Tag Archives: Harper’s Playground

One city, one club, one love.

We get so caught up in the everyday business of soccer and complaining about soccer and celebrating soccer and bemoaning players who aren’t playing to their potential and coaches who seemingly refuse to coach that we forget that there’s so much more to this whole thing we’ve got going on here.

Our boys will play Sunday afternoon in this ridiculous heat. We’ll show up, we’ll stand in line, we’ll sing and shout and wave our flags. Perhaps our boys will win us three points. Perhaps not.

Right now, at this very moment, it matters little to me. Something else happened this weekend. Something we, and they, can be proud of.

This weekend, the Timbers Army raised $27,000 to benefit Harper’s Playground.

Twenty-seven thousand dollars.

In one day.

I am stunned. I am amazed. I am so proud to be in any way associated with these folks.

Harper’s broke ground recently at Arbor Lodge Park here in Portland and will be the first inclusive playground here, a playground without the barriers that kids (and adults) with disabilities find elsewhere. The Timbers Army/107ist has made it a core mission to improve access to soccer facilities in the Portland metro area, but this transcends soccer.

Today, thirty artists put their art up for sale and somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 prints were sold. IN ONE DAY.

Did you miss your chance to help? No, of course not.

The TA/Harper’s “Everyone Plays” scarf is still available here.

Harper’s Playground and the list of things still needed to complete the project are here.

You can join the Timbers Army and be a part of whatever the next big project is here.

Thank you to every single person involved in this. You make me proud.

Quick update: the remaining prints from yesterday’s event will be up on the Timbers Army website for purchase sometime soon. Go get ’em.

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Posted by on August 5, 2012 in Timbers


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I just don’t like soccer fans.

Yeah. Someone actually said this to me today. “Yeah, I know I give you a hard time, but I just don’t like soccer fans.”

I’ve been to four Timbers matches in the last five days: an international friendly, a U23, a reserves match and an MLS derby. I’m tired. My throat is sore from singing and yelling. I have a huge bruise on my knee that I’m pretty sure is from the match on Wednesday. I’ve got a sunburn from this afternoon’s game. In short: everything hurts.

I say this so you understand my mood. My nerves are, perhaps, the tiniest bit raw where all things soccer are concerned.

I can understand folks not liking soccer. They don’t get it. That’s fine. They have other things they understand and enjoy.

Last Saturday, I walked with a team at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Great Strides event here in Portland, a team that included several other soccer fans and Timbers keeper Joe Bendik. When we were done there, a fair few of us made our way to the St. Baldrick’s event where a bunch of other soccer fans, members of the Timbers Army and a handful of past and present Timbers players had their heads shaved to raise money to fight childhood cancer.

Timber Jim, a legend in the Portland soccer community and beyond and a man I’m proud to call a friend, will host an art and memorabilia auction next Sunday benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (tickets available here). The Timbers Army, in addition to all the other charity work they do (Friends of Trees, Oregon Food Bank, American Red Cross) recently committed to raising another $40,000 to fund Harper’s Playground, a playground meant to be inclusive of children with disabilities who might not otherwise have a safe place to play (more info here).

This is just a fraction of the stuff fans in Portland are participating in. There are nineteen MLS clubs, each with a pretty hearty following doing some pretty amazing stuff. (Well, most of them. I don’t know what they do in Seattle other than complain about Portland but that’s for another post.)

So, sunshine, what is it that you don’t like about soccer fans?

Is it that we’ve found something that unites us like nothing else could? That we’ve found a passion you envy? That you’re jealous of our flag-waving, scarf-twirling, clever chant-writing abilities? What? What is it?

Here’s where I get all sentimental and repeat things I’ve said before.

Though I’ve attended occasional soccer games for half a decade, it was just a year ago, at a time when I’d lost the identity afforded me by long-term employment or by my status as a student, that I was adopted by an Army. With open arms, I was welcomed. “Here,” the Army said to me. “Come, stand with us. Watch this game. Break bread with us. Become one of us.”

And I did. I bought in wholly and completely. Headlong into the deep end of the pool. I am grateful for every minute of the ride, even the more painful ones.

What is there about soccer fans that pissed this guy off?

I’m not saying we don’t have your fair share of idiots. We do. But for every idiot I’ve encountered, there’s been a dozen really phenomenal folks. The kinds of folks I want to know for a very long time.

The guy who says he doesn’t like soccer fans? Well, let’s just say I don’t feel the same way about him.



Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Timbers


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