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Oklahoma City Thunder fans connect to share support for their team

The Thunder Blue Alliance is a statewide community of Thunder fans who organize watch parties in their hometowns, support community events and connect with fellow Thunder fans through social media platforms.
Oklahoman Modified: January 19, 2013 at 12:09 am •  Published: January 20, 2013

/articleid/3747408/1/pictures/1931125">Photo - Lisa Warren prepares for a Blue Alliance watch party for her Yukon chapter.   Photo By David McDaniel, The Oklahoman
Lisa Warren prepares for a Blue Alliance watch party for her Yukon chapter. Photo By David McDaniel, The Oklahoman

Warren looked that way and said, “He always gets covered up with something like the banner or a Thunder towel.”

Then she walked and sat down at her laptop. When she's at home watching the games, she chats live. On nights when she's hosting a watch party, she does occasional posts on her Yukon Blue Alliance page.

The chat is how the chapter came to have a member who lives in Germany.

“After he joined, I mailed him a Thunder T-shirt,” she said. “It was a free shirt, but it cost me a fortune to send it to him. That's OK.

“We're just spreading the Thunder spirit and promoting the team we love.”

True to her word

Although there are chapters, the Thunder is their common interest and that has brought members together statewide, even in rough times.

That was evident in December when Graham in Tulsa heard that the home where another captain lived in eastern Oklahoma had burned.

With Christmas approaching, Graham decided to have a fundraiser at one of her Blue Alliance watch parties held at Fat Daddy's Pub & Grille for the single mother. The Thunder donated items such as an autographed team ball for a silent auction. She put together a couple of gift baskets that included “Thunderstruck,” the children's film starring Durant. That watch party raised more than $900. Some other captains and chapters pledged money and overall they collected $1,433.

Jennifer Aldridge, 29, bought Christmas presents for her son Kolton Park, 10, then bought him some clothes to replace those lost in the fire. She held some money back for what it will take to furnish a place for them to live.

“The Blue Alliance, we are one big family,” said Aldridge, captain of the Council Hill Blue Alliance chapter. “We got to have Christmas because of them. I honestly can't put it into words, other than they'll be my family forever.”

Graham, who is obviously part of that fan-based family, leads a chapter, which had about 300 members at this time last year. It now has about 500 members.

“I talk about the Thunder every day of my life,” said Graham, 55, who has worked for Crown Products Inc., an industrial distributor in Tulsa, for more than 30 years. “I've been a Thunder fan since Day One.

“At Christmas, I think we blessed the Thunder during our meal. We had a Thunder Christmas tree and I had Thunder stockings up for everybody. We are ate up with it in my home and my family and I convert everyone I can. And part of it is, everyone I deal with at the Thunder is so nice.”

One way Graham spreads the word is through bus trips. She selects a Thunder home game, buys 50 tickets on her credit card, rents a bus and then sells the tickets for face value.

“Sometimes my husband gets a little freaked out,” she said. “He said, ‘You just better have all those sold before the credit card bill comes in,' and I have. And I would say, most of the time probably 40 of the 50 have never been to a Thunder game.

“I just want others to have the Thunder experience,” she said.

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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