There are, and will be, plenty written this week about the MLS Cup Final, everywhere we look. So allow me to take a moment to focus on something else, something I rarely do, and open up a bit. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet.
I don’t know how differently people reacted when Lucas Melano made that ball cross the line at the death of the Conference Finals but I broke down with a few joyous tears. The Portland Timbers made it to MLS Cup. Before that I was an absolute emotional wreck. So nervous that any slip, nick, tick, breeze, sneeze, or leaf on the wind could see Dallas get a third goal and force extra time that I was very sick to my stomach. Never have I been so personally invested in watching a clock tick away. But then Valeri, our magician himself, slides a sweet back heel to Melano and Lucas puts that ball where it belongs. From the lowest low to the highest high in mere minutes… sorry Caleb, but I couldn’t keep myself level at the end there.
Let me also give thanks to all of those in our community who give so much of themselves for nothing in return. The volunteers who make the 107ist run. From the board, to all of those who help make the amazing Tifos, all of the volunteers who seek to better our community, and to those who work tirelessly on the travel committee allowing us to create our own legendary away day memories. This season in particular I was able to meet many in the community that I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to do so. The TA Block party, happy hour at Hopworks, a live Portland Timbros podcast, and one very memorable post season away trip to Vancouver. No matter what happens on the field with this team, every season is special to me because of the people I get to meet and interact with.
The magic is real folks. Any season the magic is all of us who make being a supporter of this team something tortuously special. Whether we are winning or losing we aren’t supporting just the team on the field, but also supporting those beside us through the worst and best times. We’ve all been there when our hearts were crushed as the ball bounced the wrong way so many times. And now we’ve seen it bounce the right way in euphoric and physics-defying ways.
There is one last game for us. If you are lucky enough to be one of the few who can make it to the MLS Cup final, I only ask one thing of you. Do your part and bring it all. Those players know it is the last game of the season for them regardless of the outcome. They will not leave that field with even an ounce of energy left. So do your part. Don’t leave that stadium with even an ounce of energy left in your body or a whisper of a voice in your throat. Give your all to our boys in green no matter the game state. This one is for all the marbles so represent all of us who can’t make it but will be there in spirit!
And if you are one of the many who will be in town for any multitude of reasons, do your part as well. Whether in your home or at the pub, let this town feel what it means to be RCTID. Rock this town to its absolute core. No matter the result on Sunday, there will be a party in Portland and we will not let anyone sleep that night.