May 15th, 2010

Walking

THERE'S NO PITY IN THE ROSE CITY

Thought by me but not said by me: "I'm looking for the pity. Any pity here?"

Silly Chris. The Portland Timbers fans who chant "THERE'S NO PITY IN THE ROSE CITY!" have probably heard that before.

Tonight was the first soccer game I've attended in probably a decade, and the previous games I'd attended were all kids' teams (my cousin Cindy's and, earlier, Sean's and, much earlier, like early-Eighties earlier, mine). Portland has one more season of minor league soccer before it gets Major League Soccer (see the capitals?), and I've meant to get to games this season. My cousin Max and I have tentative plans for her to come down from Seattle this summer so we can go together, but today while out and about I saw a Portland Timbers/Portland Beavers schedule, picked it up, saw that there was a game tonight and thought Why not? And indeed I went!

I was one of (official attendance) 10,057 people at PGE Park to watch the Timbers play AC St. Louis. I ran into Cort Webber of The Cort and Fatboy Show as I headed to the ticket booth. I can't drink tonight (blood donation and beer don't go together) so I told him "Get drunk on my behalf." And to prevent any accidental suspense, nope, I didn't drink. Had I drank, I'd probably be asleep right now. And this was DEFINITELY not me. ;-) (photo courtesy Emily Gibson of the Timbers Army)

I got a seat high up in the second level, facing SW 18th Ave. and the Oregonian printing press building, and soaked in the spirit of the game and the ambiance of the century-old ballpark. I didn't run around in the building too much, though that's what I like to do in older buildings because they're fun to explore. I watched as very fit young men hustled around the pitch, running and kicking and literally using their heads. This reminded me of my comment one World Cup ago, back in 2006: "I still boggle at the concept of the head as a precision directional instrument." (This also reminded me of what Matt Damon said in Dogma.)

Those guys run well. And the crowd was happy. I saw committed Timbers-and-soccer-in-general fan Shawn Levy briefly; later I also said "hi" to one of the Bagdad waitresses. All sorts of cool people get to these games!

I don't remember enough about soccer to break down the game in any detail. The Timbers were ahead for much of the second half (after a scoreless first half), but St. Louis tied the game early in the two minutes of added time at the end, and a free kick wasn't enough for the Timbers to get one more goal. Oh, well. I went "Augh!" roughly, but then laughed. I try not to get too caught up in the sort of thinking that goes We must win or all things suck!!! And, as best as I can tell, the Timbers Army doesn't, either. Each game is a chance to cheer effort, chant, and drink. (Mike Russell did a Culture Pulp comic on the loyal, committed, entertained and entertaining fans of the Timbers back in 2005. The big changes are that more people attend the games now and Timber Jim (who has his own Wikipedia entry) retired, succeeded by Timber Joey.)

More game-watching will follow; I want to get to at least one Portland Beavers game this final in-Portland season, plus more Timbers. But I had to start somewhere. Yay me for starting!