You Just Never Know, or What I Learned from the 2015 Timbers and the Timbers Army

02 Dec 2015 11:36 AM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

—by Mike Coleman

The following is an opinion piece, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Timbers Army or the 107ist board of directors.

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On October 3rd, this team sat below the red line with a handful of matches left to be played, and with two on the road in places where wins hadn’t been easy to come by: Salt Lake City and Carson. I don’t think I am alone in admitting that I didn’t think the mighty PTFC was going to the playoffs.

On October 4th, I was lucky enough to be a guest at the annual Stand Together banquet. Merritt got up in front of the audience and guaranteed that the team would get the results that were needed for a playoff push. He said once we were in, anything could happen.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure they could do it. I won’t say I had completely given up hope of making the playoffs, but part of me didn’t believe there was any way we were going to be playing after October 25th.

Well, Merritt was right… and I was completely wrong.

48 hours ago we won a trophy. Silverware. Western Conference Champions.

In five days, we will challenge the Columbus Crew for the MLS Cup.

I never saw it coming. I just didn’t.

This team suddenly started playing in a manner that defied explanation. A gritty win in Salt Lake, dismantling the Galaxy in their home, and then finishing strong at Providence Park against Colorado.

We didn’t limp into the playoffs — we flat rolled into them.

Then two posts, a visit to our house in the middle of BC, and one bull ride later here we are.

It’s just so glorious.

But there’s a lesson here, at least for me:  You never know what’s going to happen. It’s not over until the soprano sings her final aria. (Is that a thing? I’ve only been to one opera.)

The 2015 Portland Timbers have taught me that you don’t give up hope: As long as there’s a chance, there’s a chance.

And don’t even get me started on the Timbers Army as a whole. The past 48 hours have been absolutely bonkers for those of us who volunteer behind the scenes. Frankly, I was a bit afraid of how it was going to come together, but what I have seen is everyone pitching in like a family does:

Joe needs a ride from Detroit to Columbus. We got you, fam.

Can someone help put together a tailgate? Totally. What do you need?

Sorry we sold out of tickets, and our site crashed. It’s ok. We appreciate the effort.

I’ve heard it said that you don’t learn about character until you face adversity. I think that I’ve learned a metric shit ton about the character of our Team, Town, and Timbers Army in the past 48 hours while we’re experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime run.

So where does this all leave me? I used to tell people, “I don’t know enough about soccer to comment on player moves or tactics.” I’m not sure when I felt like I got smart enough, but clearly I was wrong: I didn’t know diddly squat.

So going forward, I’ll leave it to people way smarter than me to debate what are the good trades vs the bad ones or which formation gives us the best chance for success. When things once again look grim in the middle of some future season (this is sports, it’s bound to happen) and folks start to grouse, I'll just say, “Remember 2015?”

Regardless of what happens on Sunday, I’m just going to spend the rest of my days in the TA reveling in the fact that I’m part of a vibrant, diverse community of supporters who are aligned behind a club that never gave up, even when part of me did.

Comments

  • 20 Sep 2016 8:09 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Joanne Couchman says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Nice post Mike, it’s a little dusty in here all of a sudden :)
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  • 20 Sep 2016 8:09 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    J-P Voilleque says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Fuck yeah, Mike.
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  • 20 Sep 2016 8:10 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Randi Staller says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Love this! ❤️ *onions* I feel/felt similar about this year :)
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  • 20 Sep 2016 8:10 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Ryan Pollard says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Well said.
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  • 20 Sep 2016 8:10 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Derek Phillips says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I am 100% behind this message. And this team…and TA…
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  • 20 Sep 2016 8:10 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Bruce Harris says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Great piece Mike.
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  • 20 Sep 2016 8:11 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Phil Dinovo says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    “It’s just so glorious.”

    This part just made me grin. I remember back in October my girlfriend and her sister came to town. I wanted to take them to the Colorado match but they weren’t feeling it at the time. I was bummed because who knew? Maybe that was going to be the last home match of the season. And now look where we are. We got to go to 3 more home games and now are heading to the MLS. Cup. Finals.

    What a RIDE (on the bull)
    Link  •  Reply
  • 20 Sep 2016 8:11 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Brent Diskin says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Well done, Mike.
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  • 20 Sep 2016 8:12 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Scott Jeffries says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    I hadn’t totally written them off, but I was definitely at the point, halftime of the Galaxy game, where I just wanted them to not make the playoffs. They weren’t good enough, they didn’t deserve to be in, and we were just going to lose the play-in on the road anyway. I’m still expecting to wake up any minute now.
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  • 20 Sep 2016 8:12 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Colin smith says:
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Great piece Mike! Thanks to everyone working so hard for us to enjoy this moment
    Link  •  Reply
  • 20 Sep 2016 8:12 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Huck Bales says:
    Friday, December 4, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Well said, Mike. I’m so happy to be a part of this crazy family.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 20 Sep 2016 8:13 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    JONATHAN HANNON says:
    Friday, December 4, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Mike-
    Great post. One point, though – nothing is “once-in-a-lifetime.” We’ll be here again…I’ve loved celebrating each step in the journey to this point – from watching the PK’s despite being having to look around a beam in section 210 (I still love you, old stadium) to watching the semi-finals from my couch since it was too cold to bring the newborn to the game again, to being in the Crystal Ballroom last Sunday singing “You are my Sunshine” just like I did during the first Timbers match I attended with my (at the time) two year-old son back in 2008 – the video of which I dug up this week from a seven year-old e-mail to my parents that still brings a bit of a tear to my eye. If I wasn’t the boss of an organization that elected to celebrate its Christmas party on Sunday at 1:00 PM (trust me, I was perturbed when the event was finalized back in October knowing there was a slim chance there miiiiiiight be a conflict), I’d be there in Columbus – family budget be damned. That said, yes, this is the first time, but it won’t be the last – and the next time will be no less special, in my opinion.
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  • 20 Sep 2016 8:13 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Matt says:
    Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Thank you for this excellent post, and your equally excellent work all year. It’s pretty fun to watch the team and live in the town with the best supporters group in the country.
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