During the NBA season Oregonlive.com has treated visitors to the weekly diary of Trail Blazers dancer Marlene. Here's Marlene on:
A dancer's burden: "We are a group of women that people love to hate.... Why? What did we do? Most of the time NOTHING."
Involvement with players: "We may get to do some charities or promotions with them, but our relationship is purely professional. This is a rule that the dancers have, but the players don't."
Being courtside: "We're so close that we can even smell all the Icy Hot and Bengay on the [players'] bodies, we can read all their tattoos and even get a glimpse of their shoe sizes and brand names. It is truly a privilege to be on the court like that."
Boyfriends: "The hard part of being boyfriend of a Blazer Dancer...is listening to all the different catcalls and whistles hurled at their girlfriends.... [T]he counterpart to that is knowing that their girlfriends will be leaving with them (boyfriend/husband) when the game is over."
Defeating a hated rival: "I've had this burning passion to beat the UTAH JAZZ. A victory against them is always SWEET, especially when there [are] a bunch of technical fouls and fights."
Playoff preparation: "I really have to make a checklist because once I leave my house in the morning, it's no turning back I always try to bring two of everything in case someone else forgets pants or a top or socks."
Y2K: "I was a little nervous about traveling [on Jan. 1, 2000], but when I got bumped up to first class on Hawaiian Airlines, my fears were taken away."
Her calling: "I don't expect people to look at us dancing and say, Wow, she must really be smart!' But one day...maybe a dancer will be your wife and mother of your children, or maybe, just maybe, you might become friends with a dancer."