.