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Standing (And Flying) with the Timbers Army

Saturday, October 24, 2015

 

Last week, there was only one thing I could have told you about the Portland Timbers.  If you wear Timbers gear, you get priority boarding on Alaska Airlines flights to Portland.  I fly on Alaska pretty frequently and I’ve only ever seen a couple of people take advantage of this.  But late last Sunday night on a flight back to Portland from Los Angeles, I arrived and boarded late to find a sea of green waiting for me inside the plane. 

I thought, wow, so many Timbers fans on this flight.  But as I made my way slowly down the narrow airplane aisle something dawned on me.  These weren’t flyers eager to get on the plane five minutes earlier than everyone else.  These were the actual Portland Timbers.  They must have been in town playing a game.  This is how little I knew about them, despite the fact that I’ve been hearing whispers involving the words Timbers and playoffs around town for the last couple of weeks. 

It’s important to note at this stage that I spent the last six years of my life in Boise, Idaho.  A city and state without any professional sports teams.  I’ve been a little out of touch.  I only moved to Portland in August which I hope will earn me some forgiveness to you long-time fans and readers.  So when the captain spoke over the intercom and confirmed what I now knew to be true by congratulating the Timbers on their victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy and the cabin of passengers burst into applause I made an important connection.  My first assumption about early boarders in Timbers gear had been wrong.  But my immediate jump to being on board with the Timbers players was partially wrong as well.  This was a plane full of Timbers players and coaches, but most importantly, it was my first encounter with the Timbers Army.  The seats were filled out with people who had followed the team down to the game to cheer them on.  And then there was me.

So I was late to the party, but I got there.  And I have to say, I couldn’t have picked a better moment.  To highlight my level of ignorance to all things Major League Soccer, I’ll admit here that I didn’t even know when the MLS season ran.  As it happens, and as I’m sure most of you out there know, there is one more game this season.  On Sunday, the Timbers will play the Colorado Rapids and with a win would secure a home playoff berth.  Apparently the Rapids haven’t been great this year and currently represent the bottom of the Western Conference, but they don’t allow a lot of goals, which will make it a challenge for the Timbers.   

My unusual encounter with the Timbers opened my eyes to something amazing about the Portland community.  I have been a long-time Blazers fan, and I’ve seen people rally around Rip City, but I was unaware of the similar passion brought to games by the Timbers Army.  Though they may be smaller community of fans, nothing could detract from the spirited ferocity with which they support their team and represent their city.  One of the best things I’ve found about living in Portland so far is the sense of community evident in every corner of the city.  And never is it more prevalent than when we’re all supporting our teams.  So I did what anyone else would do, I bought a ticket to Sunday’s game so I could stand proudly with the Timbers Army for the first, but certainly not last, time.

If you want a more in-depth look at the last week of the MLS season, check out The Portland Timbers’ Guide to the Final Week of MLS.  The final game of the season will be played this Sunday, October 25 at 4:00 PDT at Providence Park.  Since it will be my first game, please comment below or find me on Twitter to tell me anything you think I should know before my first Timbers experience.  Obviously, I need your help.  I’ll see you there.   

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: Timbers v. San Jose in Pictures

Despite a record-setting offensive night from the Timbers, a 3-3 draw was the final result against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes. Here are pictures from the game.

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

 
 

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