Portland – USA’s Soccer Front / Wayne Rooney Speaks Latin

21 Sep

Portland, Oregon – Portland is soccer mad. I stepped off the plane to see Portland Timbers merchandise everywhere. Even a fast food burger joint was selling scarves and hats along with the fries.

The city was buzzing with anticipation. Seattle Sounders were in town for a nationally televised MLS game on NBC last Saturday. Fans began lining up at the stadium the day before the kickoff. The bars buzzed with soccer talk. Seven hundred Seattle fans were making the trip south. And the Timbers Army, Portland’s thousands strong supporters group, was primed for a show of strength against their Cascadian archrival. No love was lost.

On game-day, I stepped off the light rail to crowd singing coming from inside the nearby stadium. It felt like going to a game in Europe. The atmosphere was pinging. This was a thumping soccer vibe, and it was right here in America.

Inside the ground, the Timbers Army occupied the entire north end. They bounced and sang in collective harmony. It was deafening. A lumberjack walked around the field wielding a chainsaw. He sawed off a log from a felled tree when Portland scored. Seattle’s goalkeeper shivered.

Every game sells out. I was told thousands are on the waiting list to get seats in the Army sections. The Timbers Army has gotten so big it has become a membership driven, non-profit entity. Members’ dues and merchandise sales finance community projects. Creating soccer fields in low-income neighborhoods is one example of this remarkable fan power. It fits right in with the city’s progressive wavelength.

Merritt Paulson owns the Timbers. He is the son of Hank Paulson, Treasury Secretary in the last Bush administration and former Goldman Sachs CEO. Remember Hank? In 2008, he read the note to the world that his capitalist pals in the financial industry had raided the cookie jar.

It seems an odd mix at Portland – social activism fan style on the one-side connected to the gilded edge on the other. Marxists may find that contradiction funny. Certainly, Portland is the vanguard for the country’s soccer experience. They seem to have figured out the grid lines between the team’s supply and the fans’ demands.

Terra Firma – Today’s classics lesson. His leg was sliced open by a cleat during a recent game. A bandaged Wayne Rooney, England’s superstar striker, was photographed on his sofa donning a T-shirt emblazoned with the Latin phrase, Virescit Vulnere Virtus (courage becomes greater through a wound.)

Over the summer, Rooney was photographed in Las Vegas not so much following Carpe Diem! as Carpe Cervisiam! (seize the beer!) On returning to his team a little bloated, Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson gulped, Re vera, postas bene, (Say, you are drinking a lot.) Fergie benched him. The press pounced on Wayne’s weakness for ale.

Of course, as we all know, merda taurorum animas conturbit (B.S. baffles the brain,) especially when beer is involved, so fans of the great Wayne Rooney patiently await his recovery and triumphant return to the soccer forum where the message to his detractors will be vescere bracis meis (eat my shorts.) Hail Rooney!

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One Response to “Portland – USA’s Soccer Front / Wayne Rooney Speaks Latin”

  1. Fat Anarchy (@fat_anarchy) December 10, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    mmMMmmm… nothing like a little misogyny to make football appealing.

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