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Author Archives: octoberthoughtspdx

About octoberthoughtspdx

I used to write. In fact, I wrote continuously from the age of 10 until I was about 28. Then I stopped. No more words. Done. I went to school. Several different ones, at that. And I had a series of jobs that didn't make me entirely happy but paid the bills and bought me coffee. And then, in the fall of 2010, while working 40-45 hours a week, taking classes most nights and weekends, I found NaNoWriMo. And I found my words. And I started writing them down. I'm sure my story is not unique, but I think my voice is. I have stories to tell. I have all these angry characters I've been toting around with me but have been refusing to write. And when I say they're angry, I mean they're PISSED that they've been cooped up so long. They do not lend themselves easily to romantic comedy so I guess I won't be writing any.

Satchel

 

The tools of the trade are kept in a leather satchel, carried always by the warrior.

A compass. Maps.

A passport. Sometimes, more than one.

Matches, and several small candles. In place of matches, some may carry flint.

A holy book, the origin of which is chosen by the warrior, though most traditionally choose those of the Abrahamic faiths.

A bit of quartz. Warriors will often choose those with healing or protective powers.

A packet of salt.

A pencil and a small notebook.

A tarot deck. One notable warrior carried a planchette, though none before or since have.

Maddie also carried a copy of the Constitution. Why leave anything to chance?

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2018 in October 2018

 

Leather

She liked boats and cars and planes. A decade in this business and these were the things with which she was comfortable.

She set her foot in the stirrup, hopped twice, and swung into the saddle, the leather creaking as she settled. She took up the reins in her right hand (her first riding instructor would be so disappointed in her) and urged the horse forward.

Night had begun to fall, the shadows turned inky black. She rode out toward the chapel where she knew she’d find Valdyr and his companions. She’d not sent word of her journey, but he’d know, and he’d welcome her request for sanctuary.

The first of his sentries, a dog as large as her unnamed familiar, fell in beside her as she rode within sight of the chapel. She knew him, and he her.

The second was there at the gate to the chapel yard. She dismounted, and the two sentries flanked her as she approached the chapel steps.

Hand on her dagger, she smiled to herself. Ten years in and she’d still not gotten used to the werewolves.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2018 in October 2018

 

Canine

“You have to give him a name, Maddie.”

“If he has a name, I’m sure he’ll eventually tell me what it is. Giving him one is just presumptuous.”

 

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Hearth

The woman pointed to the stone hearth and Maddie sat, waiting for her to speak.

The space in the cottage was small, filled with any manner of things that would make it look as though it were the perfect Hollywood set as noted in a screenplay as “Int. Crone’s Cottage, night.” The only thing missing was the cauldron that should have hung over the flames in the open fireplace.

“Warrior child,” the woman said, and Maddie closed her eyes briefly. This woman was, perhaps, the only person in the world who still saw Maddie as a child.

“Warrior child, you’ve come a long way. What do you seek?”

“Grace,” Maddie said. “And peace. And hope.”

“These things. Are they lost?”

Maddie hesitated. “I hope not.”

 
 

Warmth

The last bit of summer was drifting away, the light faltering, colors turning to bronze and gold before the inevitable cold started to take hold.

Orange leaves on the dirt path, dulled by the coming darkness. She paused to look at her compass. She wondered if she’d ever get used to this, this constant reliance on outdated technology. Would that she could just carry an iPhone like normal people.

She slipped the compass back into its pocket and felt for the dagger at her hip. Still there. The path lead her forward.

Ahead, she knew, was a small cottage, older than any could possibly guess, where the woman lived. The hearth was warm there, she remembered, and the woman wise.

 
 

Woods

A small branch snapped under her foot and all other sounds, the night sounds, went quiet.

“Careless,” the voice said to her, not quite angry, just shy of taunting.

She stopped dead. It had been a very, very long time since she’d heard that voice. She began to fall.

 
 

Come hell or high water.

The decision should have been made days ago. But it wasn’t.

A contingency plan should have been in place a week ago. But it wasn’t.

And now, Thursday, with the storm beginning to hit, we finally have an answer. But it’s not even close to ideal.

The North Carolina Courage was the dominant team in NWSL this season. That they have to travel across the continent for a playoff match is absurd, and that the decision was made this late has left everyone bruised.

Perhaps all other options have been explored, or perhaps the league just waited too long to make the call. Maybe it was NCC dragging its feet, holding out for home field advantage just a little too long, that finally forced the league to reschedule the NCC-Chicago Red Stars semifinal and move it to the other side of the country, out of the way of Hurricane Florence. And maybe Portland was the only “neutral” ground offering to host.

But it seemed no one was willing to take charge and make the call. Yesterday in a preview conference call, Chicago coach Rory Dames was unsure who would even be making the final decision as to when and where the match would be played. And this morning, NCC president Curt Johnson was on Twitter, suggesting that Dames “quit stirring the pot” and insisting “Drainage WILL NOT BE A PROBLEM” after Dames posted video of what appears to be a water-logged NCC pitch in July.

Nashville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Atlanta. I cannot imagine there were no reasonably-sized, out-of-harm’s-way stadiums available in the eastern United States.

Portland will never be a neutral venue for a team from North Carolina. To pretend otherwise is silly.

North Carolina fans are angry, as they should be. Their safety and the safety of the team they support was put at risk and those who may have been able to travel had the game been rescheduled days ago are unlikely to do so now. It sucks to see your advantage be eliminated. It shouldn’t have happened this way.

 

 


I’ll lay out all my biases. I’ve never been shy about them:

I do not believe a NWSL team should have been placed in North Carolina, a state to which many of my LGBTQ friends do not feel safe travelling. I am as frustrated now as I was when the move from Western New York was announced. That frustration is heightened by the fact that this NC team harbors a player who holds homophobic views. 

 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2018 in NWSL

 

Point of no return

There’s a point before every away match when I realize that, even if I dropped everything, got in the car, and went directly to the airport, there’s no way I’d make it to wherever the game is in time to see first kick. The Point of No Return.

And there’s a point in every season where a team, and its fanbase, knows that all is lost. There will be no trophy, no titles, no glory.

Guys, we’re two games into the season. All is not lost. There’s not yet reason to burn the stadium down with a bonfire of kits and scarves built at 20th and Morrison.

We want more, we want better, we want to know players are playing for the badge, playing for us. I think they are, for the most part. I know this is a tired trope: Fans Want Players to Play Harder, continued on C4. But yesterday’s performances cast doubt on the dedication of a Timber or two.

If you’re not willing to defend, why are you a defender? If you’re not going to take the shot, why are you a forward? If you can’t move the ball, why are you on the field at all?

I’m seeing three key points from folks with regard to last night’s match:

Ridgewell, out of position, casually glancing over his shoulder at two runners, deciding not to make an effort to disrupt their momentum.

Gleeson, primarily just being Gleeson.

Savarese, new guy on a bigger stage, out of his depth.

I’m good with one of those being a cause for worry.

Gio Savarese will be fine. He’s finding his feet, figuring out what’s going to work at this level. It’s going to be bumpy, but he’s not the complete idiot a few folks might have you believe. He knows how to win, just maybe not yet with this squad. He’ll make the necessary adjustments. Just…give him a minute.

Jake Gleeson is Jake Gleeson. Remember when we used to joke about the Donovan Ricketts 70th minute nap? I feel like we get a lot of the same from Gleeson: a couple top-class saves per game, and a minor injury deep in the second half. He’ll be fine if we sort out the myriad of issues occurring in front of him. Or if we get Attinella back on the field. Or McIntosh. I’m fine with any of those options.

The third issue is the one that really sticks. Captain Ridgewell, out for a jog, out of position, the leader of the back line. It stands to reason that if the one directing is out of position, those following will be, too. And if he who is supposed to motivate fails to do so, well, there’s going to be a lack of motivation, a lack of urgency. I’m not entirely sure how to fix that, but I know where I’d start.

 

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2018 in Timbers

 

October 2, 2017

There’s…a lot going on. So much so that I’m wondering if writing these is worth the energy it expends. But I told a few of you I would, so here I am.

It’s the First Monday of October, the day the Supreme Court convenes for this session. Normally, I’d have a quick rundown of what the court might be hearing (and I’d make an attempt at a writ of certiorari joke) and we would touch on the importance of the judicial branch of our government.

But up is down and right is wrong and it feels like none of that matters. The Supreme Court is just too big for me to comprehend at the moment.

What’s that quote? “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I’m just trusting in that right now.

 

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2017 in October 2017

 

October 1, 2017

I was shocked to realize this morning that it’s been five years since I did a full slate of October Thoughts. Five years.

In that time, I’ve written about soccer and little else. What a ride it’s been: a World Cup Final, three NWSL Finals, an MLS Cup final, CCL, the US Open Cup, and more than a few ill-advised road trips.

But somewhere, a little over a year ago, I basically stopped writing. A few words here or there, but nothing more. Maybe a little depression, more than a little frustration, and a complete forgetfulness about why I starting writing in the first place left me with no words to say.

Things started creeping up on me a few weeks ago. October things. If you’re not an October Person, this might not make any sense to you. And that’s okay. Theoretically, I know there are February People out there somewhere. I don’t know any, but I’m sure they’re out there. Maybe they’re ashamed of all the pink and red and heart-shaped things. Whatever. Everybody has their thing, and it seems a significant number of people are predisposed to October things.

Homemade applesauce, stuff that’s bat-silhouette-shaped, things that smell of pumpkin spice. October things.

It started in the mid-’90s, when I was circling Lake Michigan in a blue Ford Econoline van with a handful of friends. We spent a lot of time in Wisconsin which, in my humble opinion, is quintessentially October at least three months out of the year. Stunning fall color, sharply-steepled churches on hilltops (seriously, Google image search “Wisconsin church” and you get every picture-perfect October church imaginable), and tons and tons of small town harvest fests and whatnot.

We started making a list of our October Thoughts for the Day, things we could wax poetic about during the month of October, things that make October…October.

If you’re an October Person, you likely have a list of these things tucked away, even if it isn’t written on paper. It’s a little file in the back of your mind filled with sights and scents and sounds that elicit a specific response.

A lot of my October Thoughts were formed in childhood and memories of that time are triggered by a thousand different things. I think it’s probably the same for most October People.

So, as we wander deeper into October, I’d invite you to look back to your childhood, back to a time before everything got so complicated, back to when a white sheet was nothing more sinister than a ghost costume.

Remember the magic. That’s your assignment for the entirety of October.