Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Love Mike Petke

This is one of the funniest things I've read in a while, and while it takes a shot at one of my rivals, it also points out one of the things I hate about sports - the bandwagon fan. I've seen a bit of it with the Timbers now that we've made MLS, and the Trail Blazers have been suffering from the problem for a while now.

It's easy to support a winner, it's easy to say that my team has won more titles so that's why I like them, and I'm sure there are plenty of lifelong Yankee fans, Laker Fans, or Cowboy fans, but it's difficult to watch a team like the Flounders up north go from a group that couldn't draw 2 to 3 thousand fans regularly and now suddenly draw 32,000 in an atmosphere that while it was very loud, was also very controlled and sterile. It reminded me a lot of the atmosphere at an NBA match, and while I personally don't mind the canned chants and sound effects at most NBA arenas, I love soccer atmosphere more because it's mostly generated by the fans. But suddenly, the Flounders get corporate muscle behind them, and you find fans that knew nothing of the history of the club, the rivals, or the sport, but suddenly they've found their favorite team. I can respect someone who has stuck with their team through good and bad, worshiped the many players over the years, and really understands the history of their team, because that's what being a fan is all about.

I will be watching with curiosity as the novelty wears off, and how many of the fans will stick around when things slow down a bit, because invariably, they will. The Trail Blazers are the best evidence of that, going from a team that was worshiped and adored for years carrying a 23 year playoff run, and then falling into complete chaos when the players turned on the town and each other. Try being a fan of that team during that time, and then I think you can say you're a true fan and not somebody that just joined for the ride.

And to the newest Timbers fans, I will ask you to learn something about the history of the club, the rivalries, and the chants, because for a lot of us, it actually means something. Yes, it's hip and cool to yell loudly and drop profanity in a crowd, but at the same point, we wear the scarves because they mean something to us, and it's more than just for representing our team. The Timbers Army are a family, a collective of people who come from different walks of life and varying interests that put individual things aside many times a year to yell and sing for their team. We also spend time in the community, giving back to the place that we call home, whether it's helping at Habitat or donating to Doernbecher. Being TA is more than just going to the games, and if you are really interested in becoming more than a bandwagon fan, talk to the TA members that have been here for a while. Learn about the history, and what it means to us. If it's for you, great, if not, well, you can still come and chant with us because our team needs the support. Just make sure to stay on the bandwagon, cause it's going to be an amazing ride.

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