I don’t even know where to start. Seatbelts are in order as I have no idea where this is going to go and it might be a bumpy ride.
Has it really only been a month since Spenny’s departure? It feels like a decade.
And here we are again.
Dammit, Troy Perkins.
Apologies to the surviving Timbers, but Troy was our one constant. He was our rock, our warrior. The man had his face kicked off for us and came back with absolutely no hesitation. He came back with a fierceness that I cannot imagine any of the rest of us would have been able to muster. When asked for my starting XI, I only ever give ten names because I only have one keeper I trust to put out there match after match.
Troy Perkins. He belongs to Montreal now.
But he will always be a Timber.
What comes next? This is a question I ask and am asked on an almost daily basis.
There is no simple answer aside from this: I don’t know.
We can look back and say, sure, we knew Spenny wasn’t long for Portland. Those rumblings had begun months ago and we collectively assumed he’d at least finish out the season. But we knew he was going.
But Troy? Troy was untradeable. That’s not even a word. Spellcheck tells me it isn’t but you know what I mean. They could have traded anyone else and, while I might have been surprised or angry or whatever, it wouldn’t have floored me like this has.
There is rage. There is this overwhelming feeling that, as so many of us are waiting for the next announcement, our front office is throwing in the towel. Or maybe they did weeks ago and I just didn’t notice it because I was still waiting for a miracle. A turning point. A watershed moment.
Well, here we are. This is our turning point, such as it is. That realist girl from the last post? She’s pretty sure this is where our season ends. I kinda hate her.
I reached out to one of the players today to offer a word or two of encouragement. It’s something that’s easy to do with this team as many of the players are on Twitter or Facebook and are super-responsive. I think it’s important to do that sometimes, to let them know that, despite whatever bizarre behavior is exhibited by the front office, we will still support them. We will still believe in them. We will not falter in this.
I won’t give you his response except to say that it leads me to believe that more change is coming (shocking, I know) and that the players who are still here are on edge.
I don’t want that. I want my guys focused on playing soccer, on playing for the badge, on playing for us. Trading Troy Perkins makes that impossible.
I get how this works. There are no guarantees that a player will not be traded. It’s a part of the world in which they live. But there are some guys you just don’t trade and when one is traded, I can’t help but think of the (poor word choice here) impact it will have on the rest of the squad.
I still believe.
There was a very brief discussion (hardly a discussion, really, more just a few angry tweets) on Twitter about the mantra “Believe Beyond Reason.”
Believe Beyond Reason, I read, is stupid. It “implies you don’t expect results.”
Not true. I expect results, I’ve just managed to stay hopeful longer than you have this year, Angry OG. It’s no slight to you. We’ve very different experiences with this club. You’ve been around longer, you’ve been more deeply involved. It is because of the work you’ve done that I’m here and I recognize that.
Whether you like it or not, I’m still, despite the idiocy of the last month, believing beyond reason.
I want the star above the crest. I want the hardware. I want the parade. I want the gathering in the square. And we will have all of those things.
But we won’t have any of them with Troy Perkins.
There’s a lot of speculation romping around on Twitter and Facebook and all the various other outlets. Who goes next? Who might be on the way here already?
I will be stunned if Kris Boyd returns for a second season here. Truth be told, I’ll be surprised if he’s still here for the Vancouver match at the end of the month.
Kalif might be next, but I think the first out will be Eric Alexander. Fair warning to those around me: this will trigger an all-out meltdown on my part.
Is there really anyone left that’s untradeable? Chara, perhaps? But if Perkins can go, surely Chara can, too.
When John Spencer was fired, my reaction was to go to the Bitter End to mourn. I drove toward the stadium and parked on 20th. There were satellite trucks there from every local station but I quietly made my way around them to walk over by the team store and look out over the field. I reached out as I walked and touched the brick of the outside of the concourse.
I’m nothing if not sentimental. I did the same today, though there were no cameras, no reporters, no flurry of activity. It was just me and the stadium, a bit of architecture I’ve come to think of as a cathedral.
I was angry a lot of the day. I won’t lie. I’m guessing I’ll spend a lot of time angry over decisions made by the front office in the coming weeks and months.
But being there calmed me. It reminded me that I’m in this for the long haul. As long as the Timbers play, I will be there. Troy is gone. Others will come and go. But I’m not going anywhere.
And, for a minute, it was okay.
I’m going to hang with the guys from 5mTKO tomorrow. The podcast will be up on iTunes sometime Friday.