When people ask me about the differences in supporting the Timbers and the Thorns, I give complicated answers about the different fan bases and supporters groups, and the intersections and overlaps of the two, and demographics and visibility and growth and whatnot.
But then I find myself at the airport just after noon on a Monday to greet a team who’s just won a league Shield and I forget all those things.
It’s not about the number of butts in seats. It’s not about who sells how many jerseys. It’s not even about that Shield.
It’s about support.
We will be there, win or lose. We will be there, rain or shine. We will be there.
There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 of us at PDX Monday afternoon to greet the team as they arrived home as 2016’s NWSL Shield winners. They looked tired from their travels, but happy to be home, and ready to get to work preparing for Sunday’s playoff match, the first home playoff match for the Thorns in franchise history.
The 2016 NWSL Shield winners arrive home to begin preparations for the first home playoff game in team history.
There in the picture, among stalwart supporters and national team members, is one of the littlest Riveters, Harper. She’s new to us, but to me, she represents future generations of players and supporters.
She wore sparkly shoes to the last home match. She sat on her dad’s shoulders and waved a flag as the team came off the field. She’s one of us. She’s all of us. She’s just a tad shorter. But someday, she’ll kick a ball on that field or design tifo that’s raised in the stands. Next level, next generation support.
Next-gen Riveter Harper.
Last we checked, there were still a few tickets left for Sunday’s match. Go get them. Bring a friend.
Start thinking about what possible excuses you can give your boss should the need for another airport greeting arise.