Sometimes I start writing in my head, and then later on will try to find what I started only to realize I never actually wrote it. Which makes it, I suppose, just thinking.
This weekend was essentially a study in how many things you can fit into a single weekend. I mean, my weekends are typically pretty busy (especially the last 3 or 4 before this one), but this was an entirely new brand of hurry hurry rush rush it’s time for the next thing. However, the whole thing was very fulfilling and I got a ton of great stories, so let’s dive in.
I got to Prov Park around 5:45, which was forty-five minutes before gate 2 opened, and a couple hours before kickoff. I promptly got into line, with maybe four people ahead of me. A middle-aged married couple get into line behind me, and she says to me, “Oh hey, same scarf!” Sure enough, we’re both wearing Refugees Welcome. I tell her I put it on this morning because I thought it was appropriate after what happened last Friday. She agreed, they both fist-bumped me. She said something about wondering if there’s anything new in the van, and I told her about the new Street Roots scarf (Spread The Love / Housing Is A Human Right) I was planning on picking up after the game.
The conversation shifted to general Timbers and Football subjects, but after a while she glanced over at the van and said she was going to go check it out, asking if I wanted her to grab anything for me. I didn’t have any cash on me, so I declined, and said I was gonna swing by after the match anyway. The conversation went on, and by now the people in front of me in line (who ended up sitting in front of me for the actual match, too) had joined in. A few minutes pass, and she returns with two of the new scarves, and hands me one. Apparently they were almost out, and she wanted to make sure I got one. “Just pay it forward sometime” was her response to my gratitude.
I’m gonna wear that scarf proudly for a long time, I’m sure. And what better scarf to have this story than one which so plainly and boldly says “Spread the love.” There never seems to be enough going around.
I knew in advance this match wasn’t going to be like any other night at Providence Park. For one, the Timbers had a really hot start to the season, but we’ve been slumping lately and the fans were hungry for a change in form. More importantly, we as a city are/were still a bit reeling from the horrible crime you’ve all read about by now. Sure enough, the army was already singing in line by the time I showed up to the stadium. I’ve never seen the army sing outside the stadium before. We were in for something special.
You could feel it during the game. The army was louder than I’ve heard it in a good while. There was palpable tension in the crowd. San Jose came out fouling our guys hard, and we weren’t having it. Ryan lost his voice after about 16 minutes. The kids in front of us were ruined after about 30.
But, to get to the point of this section, after 35 minutes of hard fouls and no cards, Kevin Stott showed Darwin Ceren two yellow cards in under 60 seconds. While the army was still just generally yelling and “wooing”, I instinctively went for my favourite red card related chant, and started yelling “Get that shit / off the pitch!” A second later, I hear Chris take it up on my left, followed by Chase on my right. But then, before I really realize what’s happening, it was the whole army. I just went back to check the VOD, and sure enough, it was audible on national television.
Easily my proudest moment as a Timber’s Fan.
The Match Ball
This one’s short, but sweet. After the match, Vytas punted the match ball up into the stands, and it landed over in 101. We were in 102, and soon enough it worked its way over to us. Chris and I had a fleeting moment with it during tetris, which she was clever enough to capture.
In an unfortunate scheduling conflict (which was, coincidentally, entirely my fault), this week’s meetup was scheduled for the same time as the Timbers match. I wanted to swing by, because I haven’t seen a lot of my friends in a decent while, but I also knew that I had to get up early to drive to Seattle the next day, so I was waffling on it. But, Ryan offered me a ride over after the match, so swing by I did.
Of course, ‘swing by’ quickly deteriorated to ‘stay until the end’ (I got caught up in some pretty impressive back-on-page-117 close-reading), but it was really great to see some regulars, as well as some whisps, or whiffs, maybe, of older, farther departed faces.
So Saturday, as previously mentioned, I was driving up to Seattle to attend The Narrator’s graduation. I’ve been pretty hype about this for a good while now, so I was happy to get up early and hit the road. It was a pleasant drive, until there was a section of I5 North that was having some construction work, so everything was getting trafficy. Then, what do I hear, but google telling me it’s “found an alternate route for [me], saving 15 minute.” I was hecka down for that, and apparently so was literally everybody else on the road who had apparently just gotten the same instructions. I watched the freeway essentially empty as everyone took exits to maneuver back roads.
Sure enough, there was some traffic along Military Drive (the back road I’d been assigned to), but it wasn’t bad, and soon enough I was waiting in a very long line to go through an intersection immediately before the I5 on-ramp I was heading for. But, there was just one issue: When I got to the ramp, I found it was closed. Google, I thought, how could you betray me like this? Ye all-knowing, all-seeing entity, how did you not know this ramp was closed? I can only imagine all the cars around me having the same moment of desperation and confusion. Were Ben Kenobi in the solar system, surely he would have felt this disturbance in the force.
No matter, I saw a sign for I5 Detour, and followed it onto another highway, heading North. Google had re-routed me by now, and after sticking on that highway for a while, I turned right, presumably towards another onramp. I saw too-late another I5 detour sign directing me straight, but I figured it was probably just to the same onramp and google was taking me a different way.
How wrong I was, though. That entrance was closed too, and now I had no idea where to actually go. When I passed the on-ramp, google just re-routed me back to it, so I was driving aimlessly in what I assumed was north. Eventually I found another I5 detour sign, and by following it, I somehow got to SEA-TAC, and made my way over to Redmond from there. The alternate route that was supposed to save me 15 minutes ended up costing me 45. Worse, I had been betrayed by Google after an entire adult-life of putting my trust into it.
The Grad Ceremony
God, so boring, have you ever sat through one of these? It was like 3 hours long, and there was fifteen seconds of relevant excitement. I shouted “Boat Emoji” at our star. She didn’t hear me, but loved it when I told her later.
I’m not sure what really is the best way to communicate this experience. We went out with Alex’s friend group, had dinner and drinks. It was fun, not just because it was a pleasant evening, but more rewardingly because I’ve been hearing about these people every day for years, and his was my first time actually meeting any of them. Unsurprisingly, The Narrator lived up to her name, and all of them were essentially exactly as described. I felt like I knew them all relatively intimately already, knowing the major events in their life, etc.
Overall, it was a lovely trip, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Sunday I woke up early (again) to drive back down to Portland because my soccer team (Bad Lads FC) had a match at 1PM. At this point in the season, we were in 5th place, and if we managed to win our last 2 matches, there was a chance we’d finish in 2nd place and make it to the championship game. Now, by the time the match rolled around, I was tired, dehydrated, and malnourished from how my weekend had been going. Luckily, we had plenty of guys and I wasn’t going to have to play a lot of minutes.
We were playing a good team that had trounced us the last time we played them, although we were missing a bunch of guys for that game. We knew we had to win this one to keep our championship hopes alive, and we came out strong, having the ball for basically the entire first five minutes of the match. We continued to dominate possession for the first half, but all of our shots on frame were straight into the keeper. I played a bit, but wasn’t feeling good physically, and didn’t really have a meaningful contribution one way or another.
Second half rolled around, and we still have the majority of possession, although the other guys were starting to look better. And yet, we still couldn’t find the back of the net. We were rotating around up top, giving everyone a shot to try and get one on goal, and we got close so many times. With about 10 minutes left, Jubba went off hurting, so I stepped back on at right wing. Somehow (although this often happens with me), my second half play was totally different from my first half play and almost all of my touches were crisp one-touch passes that found their mark. Notably, one time down the field Harrison had the ball near the corner of the box, I overlapped him and he laid it off to me saying, “Send it in.” So, I did, and somehow the cross came off my foot perfectly (I’m normally not good at crossing) and just missed Mike’s head, but found Brian who volleyed it on target- straight into the keeper.
The match ended 0-0, and it was hard not to feel like we should have scored at least two or three, but sometimes those are the breaks and everyone walks off the pitch feeling existentially unfulfilled. We’ve got one more match in the season, and I’m hoping for a whole bucket of goals. I still haven’t scored one yet this season, and I’m hoping to get mine in as well.
Then, to round it all out (maybe?), Monday morning the train I was on hit and killed a pedestrian. I didn’t see it, or know what happened. Our train slammed the breaks going through an intersection, stopped on the other side, and the audibly-shaken operator came over the intercom to tell us the train had just been involved in an accident and we all had to stay on board while waiting for a supervisor, etc. I thought it was a car. I thought of all the times I’ve been delayed on the MAX because some idiot driver turned in front of train, or drove on the tracks. I put my head back down in House of Leaves.
Later, someone came in to tell us it was a pedestrian that had been hit, and if anyone saw anything, please come talk to them, even though he realized it was unlikely any of us had because we were in the back carriage. I thought, “How do you walk into a MAX train at a street crossing?” I thought the person must be drugged out, or mentally ill to be that unaware.
More time passed, and finally they let us out because a shuttle bus was coming to take us to Willow Creek (the next stop on the line). I glanced to my left as I got off the train and saw some tarps on the sidewalk near the crossing. I didn’t know, but I knew. My mom texted me to make sure I was okay, because she saw my facebook post about my train being involved in an accident. I got into the office over an hour later than I would have. I said hello to my coworkers, and then found the news article. The pedestrian died.
My first thought was how bad I feel for the train operator. Knowing you just hit and killed someone must be the worst feeling in the world, even though anyone you ask will tell you there was literally nothing that could have been done. Nobody expects a train to be able to avoid someone stepping in front of it. Since then, though, I’ve progressively felt weirder and weirder about my (non)involvement. Obviously, rationally, I was little more than a bystander; but, nonetheless, I was there. A vehicle I was in just killed somebody. There’s a proximity thing there, and I’m not really sure how to explain its effect.