The holiday weekend is finally here, and, frankly, I'm exhausted after a full week of work, the arrival of the Hot Weather, and three soccer matches in 96 hours.Sunday the Peeper and I went to see the Portland Timbers play Montreal. It was the Peep's first soccer match, his first big venue for anything, and it was a very grown-up and exciting day. We rode downtown on the MAX train and got to the park hours before game time, but just in time to get the Peeper into the "Junior Timbers", which included scoring a backpack and wristband, coupons for kidlet food, and a tour of the old barn that included going down on the field and actually - and I had to stifle a grin when this was announced - "touching Timber Joey's log".Now TJ is NOT MJ, so there was nothing inappropriate except for some pine sap to rub off the palms. And after that there was hotdogs and shaved ice to enjoy, and a new scarf to buy, and then lots of exciting footy to take in. We did have to move down a bit, since the Timbers Army was in good voice, but the little soldier did his bit, standing for the right chants and cheering every one of Portland's four goals.
I worried that he'd get tired, or bored, but he wanted to stay to the final whistle. Great game, great kid.
Oh, I should tell you that I told him that one Magic Thing about soccer matches is that you can say things there that you can't say ANYWHERE else. So when the Army sang or chanted those words that Mommy doesn't like - like the f-bomb - he just smiled a big eyed smile. Because that's the Soccer Magic. But on the way home he was confronted with a different sort of urban magic. First a bunch of young guys jammed the train doors open and were tossed amid a sulfurous barrage of bad language. Then there was the homeless girl verbally bitch-slapping her BF. And the scruffy couple taken off by the fare cops right in front of his saucer-like eyes - I've never seen the boy produce anything as quickly as he found his ticket!
He raced in the door and tripped over himself babbling out the stories to his mom. Who sniffled a little..."he's such a big boy..."
And so he is.
Wednesday night was the Timbers against Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup. Great match, crap result (let in a goal in the first 50 seconds and see if it doesn't set you back on your heels...). But Mojo and I - OK, well, I - soaked in the sensation of 16,000 fans rocking the old Civic with chants, songs and noise. We even had our own tifo: Timber Jim cuts down the Seattle Space Needle - The Army, as you can hear, is in great voice, and felt like San Siro or the Maracana for a night, with the Sounder Flounders (or Shamus or whatever the Seattle supporters' group is called) singing right back.
And tonight was Portland against the Bayern Munich reserve side. Me and the Peep, again, with the usual shave ice and hot dogs, chanting and racing up to the top aisle under the massive timber roof. Hooting the new horn to make the dark fir rafters echo and boom. Shouting and leaping home along the MAX tracks, his bright little boy face alight with life...or drawn in with concern as his bounds almost took him unto the bed of a homeless man sleeping in a doorway for the night.
He's growing up fast, the little man, almost faster than my feet can catch up with him. That's okay, big Peep. That's your job, to run on ahead; to shout and whoop and leap, to explode with energy and joy. When your eyes light with glee they kindle an answering flame down deep in my heart. I love you, buddy."We'll Be Coming.
We'll Be Coming.
We'll Be Coming Down The Road.
When you hear the noise of the Timbers Army boys.
We'll Be Coming Down The Road".