Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's Okay, I'll Be the Worst Timbers Blogger

I know we all have strong preferences for and allegiances to certain members of the blogging and reporting community when it comes to the Portland Timbers. It takes a long time to learn one's craft and place in this demanding field and when someone isn't up to snuff, we all hear about it on Twitter, Facebook, by comments on the actual blogs, and in person. The sniping and verbal poo-slinging between broadcasters, writers, their readers, the people who read the tweets from the readers, people who once walked past the park during a match, their grandmothers and anyone who's ever seen a soccer ball, over the last season and into this off season, has simply been too much to bear and I can't take it any more. In order to create peace in the Timbersphere, I am hereby accepting the position of Worst Timbers Blogger EVAR so that the debate can end. If I take the title, you can all leave each other alone to read, listen to or watch anything else you like without judgment and play happy families again. It means that much to me, I am going to seal the deal by providing conclusive direct evidence of my suitable ineptitude over which you can bond.

Certainly I've had some health issues over the last few years keeping me from my true potential and restricting a majority of my contributions on the Timbers blog to snarky photography, but that's irrelevant. Now that I'm perfectly healthy, I won't have any excuse for the ridiculous crap I'm going to be spewing all season and beyond. The main reason for this is that you'll have so much more content to judge and you will be able to notice that I have absolutely no idea of what I'm talking about when it comes to soccer, the Timbers, or anything else, really. And I'm truly sorry for that because it's all my fault. Whenever I had the ability to improve myself and my product, I refused any sort of advice and assistance. I am willing to admit my shortcomings and keep it this way so that everyone else will seem even more super duper awesomer in comparison and you can all shut your pie holes. Your whipping girl is ready for action.

Years ago, my first attempt at joining the Timbers culture (after I moved back from England) was met with failure because although I did watch all the EPL I could every weekend morning at the Horse Brass, I learned that wasn't enough. On a very enlightening Craigslist-arranged tête-à-tête, I discovered that to be the best supporter around I should have been getting up at 3 a.m. to watch Serie A and Eredivisie, or even sneaking down to the local middle school matches to scout the next Chugger Adair or Brian Winters. I was clearly not ready to be a football supporter. Now that I realize it, since I never did start doing any of that stuff I am an even less qualified blogger. When I started writing, I made the assumption that my having my own unique history and experiences in regards to the team would allow me to offer something of my very own. With everyone else writing or photographing at other outlets with their own unique backgrounds we would all have something different to contribute, providing quite a range of media and styles from which audiences could choose, allowing everything to form a complete picture with something for everyone. But, I am proud to say my life experiences have resulted in a point of view that sucks more than you could possibly believe.

Personally, I've learned that since I don't have the ability to devote every second of my life to this sport, and I don't produce something that absolutely everyone loves every time, I have no business doing it. It's about devotion, people, and having to spend time working at a job to pay my mortgage is secondary to knowing if maybe I had been able to attend more practices and pay closer attention, perhaps I would have noticed Brent Richards or Bright Dike limping slightly and I could have shouted over to Coach Porter, "HEY! I think they're about to have some ACL issues! Better get them checked!" And then I would have been a hero and everything would have been unicorns and rainbows and Bright would have carried me off into the sunset as Kip wept with joy at the fact his wife got the honor of hooking up with such a goal scoring beast. Alas, this did not occur and therefore I deserve more negative blog comments than everyone else combined. I wish Facebook would hurry up and make a dislike function so you guys can use it on my posts.

Also in the beginning of my supporter culture schooling, I attended a certain TA party. I discussed the subtle nuances of Andrew Gregor's demure facial expressions and gentle bodily encouragement (some of which cute little Tommy Poltl would continue with) with an assortment of gentlemen I still know to this day, and I'm still proud of how well I manipulated them into thinking I paid attention at all of those matches I attended. Outdoors, later that evening, I was overjoyed when blessed with the opportunity of keeping one of those men from touching the flames he kept trying to grab, which were courtesy of a fire breathing show brought to us by another attendee. I'm sure I saved his life that night. It all seems like just yesterday we all had these joyous adventures and now we writers and photographers are all hardened, bitter strangers remembering only faint echoes of the magical fun times being TA used to be. Such regrets I have...

On my first Shittle away bus trip, when there was still only one bus and some guys I tried to get a ride with pretty much pretended I was dead to them, I sat in the middle by myself, not really knowing anyone else. I ended up, however, talking to a couple of gentlemen with whom I would later be on a bowling team. On the way back to Portland we discussed West Ham and gaming until a very talkative and mainly creepy fellow planted himself in the seat next to me, drank all the rest of my liquor, begged for a ride home and bragged about topics I found scary and/or tedious. From the back of the bus, the other kids sang so enticingly and would call to me, "Giiiiiiirrrrl, come back here and play with us. Girl (my board name)... come here... we want to talk to you." Oh, how I wished I could have climbed over that creepy fellow and joined you, but I'm sure I would have lost the last of my wide-eyed innocence that day and I would never have been the same.

Still, I wonder what things could you have taught me about myself, my love of the Timbers, and exactly how much volume of beer vomit is humanly possible to pass through my nasal passage in three hours' time. I'm sure these topics would have improved my writing and photography to a level I can't even begin to fathom, so now as consequence I must embrace my mediocrity with fervor. Maybe if I had gone to the back of the bus on that trip or any of the later trips I could have published a book by now. But, I know this sacrifice was essential so that you will cast your frustrations aside and let me be the reigning champ of Timbers suckitude. I mean, I'm even willing to start tweeting breaking news two weeks after it happens, or start a podcast where I drink copious amounts of cider as my cats interview me about what it was like to see Josh Wicks get an assist in San Francisco.

Don't worry, for those of you that are wondering, my photos will suffer, too. I'm finally able to afford a couple of new lenses and filters but I'll only use them at inappropriate times and encourage as much J.J. Abrams-style lens flare as I can because it's so crappy it's artsy-cool.

In summation, we should all remember that everyone covering the Timbers does not have equal income and time to devote, or equal access and opportunity to every player, coach, event, rumor, and such. Most of us got into this organically just because we loved the Timbers and wanted to do what we could to provide information, opinion or entertainment solely for the pure joy of it. Since everyone's coverage isn't uniformly perfect and has variance of style, opinion, statistical usage and substance, I'm more than happy to be the most ridiculous and take the brunt of all dissatisfaction until we all coalesce into a hive mind of egalitarian soccer coverage. By that time, hopefully the readership will have become an easily-entertained blob of consciousness, as well.

Bunch of media types shoving microphones and cameras in Caleb Porter's face. Lots of lens flare.
I think that's Spock there on the right.