My friends, the season is finally upon us. In 34 hours, my life can begin again. In October, I swear to god it felt like life stalled out... like entering into an unwilling and unending hibernation. I was lost with no one to turn to. I ended up alone in the dead of winter desperate and in the cold and uncaring embrace of a far off Manchester United game as the rain beat sadly against my windows. Unfortunately, these are what winters now consist of here for us: too many months spent waiting, talking about the upcoming season, and berating Sounders fans as we will it with all our hearts to be April.
In the interim, us few but proud soccer fans in the US converse about the amazing 23-year old Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo the crybaby, the maestro Ryan Giggs, and of course Didier Drogba, the total dickhead. (All of these, are true, by the way.) EPL, La Liga, Champions League... all may help to quell the anxiety of a life without live soccer, but when all is said and done, it is a Timbers game that provides the ultimate release of pride, glory, and happiness. I have the tendency to write about relationships in my life, but I only have one true love, and they are the Portland Timbers.
For most Timbers fans, life is football. It may sound a bit cliched, but I mean it with every fiber of my being. During the all too brief summer season, we lead passionate love affairs with the team and the wonderful people who share our pride. (Not literally of course...) We are the 12th man. Every single one of us, bound together in an everlasting love for the Timbers. In the words of the fantastic movie Goal, "The name on the front of the shirt is more important than the one on the back." And every single one of us wears the name "Timbers" with pride.
90 minutes is not enough. I crave week long games. I crave that part right at the end of the National Anthem when the stadium erupts in a "home of the Timbers!!!" roar, the stands a flurry of scarves and streamers. I want to yell at the referee as Stephen Keel picks another fight. I long to live forever in the moment when Ryan Pore scored in the final minutes while the Army held up sunflowers. When the stadium empties but for the Army that remains behind to chant for the players as they walk around and applaud us back. One is overwhelmed with a manic-happiness; a blind, heart pounding sense of magic not found anywhere else. The heart swells to a point that you think it might just burst right out of your chest. A dizzying sense of passion for a team... It just can't be found anywhere else.
I remember my first game, five years ago. I received home opener tickets for my birthday from my now exboyfriend- good tickets, at half line. We made it all of one half before moving to stand with the Army. And I've never left. Boyfriends may come and go, but the Timbers are for life. As we move on to the MLS, an excitement that I cannot describe overwhelms me when I think that soon our excitement and fever will be shared with the world. I am Rose City Til I Die. We are the Timbers Army- there is no greater pride.