April 16, 2011
tonight, on the way into the match i was filled beyond belief with excitement and resolution. for me and my papi this had been ten years in the making if not my entire life. we gathered around five pm for our customary beers before the match. the marathon taverna the pre funk bar of choice this time. Drew and i came up from downtown after a rough day and as we popped out of the train it was apparent that the lads from the army were already pumped as the line to get in was wrapped around the new stadium and everyone was singing. it filled my heart a little and down the hill we went to drink a few before the real shenanigans would commence. as the drinks in the pub began to flow, my friends began to lighten up and we all just felt the anticipation of the night. when it was time to head to the match, it of course was pouring down rain and we were all a little tipsy. heading in the wall along the entrance was lined with empty bottles from the party that had begun early in the day.
inside the stadium we walked out to the north end and ended up standing in section 206 with the mass of the army filling up the lower bowl of 107 where 10 years ago my papi and i along with 30-50 others began this slow ascension to today. ten years ago the timbers army began with a small group spit evenly between ex pats and us hardcore aficionados who had been searching our lives for the passion you can feel for this sport in other countries.
now as the hour before the match even starts we are louder than we ever have been in the last 10 years as now we are 3500 voices strong, this euphoric camaraderie of the timbers army all drunk singing to our boys, to a nation of rapt believers. going in we all knew the army would sing the national anthem acapella. as the lads filed onto the field and the deafening sound of the crowd filled your soul with joy and love. i remembered the youth championship last year where about a thousand of us waiting for the timbers u-23s game to start, spontaneously began our tradition of singing it and wooshing our scarves as they did not have someone to sing the anthem. you cannot help but to be filled with tears of joy. this is euphoric joy as eighteen thousand plus voices all rise in praise. as rocket fireworks flash off and we all sing the home of the timbers. this is it, we are here and ready!
we are off and running with the army launching into an incessant roar of songs. i cannot even describe the undulating feeling pulsing through me as we sing and sing and sing to the lads on the field. the match has started well and i am feeling nothing but the highs of this occasion. in my heart i know we are going to win tonight on the pitch and in the stands. the first goal goes in off a corner but some bullshit call takes it away from us. in the north end it just sets our resolve even greater as we keep drinking and singing louder. then the first goal and the second. then its halftime. the excitement among the lads is great as we begin again and go 3-nil up. i know we will not loose this match. i keep singing. we keep singing. then the final whistle comes and its 4-2 Timbers.
i have never felt such perfect euphoria before. maybe when emily was born and i held her for the first time, but this is something deep, proud but not accomplished. its more like a saturation of the soul, joy and drunken singing. my love of this sport began when i was three to these sounds head on highlight shows overseas. this though is the beginning of the real future based on 10 years of passion for the lads in green. the next day listening to us sing the national anthem. reading about the coach and players leaving the door to the locker room open to listen to our serenade. i read all the press about the match, the lads, the army. it is my army, my boys and i cannot help the tears of euphoric joy at the camaraderie that we have in my beloved rose city. i cannot help myself again to start singing; wise men say, only fools rush in. i can't help falling in love with you. take my heart, take my whole life too. i can't help falling in love with you!