Monthly Archives: February 2013


A turbulent situation from which it is hard to escape.

A rapidly rotating mass of water in a river or sea into which objects may be drawn, typically caused by the meeting of conflicting currents.

A magnetic, impelling force into which one may be pulled.

See also: vortex, maelstrom.


I left my house last Sunday morning at a ridiculous hour. The things we do for our clubs.

I didn’t take a headcount, but I’d guess somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty TA and associates made the hour-long trek into the coastal Cascades to meet up for the ritual Eating of the Cinnamon Rolls and Blessing of the Victory Log. We sang, we danced (as much as we could without tumbling down the stone steps at Camp18), we licked beer from a log. Well, I didn’t. But others did.

And it was good to be back among family. This offseason has been dark and cold and painful. This was the first step, for me anyway, toward getting back into regular season form.

And then Monday dawned and I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee before we’d traded away Eric Alexander and that little black cloud that’s been following me around reappeared.

I’m told I get too attached to the players. I’m told this a lot. There’s really no need to keep telling me. I know. And I know it’s a business and business decisions are made in order to create a stronger team. And we’ll all be happier when we get to watch a stronger team.

Yeah. Okay.

But I hope I never reach the point when trading my favorite players doesn’t hurt. Brunner and Smith, Boyd and Alexander, (don’t judge) that little hobbit Fucito. I was looking forward to seeing them all back in ponderosa green this season but it wasn’t meant to be. I’ll get over it, but it’s been a lot of change in a short period of time and anyone who knows me can tell you that I don’t adjust to change as quickly as most people.

But here we are. It’s the night before our return to Jeld-Wen. Our home, our cathedral. It’s TA Christmas.

You know it is.

People are talking about how they’re going to have a hard time sleeping tonight knowing that we’ll all be back at the field tomorrow. For a week, my Twitter and Facebook timelines have been full of daily (and, at some points, hourly) photos of Jeld-Wen in all her glory.

We’re ready. Let’s do this.

Once more into that swirling, churning mass of green and gold we call the North End.

Once more into a sea of possibility, an ocean of hope. Once more into the arms of our brethren, our TA family. Once more.

Once more, after a tumultuous offseason, following on the heels of a craptastic regular season, once more.

Once more we gather.

Once more we find a way to believe beyond reason.

We’re gonna win the league.


Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Timbers 2013


The last words on Boyd…

Rather, my last words on Boyd as a Timber. This world is a strange and confusing place. Somehow, I imagine he’ll find his way into this blog again sometime in the future, be it from Greece or Norway or, God willing, from back at Ibrox.

Before this lament starts, I want to thank all of you who’ve sent condolence messages. I know it’s utterly ridiculous to be getting condolences over anything other than, say, a death, but I’ve been touched by the number of you who’ve emailed, who’ve texted, who’ve Tweeted and Facebooked words of encouragement and concern. You all are a special breed and I’m grateful for our acquaintance.

I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot over the last year since Kris Boyd’s signing with the Timbers. I’ve learned about rivalries, about politics in soccer (both on the field and off), about completely losing oneself in the game. I’ve suffered through hours and hours of Scottish footy podcasts and BBCSportsound and read thousands of words on the administration of Rangers. I’ve learned to hate Neil Lennon and love Kenny Shiels and Ally McCoist and Lee Mcculloch. I’ve made some interesting friends in some rather unexpected places.

And most of that I owe to Kris Boyd.

I’ll admit it: I knew next to nothing about him when he was signed. I knew his name. I knew he was a big deal – mostly because for me, as someone who doesn’t (or didn’t) follow much international soccer, that I recognized his name at all was an indication that he was a big deal.

So, I did what everyone else was doing: I went to Youtube.

I fell in love. Wholeheartedly, unabashedly in love. This was The Guy. The one to carry this team forward, to carry all of us forward. We were going to win the league.

I was there for the first press conference, Kris’ introduction to Portland. I stood behind Joanne when she scarfed him. He looked tired and, I daresay, a bit overwhelmed. But, despite being shy, he was gracious with our assembled crazy though I still have absolutely no idea what he said. None whatsoever.

And I was there for that first goal in the preseason. And it was beautiful. And I screamed myself hoarse.

And I was there for the first goal that counted, in the home opener against Philly. My friend Duncan was standing next to me when it came. I’m fairly certain I bruised his arm and blew out his ear drum.

I ordered a Scottish flag from Amazon. It went on its flagpole the day of the LA match when that spectacular goal was called back.

That flag, that ridiculous flag. I carried it to every match from then on. For Boyd, for Smith, for Spenny.

I debated over whether I should take it with me to the Cal FC match. I left it in the car when I went to meet Timber Jim for a pre-match beer. “Go get it,” he told me. And I did. And I held it aloft when the horn player played Taps.

And I had it with me in the front row of 204 for the Seattle match two weeks later. We can mark that on the calendar as another game this year when I had to apologize to the kids sitting near me for my behavior. Thankfully, they were kids I knew.

Things unraveled from there. I still have a hard time sorting through what it was that really happened. The team wasn’t playing as one, but the overall record wasn’t much different than the year before. We hadn’t lost much ground, but the tide was rising and change was on the horizon. Feel free to insert more tired cliches here if you’d like.

And then Spenny was gone and Boyd was pissed and I found my voice.

That, my friends, is Boyd’s legacy in Portland. He’s gone but, because of him, you’re stuck with me.

That, and this:

So, in the off chance that my words find their way to Glasgow: thank you, Kris. You inadvertently made me a blogger. You gave me words to write and lead me to a bigger audience than I ever imagined I’d find. For that, I will forever be grateful.



Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Timbers