The Popcast happens for a reason and Barnacle Brian is that reason. This doesn't reflect the 107ist board but it reflects literally a lifetime of support.
Tomorrow is the MLS Cup final. I’m about to witness the biggest football match in my entire life. As I sit here on a Saturday Night, I can’t help but wonder how we got here. It’s all just a dream really. Something magical has happened, but that magic started way before MLS in 2011. In fact, it started before USL in 2001. It humbly started in 1982. It started the day the papers wrote about the NASL Portland Timbers franchise folding. I was a footy crazed eight year old. Too young to understand why, yet more than old enough to understand the loss, and the pain. Imagine being a kid and having NO team to support, NO local club to look up to. Nothing. FUCK ALL.
There were a few flash in the pan startups over the years, but nothing lasted. Certainly nothing to invest your heart and soul into. Fast forward to sometime in 2000. Rumors of the Portland Timbers reforming circulate. I think nothing of it. I’m not about to have my heart broken again, but sure enough Civic Stadium eventually has a football club again. Except this club is green and white, and has a new badge. The stadium is now named PGE Park. Timber Jim has returned. It’s a link to my childhood. It’s in the same stadium. The same stadium my parents took me to. In fact, my parents and about 40 of their closest Scottish friends hovered in the bleachers a little west of the North End goal. (About where present day 108/109 is today) In 2001 it’s a few ruffians with no rhythm, beating pickle buckets. You see, I’m in the beer garden sitting as close to the action on the pitch as possible. I’m talking shit to anyone within earshot. Linesmen were always my favorite. I was in denial. I didn’t want to get emotionally invested in this club. I figured it would fold any minute, so I might as well have fun taking the piss.
In 2002, I’m almost kicked out of the stadium for “spilling” a beer on the awning above the hot dog stand and onto the people below. (frat boys were starting to invade my beloved beer garden) Around this time, I hear bagpipes playing in the North End. My migration into the Timbers Army has begun. By 2003, I’m lurking on the fringes. Yet, I still don’t want to get too involved because I don’t want my heart broken. In 2005, a friendly against the EPL’s Sunderland is announced and as a longtime Newcastle United fan, I lose my shit. People start to follow Sunderland, I’m no longer lurking in the shadows of SCUSA, no longer observing, no longer scared of having my heart broken. It’s like all those years of remaining quiet have suddenly been released all at once. I became the most vocal opponent of the friendly and all around cyber-hool. I talk more shit than Richard Pryor on a coke binge. My vitriol knows no bounds. I don’t realize it at the time, but I became a full on supporter of the Portland Timbers in the process. I’m fully invested. There’s no turning back now. Sign me the fuck up. Hometown pride kicked into overdrive.
Over the years, friendships are formed, alliances are made. Plans and dreams are discussed. Something truly magic was in the process of creation. You could feel it. Some of the greatest people I have ever met are involved. We felt something beautiful blossoming in our collective dreams, yet in reality, it’s too much of a long shot. We’d dream about the PTFC playing in the MLS, or winning the League, or just simply being able to beat Vancouver or Seattle on the road. Hell, we’d dream of survival of the club.
Over the next couple of seasons we become more organized. Our numbers grew, our dreams became bigger, our chants become louder. Yet, there’s a sense of sarcasm and desperation in almost everything we do. None of us know if there will be a team next season, next game, next half. How close we came to losing the Portland Timbers was a serious possibility, I’ve been told. I didn’t want to think about it, my heart would not be broken again.
Eventually, some baseball loving rich kid buys the club. His name is Merritt Paulson. The MLS whispers are a bit louder now. In fact, before any of us know it, MLS is a possibility. Just so happens, my roommate at the time is running a campaign called MLS2PDX. I’ve got a front row seat. I can’t fucking believe its happening. We’re about to become an MLS franchise. Our little world, our little army is about to hit the big time. I can’t help but think about that horrible day I lost my Timbers as a kid. That giant gaping hole in my heart is gone. That overwhelming sense of fear has disappeared. This club will not die. This club will thrive. I’m the proudest motherfucker on the planet. Dreams do come true.
We become even more organized. We have meetings in movie theatres. We all choose something specific to help the TA, help the 107ist, help football in general. I choose media. I choose producing a Podcast. I watch my friends, build this thing with more blood, sweat and tears, than I have ever witnessed in my life. There are so many unsung soldiers in the TA, and the 107ists. They are my heroes. They are my friends. They never get their due.
It’s now March 2011. I’m in Denver. I’m about to witness the first MLS match for the Portland Timbers. I’m on top of the world, and I’m not just talking altitude. I reflect on the day in 1982. I constantly do. It keeps me humble. I may be a loud, obnoxious sarcastic SOB on the surface, but I’m also the most thankful, blissful smiling bastard on the inside as well.
A few seasons go by. A few ugly wins, a few pretty losses. More or less, It’s just typical PTFC… That is until the end of this season. We didn’t limp into the playoffs. We literally collapsed on the finish line and the wind blew us over. We fell in. And now here we are… The Cup final. The ultimate ride is about to end. The ultimate ride that started that horrible day in 1982 when I found out my local football club folded. You see, fate is a hell of a thing. This is destiny. This is karma. Good things come to those who wait. I’ve been waiting 40 years for this moment. My entire fucking life. So here’s to my hometown club. Here’s to proving magic is real. Here’s to that little redheaded boy reading the newspaper in 1982 drenched in tears.