First, one of our defenders, Nikki Marshall, was waived back in September, right after the Girls in Red brought home the ugly-ass NWSL trophy (that's it over on the left and, yeah, it's pretty fuckin' ugly...except it looks a hell of a lot better sitting in our trophy case here in Portland. Heh).
Nikki is supposedly playing for our rival Seattle Reign but has more or less flat-out dismissed playing in the league next year.
Then Marian Dougherty, her backline partner, retired to take a real job.
The little-spoken fact of the National Women's Soccer League is that there are two types of players; those "allocated" from their national teams and those who can't make an honest living from their sport. Rumor - since the league is extraordinarily close-mouthed about its pay scale - says that the non-allocated players make as little as six or seven thousand a year from their playing gig. That's chump change for a good player but pretty typical of most sports, and in particular the NWSL has chosen to try and avoid paying out anything in order to avoid the solvency issues that crushed the three earlier attempts at forming a women's pro league here.
And today the first head coach - the manager, as they'd call her in Britain - of Thorns FC, Cindy Parlow Cone, has resigned.
And for the worst possible reason; her job was tearing her marriage apart. Her husband, John, resigned as the head of the Timbers' fitness staff today as well. Parlow Cone said: “Coaching the Thorns has been one of the highlights of my career. However, due to the scheduling conflicts created by the job, I realized that despite being a great move for my career, it was less than ideal for the health of my marriage - which is the most important thing in my life."
That's a damn hard road to find yourself on, to make you quit your job.
I've been there; not so much quitting my job to try and save my marriage but in the midst of a failing marriage finding myself in that cold iron place where it feels like the joy, the purpose, and the very reasons for living, have been leached out of your life.
You get up and go through the day but find no hope there. The world, and your place in it, seem very fallow, empty of the prospect of a gentler days to come.
This just reminds me of something I've said, and said here, before; that every day we live is a gift we're given.
Not that we will always want that gift. Sometimes that gift is a poisoned one.
Sometimes it is a horror so frightful that we cannot dare look upon it.
Sometimes it is pure joy. Sometimes it is a-tremble with happiness. Sometimes it is top-gallant delight, a delight so sweet and dear that it pierces our breast, a joy akin to weeping.
And...sometimes it is just...another day.
Another and another in the tripping string between our first breath and our last.
Some days are just a day, no better and no worse.
The part that catches in my throat, though, is how carelessly we assume that there will be another, and that that next day will be alike the last, and the last.
But it won't; there's nothing to say that today won't be the end of our marriage, or our love, or our hopes, or our life.
I could talk more about Coach Parlow Cone, and the Thorns, and what this may mean for the club, and Portland soccer, in 2014. But if you wanted to read about that you'd be following my work over at Slide Rule Pass, and this site isn't that site. I will have more to say about the soccer business side of this over there.
Today, here, I just wanted to remember again that every day we live we are a gift of love; that it's not such a bad thing to hold to that happy day and to work for the next as hard as we can.
Because oftimes it is only when the day draws to a close and the sky grows dark, and the cold wind closes around us, that we look back and remember that happy time and look forward with hesitation or fear, knowing that we cannot go back and that going forward gives us no assurance that we will emerge from the cold and the night.