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Monthly Archives: August 2016

We’re gonna ride…

At about the 18 minute mark, I decided I’d be perfectly happy with a scoreless draw.

A point is a point and, with Diego Chara having been bounced from the game in the 12th minute, that point was looking pretty good.

But it wasn’t enough.

The second red card of the match, this time to the opposing team, was drawn late in the first half and that scoreless draw I’d settled on suddenly didn’t seem like it was even an option.

Three goals in the second half came from three Timbers. None came from the visiting team.

Three goals, three points.

That was fine, that was great. But what came after is what was important.

You never know what you’ll get from Caleb Porter in the post-match presser. Today, we got philosophical, introspective Porter. Aside from Angry Porter, this is my favorite of the Porters.

Here’s the condensed version:

We stay locked on to the next game and that’s what we did today and that’s what we’re going to do for the next 10 games. We’re gonna play at our level. We’re not going to play at our current reality, where we sit in the table….We have to fight that natural inclination because we’re a lot better team than we’ve shown this year.

We’re going to play at our level. This is an acknowledgement and a declaration that this team is more than the standings show. We have expected more, but we’ve been disappointed. But Porter sat there in that room and said it out loud. This team has more in the tank than we can possibly imagine.

Let’s take a breath for a minute here. Get a beverage. Get a snack. Then read this next part.

Winning in sports is a lot about psychology. It’s about individual psychology, it’s about collective belief….We’re gonna go in the next game and…not think about what everybody else thinks about us because that doesn’t matter. What matters is what we think about ourselves.

Exhale deeply. This is our coach, our leader. This is the man entrusted with the reputation  of the badge and the pride of the city. He’s loosening the reins. He’s getting ready to let this team take the bit in its teeth and run.

Saddle up.

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Posted by on August 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Behind the curtain

We chatter. We discuss a play, or a moment, or a goal scored or not scored. Occasionally, someone will suggest asking a ridiculous question to break the tension. And then he enters the room.

He enters from a door at the back of the room and most of us orient ourselves in such a way as to see him the minute he enters, as if this first glimpse up close might tell us what his mood might be in. It’s not like he kicks the door in when he’s angry, or comes skipping in when he’s well-pleased. But we want that first look anyway.

He steps up onto the dias at the front of the room and, as we settle and click on recorders and phones we hold aloft, he unscrews the cap on his water bottle and takes a drink.

“First question.”

Someone asks something and he considers his answer, placing the cap back on the bottle and leaning in toward the microphone.

This is when we find out what mood he’s in.

***

I forget how lucky I am to get the chance to see behind the curtain. I wrote a few words, met a few people, and now I get this. I get to meet the coach of the opposing team before the game, although briefly, in the elevator. After the game, I’ll listen to a player talk lovingly about his kids. I see the stadium staff doing all the things that make gameday work.

But, somehow, I’ve lost my words. I’m trying to get them back, trying to recapture the balance that allowed me the opportunity to peek behind the curtain. And I’m grateful to all of you who’ve stuck with me as I’ve been quiet.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2016 in Uncategorized