Our Ode to Timber Jim

11 Apr 2016 11:04 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
—by Brian Cheney

Nigel de Jong: a living, breathing bag of human shit. By now, most of us have probably watched de Jong maliciously curb stomp our beloved Nagbe’s leg. That tackle was meant to injure Nagbe. What’s worse: this is the third game in a row where a malicious foul has been committed on the Timbers, with no serious in-game repercussions. Did you notice that Asprilla wasn’t even in the 18? That might have something to do with Shea’s suspension-earning tackle last week. Nigel’s tackle certainly stole the spotlight this weekend. But for us, for our fanbase, it wasn’t the only big event. Merely a day before, our very own Timber Jim gave a heartfelt speech at the TedX Portland conference. The topic of his speech could not have been more appropriate or more immediately applicable: Timber Jim talked about the conquering power of love.

For those who did not get to hear the speech, Timber Jim spoke of the powerful effect of meeting darkness and disaster with love. He talked about his battles with cancer, the loss of his father, and the loss of his daughter. His words were so powerful that I was, frankly, at a loss as to how to tie his thoughts into the world of soccer. Where does the power of love fit into the beautiful game?

The events on Sunday were the perfect answer to this question. Soccer may just be a game, but for so many people it has become a major, physical part of life. This is nothing new. Likewise, losing or being unfairly treated in the game has led to a lot of death, hurt, and destruction. Just four years ago, 74 people were killed at an Egyptian soccer match in a massive riot following a 3-1 loss. 74 people.

Back then, the Port Said riot seemed like nothing that would ever happen here. Following the game yesterday, though, I read the whispers of anger, hate, destruction, and the unspoken wish for revenge coming from Timbers fans. Nagbe is one of us, and the cruelty of another has put him in a large amount of pain. You may think that our committed and passionate fans would never hurt someone, but it has been done by many people for less of a reason.

We all face choices now. We could choose the violent path: the path of angry words on the internet, the path of throwing beer at traveling fans, the path of breaking the windows of traveling fans’ cars. Or we could choose the path of love. Timber Jim’s words were meant for exactly such a situation. He said: “We all face the instinct of fight or flight. Your best option is to run, run from the hate and the desire to hurt. Run until you can turn around and use your anger as a fuel for your love.”

This could not be more applicable than it is now. Our desire to choose love has been something that has defined us Timbers fans, but only to a limit. We welcome fans of other teams, and we buy beers for rivals of other teams when it suits us. But we still ferociously take part in our rivalries, and we are still a group of angry fans. We can do better, and we can do more.

On Saturday, July 23, the LA Galaxy will be in Providence Park. It is likely that their fans, some of whom have defended Nigel de Jong, will be among us in the stands. Likewise, de Jong will be on our field. For this game, our love must be fueled by our anger. We must be ready to stand together and shower the Galaxy with our hospitality, our welcome, and our good intentions. We cannot resort to violence and anger. In fact, our love and humanity should shine like a beacon from the moment we stop running.

This ideal must not be held back by the fact that we are fans of a sports team. Just as fans across the world cause hurt and destruction, we must accept that our good actions can have real consequences. Our charity, acceptance, and welcome can be real factors in the world of a game, and not just for the sake of traveling LA fans.

Our group may be an army, our mascot may wield a chainsaw, our scarves may say ‘No Pity’, but our big hearts must be filled with love.


  • 28 Sep 2016 1:32 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    iri Harding says:
    Monday, April 11, 2016 at 10:16 pm 
    Would you consider making this a fan post on Stumptown Footy?

    Brian Cheney says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 4:49 pm 
    I would be happy to have it over on SF, as long as Lexi and the TA are okay with that.

    Karen Gjerning says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 5:45 am 
    This is amazing. I am a very compassionate person and yet I have been angry. Angry that one of my boys was attacked. I, even after hearing Jim’s speech, was spitting fire, anger and hatred. Thank you for reminding me to use that animosity in a much more constructive manner. RCTID

    Rich says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 7:11 am 
    Well said!
    I watched Timber Jim’s TedX talk and it brought me to tears. But I was swept up in the anger of the dirty tackle on Nagbe and totally forgot how Jim’s words can apply here.
    Thank you for the reminder!

    Kim MacKinnon says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 6:50 am 
    I felt the same way Karen described, it’s like the Timbers are family to me and I will protect them as so. But I will use my feelings in a positive way in July, Kill ‘em with kindness! ❤️

    LasloHlyfeld says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 8:17 am 
    “Anger. Fear. Aggression. The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow. Quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will…”

    Janet Potter says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 8:56 am 
    Love is the answer for the Army in regards to dealing with the LA Galaxy and their supporters. I for one will greet all with respect and love from LA.
    However, I do feel strongly (not angrily) that MLS and Don Garber need to step-up and ban players like de jong from playing in MLS. He has a mean track record, folks and we, as supporters of fair play and great soccer in the USA, should not stand by when a great young up-coming star is maliciously targeted by this bad player. We ALL need to talk to Garber about this poor group of refs in MLS and demand bans on players like de jong.
    Lexi – I love what you wrote and believe every ounce of love is stronger than any anger – thank you for putting this down so eloquently.

    Lexi Stern says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 9:12 am 
    Not me, Brian! I’m just the publishing person. 

    Mattamoros says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 6:20 pm 
    How ’bout a Tifo for the LA game in July that says on one half “The Beautiful Game” with a drawing of Nagbe in action and on the other half “The Ugly Game with a drawing of De Jong ‘in action’ Followed with something like “MLS Must Decide…” “…To Get That Shit Off The Pitch”

    Ken Reade says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 10:20 am 
    As much as I would still kind of like to throw a size D battery at de Jong, this is a wonderful reminder to take a deep breath. Let’s humiliate de Jong and LA with class and kindness in July, it will sting them far more than aggression and stooping to their punkish level.
    (OK, maybe just a Triple A battery? Kidding…)

    Jesus Suarez says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 12:24 pm 
    I’m coming up to Portland July 23rd and meeting up with a few TA friends. Not once, was it expecting some violence. Every group have their bad apples and I won’t generalize a whole SG.. Well… Only Lultras. I kid.. it am I.
    Also, respect to the people that came down and didn’t mind having me in the TA tailgate. I took two Portland Timbers supporters to my area and we had a 2v2 in bee pong. We won. Haha
    Anyways, can’t wait to meet some of you and have a beer.

    Jon Hance says:
    Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm 
    Hey Jesus – we take a lot of pride in welcoming away supporters to town. Many of us have traveled with the team as well, so we know what it’s like. Wear your kit, be prepared to fend off a few hurt De Jong comments, and you’ll have a lot of folks willing to buy ya a beer. Thanks for making the trip up.

    Adam Bacher says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 2:20 pm 
    Well said. Weaving these two stories together is perfect. Thanks!

    Leila says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm 
    Another great article! Plenty of food for thought. “All you need is love”.

    Roy Gathercoal says:
    Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 9:42 am 
    Well said.
    There is one more bit to be mentioned, a paradox. Almost all of the time, it is the hater, not the hated, who is affected most by anger.
    Likewise, it is the lover, not the loved, who is most benefitted.
    In one strange sense, loving your enemies is a selfish act. After all, much of the time our enemies will never know what we really think of them, and probably will often not care.
    This is more reason for our love.
    For we will know how we regard others in our hearts, even if our displays are misinterpreted or go unnoticed. And we are the ones who will benefit the most.
    I hope Nigel de Jong benefits from this experience, that some of the hate and despair in his life are eased by our demonstration of love. But this is not the reason I will try so very hard to love him. It is because I desire to be the kind of man who loves his enemies, just as my top role model commanded.
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