Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Katter bort!

Went to the Timbers match Sunday, and took my bride.That in itself is something of an oddity. The Loved One enjoys a good soccer match as much as the next woman, but she also loves her peace and is a woman of calm good sense, none of which is there to be had in the North End at a Timbers contest.But she knows I love both the game and the surroundings, so when our friends Brent and Julie offered us their tickets she gamely stood by her man for ninety minutes to watch the final preseason friendly against the Swedish club AIK.

It was a fairly decent match, as footy goes; one-nil to the home side, which is always polite - a guest is never pushy - although these guests played a pretty rugged game of calcio. Our new Scots striker headed one in almost before the singing started (and was desperately unlucky not to get a second before the half) and the Boys in Red held on to the one-goal lead despite some shifty work at the back.But for my inamorata the real fun was all around her.

Our capo - the leader of the singing and chanting in the Timbers Army was this wonderful gal we called "Rosie" (because she looked sturdy and energetic enough to pull a double shift at Kaiser riveting together Liberty Ships) - is a long-term fixture in Section 108 and did her usual terrific job of conducting the singing; Mojo found her quite delightful.I liked this gal, who, in the excitement of the moment, actually slipped her feet out of her shoes and stood on them. Probably easier on the soles than the nubbly terrace pavement, but whatever the reason she made for a rather cute picture.As always, the Army poured out their hearts and their songs for the team; that's the Great Tradition of the game, and in case you enjoy a good singalong, here's a terrific place on the Web to learn a new song or two: "FanChants". They even have my favorite Newcastle song to the tune of Yellow Submarine, with the chorus that goes "Peter Reid had a fookin' monkey's head, a fookin' monkey's head, a fookin' monkey's head..."One thing you can always count on in Portland is creativity, and here's my vote for the so-far tifo of the year.I have no idea if AIK has a mouse mascot or not, but Jeld-Wen Field - from the days when it was plain old Civic Stadium - really DOES have a colony of feral cats, so, there. Great signage, whatever the real Swedish mouse situation.

The real thing starts next Monday, and should be a hellacious battle; our old enemies the Flounders of Seattle are looking scary good, and we'll have to be strong and fierce to bring the Cascadia Cup home to Stumptown this season.Cats away!


Lisa said...

You give us such a good perspective on the Timbers experience -- much more than we'd get from the sports pages.

You have a wonderful way of making things intimate, like we're right there with you.

FDChief said...

I'm glad you enjoy my descriptions. I do enjoy the way we rock the Shed End.

And I don't know if I've emphasized this, but one of the things I love about the Timbers Army - the thing about it that is very "Portland" - is what it's not; a bunch of drunken yobbos shrieking abuse at the players and the traveling fans. And that has a hell of a lot to do with the fact that a whole lot of the original TA were women, older guys, and decent sorts in general. They deliberately chose not to be like many other "ultra" groups. For one thing, there has never been an "oldtimers vs. noobs" division here. If you want to buy a brand new "No Pity" scarf and turn up one day and sing, fine. Nobody will get all pissy about it.

We police our own, and we've never had a problem with things thrown onto the pitch, or fighting.

We do offend; early in the first top flight season we heard some griping in the letters to the editor about the rude chants. But, to the credit of the supporters and the front office nobody backed down sobbing "Think of the children!" If you want to bring your kiddos to the match, fine, but I'm going to flip off the referee when he fucks up and call him a blind, porch-robbing bastard, so if you don't want your kid's tender ears to hear me, sit somewhere else!

As I've said elsewhere; it's a cruel game!

Lisa said...

I think it's super that it's good spirited hardball. There's something healthy about that.

It either leaches something necessary out of the system, or allows for passion to grow via its (albeit somewhat constrained) expression; maybe both.