First apologies to my October folks. We’ll be back to normal Tuesday.
I know you’ll be SHOCKED to hear that I’m feeling a tad emotional this evening.
Until very recently, I’ve been borderline insane in my optimism where the Timbers are concerned. It’s been said that despite talent or depth or conditioning, any team can take any game on any day. It’s all a crap shoot.
But this year has left me wondering if there was some sort of cosmic grudge being held against our boys. So many last minute losses, so many things have gone wrong, so much damage has been done.
I’ll admit I’ve shed more than a few tears over this season.
And I shed a few more tonight.
I didn’t know what to expect and, to be perfectly, painfully honest, I didn’t expect much. I love these boys, I love this club, but there is a limit to how much I can hurt before becoming numb.
Missing the last home Seattle match was fifty times more painful than I thought it would be and not being able to celebrate a Cup win immediately after was another blow.
Joining a traveling contingent of 1,500 to the Seattle away match only to find that our GM/manager had stopped taking the competition seriously absolutely brought me to my knees. I’ve become increasingly restless and angry since Spenny was removed from his post. And Gavin’s quotes over the last few days (rather, last few months) have put me on edge.
I knew, for the sake of my own mental well-being, that I needed to be among people who understood all that this game meant. The last shreds of hope for a completely blown season hung on this one match.
I went to Bazi, a lovely Belgian beer bar in southeast Portland, a bar where I often watch games, but also where I’ve never seen a winning result for my Timbers. I was lucky to be able to gather a fantastic group of folks who don’t mind that I’m a wreck during games. Actually, they probably didn’t even notice.
The line-up was announced and, while my Boyd-in-the-eighteen prediction was proven wrong, it didn’t look bad.
And it wasn’t bad. It was scrappy. It was not pretty. At best, it was mediocre football played for the first half hour.
And then Jack. Jack whom we shouted down at the CalFC match. Jack who many of us have repeatedly called on to give up the armband. Poetically, if it wasn’t going to be Boyd, it had to be Jack.
And then we just waited as the minutes ticked away. The longest hour of our lives. Six minutes of stoppage.
And then it was over.
Kings of Cascadia.
And my first thought was to go to the stadium.
It was my first thought when Spenny was sent packing, my first thought when Perkins was traded: a moment outside the stadium, to touch the outside of the cathedral, to pay homage to those who came before, and then a trip across the street to the Bitter End.
This will potentially be the last Cascadia Cup we celebrate at the Bitter End. Bittersweet, but sweet nonetheless.
And, thankfully, I was surrounded by folks who are every bit as sentimental and ridiculous as I am and we all piled into cars and went: long-term fans, bloggers, a capo, one of the founders of the Timbers Army and me.
I’m forever amazed at the series of events that has brought me to this place, to stand among these folks, in the shadow of what has often been described as our fortress, our cathedral.
Somewhere to the north of us, our boys and our Timbers Army brothers and sisters celebrate with the Cascadia Cup. And sometime in the next few days, the Cup will make its way home to Portland.
Nothing has really changed. This has still been an absolute mess of a season. We still have a GM that we desperately need to replace. We still have just one more game to play before the long, dark offseason commences.
But I saw heart out there on that field. I saw heart and passion and desire and all the things we’ve been hoping to see all season. The difference tonight is that we saw that heart and passion and desire from every player that laced up his boots to play.
Thank you, Timbers. Thank you all. You’ve done us proud, you Kings of Cascadia.