The Sober Saturday challenge

I think for more reasons than we care to admit, yesterday’s match against DC United will be a memorable one. A typically gloomy Pacific Northwest-style Memorial Day weekend. The penalty kick fiasco. Discussions of who was actually officiating the game (the center referee or the east linesman). No shortage of material.

One thing that I will remember is the tone of sections 101-108 & 201-208. While we were certainly louder than most other American supporters sections this weekend, I don’t believe our A-game was on display. The volume was down a notch or two. The breaks between chants seemed a bit longer. When compared to our previous five appearances this season, yesterday’s presence was above average, but not excellent.

I have a couple theories on why this happened. 1) An early Sunday afternoon game under cloudy skies (in late May) does not a festive atmosphere make. 2) DC United players of various interests (Davies, McCarty, Cronin) didn’t make an appearance. But I believe this last one might be the overarching reason:

3) Too many hangovers.

Folks, I read the Twitters and Facebooks. I know what most of us were up to. In this world where everyone shares everything at every possible juncture, it’s difficult to avoid the mundane updates. I’m just as guilty of this. So it’s not hard for me to recognize the signs. We were slower. We were quieter. We had to exert more energy for a lesser performance.

This morning I looked at the Timbers’ schedule to find our next early afternoon home game. Thankfully it’s not a big deal of a game. Just a casual Sunday game, July 10th against Seattle on ESPN that kicks off (as of now) at 1:00 pm local time. No biggie.

So here’s where I’m going with this. I’m going to issue a challenge to the Timbers Army. It’s one that I know will get me a lot of flack. Some might even call it controversial. Even I’m having a hard time writing it down, but here it is:

I want all Timbers Army members to stay 100% sober on Saturday, July 9.
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This includes all of July 9 (midnight to midnight), and part of July 10 (midnight to 6:00 am). You can only start drinking after 6:00 am on match day, and after you’re within walking distance of JWF. That’s 30 hours of sobriety, followed by seven hours of “ramp-up time” prior to kick-off.

If we bring yesterday’s presence to the game on July 10, we’ll be begging ESPN to return to Portland in 2012. It simply won’t cut it. We have to bring everything we’ve got into the July 10 match, and coming in hung over will do far more harm than good.

So…who’s in for #ss79 (Sober Saturday on July 9th)?

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73 Responses to The Sober Saturday challenge

  1. Bridget says:

    While I am certainly willing to except the challenge (most of my friends won’t believe I will), I think it should also be noted the number of NEW army members. Sitting in sections 102 and 103 for these games I am perpetually surrounded by first timers. They catch on quickly but it does make a difference.

    Additionally, the truth is that when there is intense play, we like to actually watch the game too! So keep the simple chants going during intense moments so we can keep up with both! ;)

    Lastly, thank you for keeping us going! RCTID

  2. Shawn Levy says:

    In. Haven’t had a drop in two-plus years, so it’s not exactly cutting off a limb to escape a bear trap, but In.

  3. Ryan says:

    I’m down. I think a healthy dinner and an early bed-time the night before is in my future.

  4. Holly says:

    I agree completely. I kept reading comments about how great the atmosphere was, and I was puzzled, because I thought we were really flat yesterday. We didn’t get going until the anthem, we lost all of our chant volume every time something happened on the field, and a whole lot of people weren’t singing at all. If ethyl alcohol was to blame for any of that, then I’m happy to forgo it on Shittle-day Eve.

  5. David Wagoner says:

    I noticed the atmosphere yesterday too. I’m in. Let’s make sure Bitter End is prepped with plenty of juice on Saturday.

  6. Teri Benner says:

    Watching it on TV (MLS Direct Kick–live in Washington), the crowd was much more subdued than prior matches. The commentators even made mention of it, and I’m pretty sure they were United annoucers.

    I wish I were attending, I live in Seattle and can’t stand the Sounders…and I would gladly take on that challenge!!! RCTID

  7. Christopher VanOchten says:

    I’m in (also too easy for me, so not sure if I count), but I’d actually say we weren’t drunk enough, or rather, too much drinking at the match, versus beforehand. The BE was only open at 10AM, for goodness sakes!

    Moar night matches in the rain, please.

  8. Philip says:

    From our perspective in 206, there were a lot of first timers at the game yesterday. People didn’t know to stand – let alone to chant. It threw off the energy and made it harder for us to sync in with the rest of the army. It was the first time in memory where we had to yell “stand up!” to anyone sitting in our section. While alcohol may play a role it definitely wasn’t to blame for the unusually quiet 206. RCTID!

  9. DemonJuice says:

    Begrudgingly in.

  10. brandon says:

    We were plenty loud and obnoxious in 113, but out of sync. I think the confusing officiating had a lot of people asking others what happened and for me I was tired, because i did get a goodnights sleep but I got up at 9 and was drinking at the BE by 11, 2 and a half hours wasnt enough time to get amped up. So may I suggest in addition to a sober sat. We also have an early breakfast event or something to get us all up early.

  11. Jerry Langan says:

    Worst blog post ever. Seriously?

  12. Angie says:

    Totally in. I wasn’t hungover but I was tired. Couple that with the fact that 3-4 people in my row (front row of 102) were sitting, I really had to dig deep to be loud for our boys. The people who were sitting really irritated me, especially during the Tetris chant.

    @Jerry – yes, seriously. If we want to keep saying we’re the best supporters group in the MLS then we need to show it and yesterday was not as good as other matches. We’re way better than that.

  13. Fernando says:

    Can we have a few right before the match??

  14. Wes says:

    I’m not sure that hangovers were that much of a part of the problem, but I absolutely support someone doing something about solving our issues. It’ll be tough, but I’m in.

  15. Chris Rifer says:

    Perhaps, then, this calls for a Saturday tifo-making party with generous amounts of root beer, etc.?

  16. Lendog says:

    It was a holiday weekend ffs

  17. Paul says:

    The Sunday afternoon start time has lot to do with lower crowd energy. Not sure why, but the Dallas game was also down in volume. I think Sunday afternoon games, like friendlies, bring out more noobs and families. But I can’t put it all on them. People in the club sections and “almost club” sections (here’s looking at you Section 95!) need to put down their prawn sandwiches and get louder too.

  18. Dan says:

    I’m in, though I don’t think the lower crowd energy is due to hangovers. I think this part of a downward trend in the energy level since the home opener… there are constant new faces popping up and many, many people are acting like confused tourists. It’s gotten to the point where I’m thinking of leaving the Army next year if it keeps up. I think next year, the 107ist needs to insist that the TA season ticket allotment be upped. Also, not allowing any corporate sales, giveaways, etc. in any TA sections would be enormously helpful in weeding out the tourists from the people who are serious about being a part of the best SG in MLS.

  19. Ryan says:

    Can 104 still have their hookers and blow Saturday night?

  20. lex says:

    Not in. I’m an adult and can mange my intake the night before any event the next day to ensure I’m ready to go. Even if I am hungover I’m still singing my lungs out, forgetting the noobs/tourists sitting around me in 207. If people can’t manage their intake or muster up the energy for two hours to sing for our boys then maybe they have bigger problems and should be over in the midfield seats.

  21. Juan Farias says:

    Better Idea, how about drinking for 30 hours straight until the game?

  22. Jamie Krueger says:

    I’m on board, but need to cut back on alcohol intake for other reasons. Though I think the 30 hours straight idea has merit.
    @Angie The whole Tetris thing was irritating to me as well. There was a group of statues in the middle of 103 and nowhere to go towards 102.

  23. michael israel says:

    i’m in. great job taking notice of the hangover contribution. i noticed on twitter right b4 i headed to the match that a lot of people were selling their tickets because of hangover situations or generally commenting on a rough night. that coupled with the earliness of the game (not allowing people to work through their impacted state of being) seemed to really drag down the strength of the TA.

  24. Becca says:

    You all who blame the lack of Army noise on new MLS match viewers ahould be terribly ashamed of yourselves. There are a ton of people (self included) who want to support the Timbers by physically being at a match, but have only managed to catch the games on tv. Because I have only watched on tv and wouldn’t know any chants if I went to a game, I ask you, does this make me less of a fan? I think not. If you all can’t find it within yourselves to be accepting of new members into the Timbers Army…well, then that’s a group I (and I’m sure others) wouldn’t really want to be a part of. The city of Portland has long been heralded for “acceptance” and not “passing judgement” and I feel that a poor segment of Portland and the Army have posted here passing and putting blame on new attendees. Thanks for squelching any excitement I’ve had in wanting to attend a game at JWF. I don’t know if I could be loud enough, stand up enough, and so into making noise that I missed parts of the game. Again, shame on all of you.

    • Andrew Brawley says:


      sorry to hear of your dissatisfaction. Please know that this first season in MLS is an adjustment period for everyone. Just before the season started, we posted a couple guide for veterans and first-timers. Perhaps we should re-promote these points:


    • Paul says:

      Becca, I can’t speak for everyone else here but I hope you didn’t take my comments above
      as putting the blame (blame is such an ugly word) on new people or families. It was
      just a general observation on my part and perhaps the same for others too. Part of the fun is
      seeing noobs anywhere in the stadium get into things. On the other hand, there are some
      noobs who don’t seem to make an effort. Some people at games really don’t like the
      TA at all. On Oregon Live today a so-called Timbers fan at the game yesterday commented that he wished the Timbers Army would just “shut the f%$k up” just because he “doesn’t like all the singing and chanting”. So I understand where some comments here are coming from. Just understand that the Timbers Army is a big group, with people coming from all walks of life. Not to sound like a lawyer, but one persons opinion here doesn’t represent the views of everyone.

      • Kip K says:

        It’s been the way of things for many years – people that want into the scene but don’t want to participate. It’s up to the people in the section to educate as best as possible and encourage participation, because some will join in and get it.

        I think Sunday’s match had a unusual combination of holiday match time (which adds in plenty of newer fans with older fans out of town for other things), odd officiating, uneven match play, emotional roller coaster of events, and an expectation that we win every home match simply by taking the pitch. Even the boys didn’t seem to know what to say after the effort, but it’s simple: play hard every match and the results will happen. Don’t just expect to win simply by showing up.

    • Dave says:

      Agreed, these people are SNOOBS (or snobs).

  25. John says:

    I’ll try anything once.

    I noticed the organized chants started later than at other matches. Maybe using the pre-game time as a tutorial can help those who don’t know the chants by heart. I was in 107 during play and there was a lot of confusion over calls, team play (Cooper mostly), and substitutions being discussed.

    Lastly, enough whining about noobs/tourists. School them. Warmly introduce your bad self, hand them a chant sheet, and welcome them to the world’s best supporters group. Much more effective than bellyaching about it online.

  26. Kelly Payne says:

    Not an excuse, but there was fresh meat in 108. Personally did my part to give them chant sheets and crepe paper. We were in a bubble of good TA, and nOObs being coached. We will take it up a notch next time.

  27. Jacob Wright says:

    Another helpful tip that I use to kill the dead time is sing one more complete verse of the chant after the capo drum stops. I get a lot of unusual looks because of my supposed lack of attention, but I got a few people giving it one more verse, just so our boys don’t have to hear silence. Add that to the list of thinks to do!

  28. Dan Porter says:

    No thanks.

  29. Nicole says:

    I’m in… But mostly because I don’t remember any of the match up in Sh*ttle, so I’d actually like to be able to recall one Flounders match this season!

  30. lex says:

    I don’t care how long you’ve been going to matches. If you’re there, then chant, sing, clap, put your arms up, whatever. There were plenty of chant sheets going around in 207, so there is no excuse. Participate or make room for those who want to sing. I don’t give a damn when your last drink was. Just get into it.

  31. Paul says:

    I’m in. However, I think having TWO goals taken back was quite deflating for everyone.

  32. Tim says:

    Rabble rabble rabble rabble

  33. Emily says:

    Count me in. I’ve only made it to one match this season and it was the home opener. The Sh*ttle match atmosphere better not let me down! I’m ready to bring my A+ game!

  34. ale_conner says:

    I think I’ll do the opposite, as I too have the vaguest memory at important matches. I actually tried roaming the army at the DC match, and half the people that surrounded me were more “entertained by” the chants rather than “part of” the chants. I think the energy at the Sh*ttle match alone will help bring our A game.

    One last note on July 10: Anyone that still thinks it’s cool to yell “F*ck Seattle” during the opening chant/goal chant needs to reconsider why they’re part of the TA. This will be nationally televised FFS. Stand, yell, wave flags, chant, FOLLOW YOUR CAPO, and don’t be a drunken douchebag.

  35. Jerry Langan says:
    Beautiful. Thanks guys.

  36. Juan says:

    I won’t be staying sober. That said I will still be loud as hell, I’ve lost my voice basically every match this year. I did notice a dip in chant participation in 108-107 last week during the Ajax match(was out of town for DC). I figured it was just because it was a friendly, but after further observation and talking I found I was surrounded by new people who simply just didn’t know them. So at halftime I raided the TA table and handed out chant sheets to those people. I thought it was B.S. that some people in 107 were harassing the people holding chant sheets and calling them noobs. They need to STFU, you’ve gotta learn the songs somehow.

  37. Nych says:

    Uh…moderation anyone? Hello? I agree that hangovers and too much drinking too early can really make us sloppy. But to go the complete opposite direction just because a bunch of us stayed out too late on a Saturday seems excessive.

    Alcohol can make or break our level of energy at any given match. To have everyone abstain altogether could quite possibly have a negative effect. Inhibitions that might otherwise be lowered enough to get a new member chanting may not happen, for example.

    Easy enough…don’t get trashed on Saturday night. Be responsible with your drinking on Sunday. Eat well before the match. And no matter how up or down our boys are, jump and clap and sing with every bit of your being.

  38. Erik says:

    Not a complaint but an observation, I was sitting in the 206 section and I believe many of them thought they didn’t need to participate up there.

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  40. Biggie says:

    This is stupid. Quit trying to control the entire group cause you thought it might be a good idea. I’m going to get all my friends from 106 together and we are going to drink the entire time you want us to stay sober. This is exactly why other teams have multiple supporters groups cause they have dumbass people posing as leaders telling us how to run our lives. F**k off Andrew!! DRINK UP TIMBERS!!

    • You realize this is a blog post from one individual, right? Also he isn’t a leader, right?

      Keep getting angry PDX!

      • Biggie says:

        Hey Scott,

        You realize this is the comment section and this is where i get to mouth off all i want. I don’t need you making smart ass remarks making it seem like i don’t know whats going on. Lead Leader!

        I just dont like his reasoning behind the challenge. Why blame it on the alcohol. I stand, sing and generally have a great time supporting our boys whether or not i have been drinking the night before or not.

        How about we blame our lack of so called enthusiasm on the LACK OF ALCOHOL. Being forced to wake up at some ridiculous hour (9am) didnt leave us enough time to get a good drink on. Maybe the TA wasn’t drunk enough!!

        Last thing. Blog posters on the Timbers Army website represent the entire TA like it or not!

        • I agree with you biggie. Getting up way early on a holiday weekend is lame. I hate early afternoon games. Pointless in my opinion and always have a flat atmosphere. I love the 8pm kicks we have been getting. Much preferable.

          Disagree about a blog post representing all of us.

  41. Joanne Couchman says:

    Wow, I’m surprised how strongly people feel about this!

    This is a blog post in a blog section of the site. Blog sections are usually for opinions, discussions, rumors, joking around, etc etc. If a number of our bloggers all have different opinions on something that doesn’t mean each one is now ingrained in TA lore.

    The TA ‘official message’ goes out via email, on the front page of the site and in the member forums, not in the blogs section.

    Do we need to put a disclaimer at the top? How about…
    ‘The views expressed in the blog section of this site should be considered the authors own opinion, and not an official representation of The Timbers Army or 107ist opinion unless otherwise stated. Any resemblance to such opinions, either living or dead, is purely coincidental. Actual mileage may vary. Some assembly required. Each sold separately. Batteries not included. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. If conditions persist, contact a physician. Keep out of reach of children. Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Keep in a cool dark place.”

    • Clearly this has become necessary.

      • michael israel says:

        it is crazy to see the comments on here and twitter of people so offended. this blog is clearly not ‘telling’ people what to do. this is one person sharing thoughts and making a suggestion that they believe will help bring as much intensity as possible to the upcoming match.

    • lex says:

      Very true, but blogs are out there in the public forum for discussion, too. You’ll always get a varying degree of response, but with a group as passionate as the TA something like this is bound to spark a display of more strong opinions. If people don’t want comments on their blog and just want it to be a one-way conversation they fully have the choice to turn comments off.

      • Joanne Couchman says:

        I love the discussion! The comments won’t get closed unless they get abusive.

        I didn’t see the post before it was published, but am still surprised people took it so seriously and are getting offended or embarrassed over someone’s opinion on a blog.
        The TA is a random bunch of people with differing outlooks and opinions but one common interest. I hope the blog section can stay a reflection of that randomness. It would be sad if the whole of the TA site became ‘Party Line’ as it were.

        What would be fun, is rather than just say it’s dumb, someone would write a valid counter-argument to it…

  42. Christopher VanOchten says:

    The Bule guy wasn’t official or anything, either, but was embarrassing to an overall group that had nothing to do with it. My issue’s with the article istelf, not whether or not it’s posted here or elsewhere. Any journo troll can pick this up and run with it now. Cookie-cutter sterotype material.

  43. Andrew says:

    From where we were in 106, it was definitely not the hangovers (we were all nursing them), but rather the newcomers/first-timers. I turned to my buddy at one point in the first half and asked, “Why the hell can I hear my own voice so loudly?”

    The answer was that about 6 or 8 of the two dozen people were cheering/chanting/singing 75% of the match. The folks that weren’t participating would stand and sing occasionally, but it was very much a lackluster effort. Perhaps a reminder is due to our community of what is expected when you enter those sections.

    Also, I’m not too worried about it. I have a feeling that it was just season ticket-holders heading out of town for the long weekend and selling off their tickets to friends. We’ll be back. We’ll always be back.

  44. Nando says:

    I am staying away from alcohol but will double my dose of Adder-all and continue to smoke weed and cigarettes in the middle of the section because that’s what the cool kids do.

  45. ale_conner says:

    Obviously I’m not alone here; for a while I thought the “Timbers Army Blogs” – with the sites header and all – were written by those that ran the website (107ist, perhaps) and used as “official” articles, match notes, planned events, etc. (in addition to the e-mails). Something as opinionated and suggested as this seems like something more appropriate for the forums, especially since the author expected a lot of discussion/backlash for posting it.

  46. Joseph Revay says:

    I blame all the n00bs for poor game day atmosphere ;) and everyone else who has decided to be overly sensitive to everything MLS. Go read any of that crap on SCUSA, especially of the great new threads.

    This is one persons attempt at satire. Not a requirement from the 107ist regarding sh**tle @ JWF on July 10. Take it or leave it, the choice is yours.

    One last thing, can someone help me understand when it became so important to care what a blog like d-spin thought of the TA? If your that worried I hope that you never find anything by M. Davis, g0alseattle, or (gasp) bigsoccer.

    • John Acerbi says:

      Too many n00bs, too hungover, too sober, too drunk, too early, too warm, too cool, too grey, too bright, too many people trying to capo, not enough capos, sloppy officiating, sloppy plays, too much breakfast/lunch, not enough breakfast/lunch,

      Come on, it was a off game and the TA was off our game, as well. Bottom line, we are growing and learning this year. It’s a bit different coordinating a 8 sections rather than half that prior.

      As for coming in ready for S**ttle, I truly believe that we could have a sunrise game and be ready for the game.

      To borrow from a rather famous poster: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

  47. Jeremy says:


    Or god forbid they find some of “Bright’s” rantings about the Timbers Army…

  48. Lisa says:

    Is this SCUSA in disguise? Must double check URL…

  49. Justin says:

    first it was “too drunk” at the cascadia matches in seattle, and now it’s “too hungover”
    nice, LMAO

  50. farfegnugen says:

    omg i have to stay sober for 30 hours so i can yell better? #firstworldproblems

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  52. Jeff Musall says:

    While it took a couple of days to go through editing (they thought I was being too harsh) here is the response I wrote to this ridiculous post.;_ylt=AjoBiA.TM6QKY9ISSNn4QpBgu8J_?slug=ycn-8584197
    Note: editors changed the title, I don’t think the Timbers Army owes an apology, just Andrew Brawley.

    • Andrew Brawley says:

      Can you send me the original version? I got to post mine without an editor. I think that’s only fair.

    • Joanne Couchman says:

      I think the only thing Andrew would maybe need to apologize for is not being funny enough in his writing to make it fully clear that he was writing about the bigger issue of the TA not being as in sync for that match, and it wasn’t just about issuing a silly/fun challenge to stay sober. In fact, if the point of blogging is to provoke thought, discussion and drive hits to a site, then we should be thanking him not asking him to apologize.

      Anyway, I’m still amazed that one person (NOT the TA as a whole), and in a blog post of all places, can suggest that some people might want to take a challenge of being sober for a number of hours before an event (and that’s the day BEFORE the event, not ON the actual day itself) and manage to score a direct hit on a sore point for so many!

      Lighten up folks!

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