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Laughter and faith

Martin Luther was a rebel. A rabble rouser. A bit of a hoolie. He got mad and took a stand and nailed his words to the doors of a church.

And he said some smart stuff.

I’ve been stressed out for the last couple weeks. First with the Chivas nightmares and now with the looming prospect of marching into Centurylink with 1,200 of my friends to watch the Timbers’ first MLS-era playoff match.

It’s a match that has created basically the perfect storm of emotion and sentimentality and heartburn for me and so many people around me. This means everything.

We’re an emotional bunch whether we individually admit to it or not.

I watched the Chivas match last week with people I didn’t know well, people who gave me a bit of a confused, bemused look when I tried to explain to them why I needed to go to the stadium after the game instead of going bowling with them. I stumbled over my words. How do you explain something like that?

You don’t. You just go. You live by following your heart.

And I was happy to find someone at the stadium when I got there, someone who understood a bit of my rambling crazy. For that, and for so many more of you who’ve listened to me or read these onscreen words as I’ve babbled nearly incoherently about love and passion and community and, occasionally, soccer, I am now and will forever be grateful.

Believe beyond reason. We say this over and over. But now, we’re believing within reason.

Which brings me back to Martin Luther.

“You have as much laughter,” Luther said,”As you have faith.”

I’ve been nervous to this point. Nervous and apprehensive and overly-sensitive. But it doesn’t matter. Whatever happens will happen.

I know my club can win. I know they have the right combination of skill and strength and desire. I have faith in them.

And with that, let the laughter begin. Let the stress and the apprehension fade to nothing and be replaced with song and love and laughter.

Onward, Rose City.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2013 in Timbers 2013

 

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Welcome to my nightmare.

I’ve been having this recurring dream since before the Timbers’ last trip to Vancouver that when it came down to this, the last match of the regular season, it would be Chivas that would knock us out of contention for everything.

Well, we’ve secured a playoff match and there’s nothing they can do about that. So, we’re cool, right?

No. We’re very definitely not cool.

With the RSL win over Chivas last night, PTFC sits in second place in the Western Conference, a fine place to be when one considers where we were at this point last year. But there is the potential for so much more. A win against the goats on Saturday puts us back on top. And a loss by New York and a loss or a draw from SKC combined with that potential win, well….

Yeah. So Chivas. It doesn’t happen unless the Timbers take all three points Saturday from Chivas. On the road. In a stadium in which the Timbers have never won.

Keys to success for Chivas? A healthy Dan Kennedy seemed essential, but last night showed us that even their number two keeper has some skills. And they have Torres, little Cubo Torres, who is a force. And Boca, who seems to finally be regaining his stride. And rookie Matt Fondy continues to be sharp as a late-game sub.

And I’m terrified. Of Chivas. That’s how weird this season has been.

The Timbers will play this game, against a club that’s lodged firmly at the bottom of our conference, with everything on the line.

Everything. A loss drops us from the Supporters Shield race but it’s the potential for injury that’s driven my blood pressure ever higher. With Valeri and Urruti currently listed as questionable (though that may be updated tomorrow) and Ricketts needing a short nap around the 70th minute of every match, I’m scared that even the slightest injury to one of our expected starters could mean a shift in momentum, something I don’t want to see going into the playoffs.

***

So, let’s talk about expectations for a minute.

The Timbers are in the playoffs for the first time in their MLS era. That’s a pretty big deal. Few of us expected to see them there. And even fewer of us expected they would still be in the race for the Supporters Shield with one game left to play in the regular season.

I’ll raise my hand and say that I want to win it all. I want that Shield. I want that Cup. I want them.

And, if it turns out that both land in different cities this year, I’ll be momentarily disappointed. But, more than that, I will be content with a season well-played.

A new coach, a team that saw incredible turnover in the offseason, a run deep into the Open Cup tournament and now a playoff spot. That’s a lot for one year.

So, take a deep breath and remember what an amazing ride this has been.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2013 in Timbers 2013

 

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