“Do you have a new favorite player?” he asks. It’s 8 o’clock on Monday. We’re in the final week of the offseason or the preseason or whatever it is. This in-between time. This time devoid of games that matter.
We’ve seen half the team turn over since our last regular season match was played in October. October. It feels like a lifetime ago.
So, in answer, I rattle off a couple of names of players I’ve had my eye on in the preseason. I like them okay, but I’m not ready to commit.
“Let’s face it,” I tell him. “There will never be another Boyd.”
His answer is immediate. “Sure there will.”
Yeah. There probably will.
I’ve stumbled through the preseason, not really feeling connected to this team. My team. I can’t explain it, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I feel like I don’t know these guys. Maybe part of that is me trying to shield myself, trying to protect myself after a wrenching offseason. But I’m still here, despite knowing that the longer I stay, the more likely it is that this club will break my heart. Again and again.
So, yeah, I kinda dig Mikey. I always like the ones that play with heart. And I’m looking forward to seeing Silvestre. The man was tweeting pictures of a beautiful, snowy Paris while complaining about the slowness of the visa process and his desire to return to Portland. How do you not fall in love with him? And I worry about David Horst. Because I always worry about David Horst.
When I finally settle down to sleep tonight, on this Merry Timbers Eve, I’ll sleep well. I don’t carry the expectation of last year or the complete cluelessness of the year before. What I carry is hope and, perhaps, a bit of resignation.
There are more changes to come, of this I’m sure. But what we have (on-field and off) is nothing to sneeze at.
I think we’re going to see a lot more grit. A lot more, as Capt. Will puts it, nastiness. But I think we’ll see more finesse as well. With Valeri out there, that’s a given. Beyond that, I don’t know. Do we retain the Cascadia cup? Do we make a run for a playoff spot? Do we go all the way?
I don’t know, but I’m saving money for plane tickets and hotel reservations anyway.
In the mean time, the sound I hear right now is the most beautiful sound in the world.
It’s the sound of the gathering Army. A reunion, a homecoming, a time among family and loved ones. Let’s have it.
Onward, Rose City.