“What’s with the scarf?” he asked me. It didn’t seem like one of those questions people ask to just be polite or one of the ones asked with an eye to ridiculing the answer. It seemed like a question asked because he actually wanted a real answer.
“It’s a signifier, an identifier. It’s how we find other members of our tribe.” Yes, this is how I talk to people in real life. I use these words.
He smiled a smile that was somewhere between taking me at my word and thinking I was completely insane. The conversation moved on.
I’ve taken to collecting scarves (scarfs for the purists). I love the color and design and the symbolism of them. Most of them will never see a gameday.
My gameday scarf is a No Pity scarf, the signature scarf of the Timbers Army. A simple green and white bar scarf, it features the Army’s Rose and Crossed Axes design as well as the words No Pity. Where most NP scarves have simple black fringe, mine has green and black fringe from a special run about a year ago. It also bears the signature of the only Timber I’ve ever asked to sign anything: Kenny Cooper.
I tried to retire it when Kenny was traded to the Red Bulls. I was wearing it that day, in a drafty warehouse where I was working for a customs broker. It was folded neatly on my desk when the only other Timbers fan in the office sent me the email. “Did you hear? They traded Cooper.” I think my heart stopped for a moment.
I unfolded the scarf and wrapped it around my neck for what I thought would be the last time. I would start the new season fresh. I would wear a different scarf when my boys next played at Jeld-Wen.
And I did for a few games. But there’s something about that first scarf. It is always the most special one you will ever own.
So, sentimental me brought out the KFC scarf again. And tomorrow, I’ll add another signature to it.
Here’s where I launch into a rant I shouldn’t have to write.
That’s right, kids. I write in defense of Kris Boyd.
Boyd’s lazy. He’s fat. He’s old. He’s a has-been. He’s only in it for the money.
I’ve heard all of it. And all of it is ridiculous.
Boyd’s a poacher, a target striker. He lurks, he carves out space for himself where there really shouldn’t be space. He’s not a sprinter. He’s not a marathoner.
He’s the Timbers leading scorer. Aside from that, he offers leadership when our captain falters. He doesn’t shy away from confronting opposing players who’ve wronged us (let’s remember the “Montero Finger” for a moment, shall we?). He’s our fire. He’s our passion. He’s filled with the same frustration we all share.
Let’s think back to the times this year when he hasn’t started. Did we win those games? Did we even show up to those games?
Cubbie at The O, as part of The Incident a few weeks back, said that Boyd was expected to be some sort of savior for the Timbers. It’s a ridiculous statement because, at the time of Boyd’s signing, we didn’t need a savior. We needed a better midfield. The failing that sent Kenny to NYRB is the same failing we’re seeing now with Boyd. And the same idiots are yelling.
They screamed for Kenny’s head last year and this year, they’re calling Boyd lazy. I’m still learning the game, but the correlation here is obvious. Signing big name target strikers and not signing anyone who can feed them just brings heartache.
But but but what about tonight? What about all the chances Boyd had tonight? Why didn’t he score?
I don’t know. And yet I’m still writing, aren’t I?
After months of learning that he can’t rely on his team, he’s doing a lot of the same things Kenny did when he had this realization last year. He’s all over the place, he’s not always where he should be because he’s trying to create something from nothing. Again: Kenny did the same thing. The only differences are that Kenny ran faster and that I don’t remember ever seeing him drop into the left back position and look almost like he belonged there.
If I understand correctly, Boyd’s contract was for a year with an option for a second. I desperately want him to stay, but I don’t see why he would. The man who brought him here is gone. He sees the direction this is going with Gavin at the helm. He’d certainly be welcomed back with open arms at Ibrox.
But if he does stay? And if we manage to bring in the right guys to put in the midfield? Sigh. So long as Gavin stays, we know this won’t happen.
So, tomorrow, I’ll return to our ground. I’ll take my gameday scarf and I’ll ask him to sign it, knowing that if tradition holds, it means he’ll play somewhere else next year with great success.
But I won’t bother trying to retire the KFC/KB scarf next year. I’ll wear it to every match and hope that I don’t have to have it signed by anyone else.
For the record, it still smells like goal-smoke. Goal-smoke from Boyd’s two goals against LAG.