I'm Kenny Ocker, and you all probably know me as thehemogoblin. I am one of the new contributors Geoff chose to help write for the site, and I'm excited to get started here. If you're curious about me, my bio is in my profile.
Instead of offering some sort of brilliant analysis of the Timbers' offseason, or even their coming to be, I'm instead going to write a little bit about how I came to be a Timbers fan ...
... and it involves a bandwagon.
As a lifelong Oregonian, I've known of the Portland Timbers for most of their existence. However, my general perception of the team was as "that other team playing in PGE Park." And when you consider the other teams that played there are the Triple-A Portland Beavers (R.I.P) and the Portland State Vikings football team (69-0), it's an indictment of my history as a Timbers fan.
However, I picked up on soccer in general when the Americans had a solid run through the 2002 World Cup, and I began to follow it closely during Euro 2008. Because my mom is German, I really got wrapped up in the tournament, and I still haven't forgiven Fernando Torres for the goal in the Euro 2008 final. When I saw how much I enjoyed it, I decided to get more into the club scene.
I only picked out one club team I root for above all else, and that is Eintracht Frankfurt, the club my mom grew up rooting for. (Yes, I know I picked a mid-table team, but it really fits in with every other team I support. Last championship of note: 1977.) I also began following Major League Soccer, but I didn't pick a team.*
*Lies. I picked the Seattle Sounders because they were the closest team, and I didn't know Portland would get an MLS team soon after. We all make mistakes and I quickly rectified mine. Please don't hold it against me.
As soon as I found out Portland was getting a team, I took it upon myself to do two things: I left the Sounders behind, and I decided to get myself as acclimated as I could with the Timbers while I had the opportunity.
Step one wasn't that hard. I just had to not watch games I already wasn't really watching.
Step two was way more difficult. I had to find a way to follow a minor league team receiving no coverage whatsoever in Eugene or Central Oregon (my current home and home region, respectively). Frankly, I kind of sucked at it. I wasn't following the team closely, but I knew in the back of my mind that soon, the media dark age would be over and the team would be at the country's top level.
Once buzz started really building for the expansion draft (and once the Beavers had played their final game in PGE Park), I knew that Portland was going to be a big league sports team again. That's when it hit me that I was going to really get behind the Timbers.
I hopped on the bandwagon because I support everything else related to sports in Oregon; getting a big-league team in the state, regardless of the sport, is an exciting proposition for me. I really hope that I'm able to carry over the excitement I've found in watching the team be built atop the foundation of the USL squad. And because I found this website and community, I believe I have enough to keep me enamored with the team.
P.S. Please forgive me for the title. I had to take the opportunity when I had the chance.