It's not always easy to pick yourself up after a miserable period, look around, and still find something to be thankful for. And yet, despite what the Timbers put us through this year, we still found it easy to be thankful for a number of things this year. After all, it's better, in my opinion, to feel disappointed at a season, than feel nothing at all.
This year, each of us put together a small list of five things that we are specifically thankful for. Here is what we came up with:
1. First and foremost, I'm thankful for the Portland Timbers themselves. While they haven't made the best decisions this year, without them I would have nothing to write about on a daily basis.
2. For Major League Soccer who, despite not being as high of quality as European leagues, still manages to give us a quality product on the field each and every year. Without MLS, I probably wouldn't be a soccer fan at all.
3. For the USSF (and CSA and Mexican Football Federation) for bringing back a top women's league in North America and, most specifically, to Portland. I can't tell you how important I believe it is for there to be a strong women's league.
4. To the Portland Timbers players. Say what you will about how the front office has managed this season, but there was never a doubt in my mind that the players thoroughly gave it there all on the field, and appreciated every minute that the Timbers Army sang for them at home and away. Also huge thanks to them for winning the Cascadia Cup!
5. To you guys. I've written for a number of websites in my life and I can't stress enough how disheartening it is to never receive a comment. It turns writing from a privilege to a chore. This community gives me the energy to keep coming back every single day.
1. For the incredible community of readers, commenters and fanpost contributors who continue to push us to do better every day. Covering the Timbers wouldn't be nearly as fun or interesting without y'all.
2. For the Timbers' friendly and helpful communications staff who facilitate our access to players, coaches and interpreters.
3. For the Timbers Army and the 107ist, which continue to create a magnificent game-day experience that is, win or lose, the envy of the soccer world.
4. For a bunch of talented footballers who, like us fans, rode the emotional roller-coasters between victories and (mostly) defeats.
5. For a better Timbers tomorrow, tomorrow.
1. For the Stumptown Footy community. Without you this year would have almost been unbearable. The journey through this year was all the more bearable due to the fact that I had a whole community to share the burden with. (I hated re-watching some of those games for the recaps!)
2. For my seat in the press box, right next to THE Mike Donovan. I get to hear his crazy stats first and the crazy bets make the game that much more enjoyable.
3. For an understanding wife who lets me get totally engrossed in this website and write articles in the wee hours of the morning while she is asleep next to me.
4. For the amazing food the press get at Jeld-Wen Field. I loved the king crab, made to order Omelette bar, Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches, the chocolate covered bacon.
5. For Merritt Paulson for answering my direct messages on Twitter (when possible) and being so accessible.
1. For Will, Ryan, Andy, and Geoff, because writing for this site is a ton of fun. It's been a few months now, but I still feel psyched to be invited.
2. For Diego Chara's cheeky post-foul grin.
3. For the women's professional soccer team coming to Portland in 2013.
4. For Eric Brunner's "Yeah" face, which made a couple of appearances during the 2012 season and which I hope to see a lot more of next season.
5. For the Stumptown Footy community. Even before I started writing, this was a great outlet for me to talk about the Timbers incessantly (without driving my roommates crazy).
1. For the full-moon.
2. For home games in the rain.
3. For beautiful slide tackles.
4. For the drums.
5. For a great community that embraces the beautiful game in a way unlike anywhere else.
And because I'm the editor in chief here on Stumptown Footy, I'm going to take the liberty to add one more from myself.
Super thanks to Andy, Ryan, Will, and Stacey for making this site the best damn Timbers-focused site in the entire world.
I can't tell you how much we all put of ourselves into this site and everything we've accomplished today would have been absolutely impossible without an editorial staff as dedicated and persistent as the ones we've got.
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy the few days off. Beginning in December, I have a feeling things are going to get very interesting for the Timbers so stay tuned.
What are you thankful for?