Jul 062014
 

As a few of you may know, we had a few complaints following the Seattle home match a while back. Folks didn’t like that people were swearing. Or booing a Seahawk. Or that they didn’t bow down in reverence of a USWNT player on the opposing team.

Whatever. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone supports in different ways. What matters deep down is that they’re supporting. Complaints are going to come, especially after a contentious match against our closest rival.

So, it came as a bit of a surprise to me to get a complaint email in the middle of yesterday’s match. I wasn’t in the North End yesterday, I was up in my perch in what Heidi calls my “lofty eyrie” that the rest of us call the press box. From up there, I can hear chants pretty clearly. Yesterday, I didn’t hear anything unusual.

But still, the complaint came.

Hello. I am a person who loves the Thorns, my whole family does. We have season tickets, however it is very troubling to us that the Riveter chants that used to be so supportive to our Thorns are now used for making our city look like a bunch of assholes. The game against Seattle fans had disgraceful behavior and today’s game too with chants of lousy keeper? Our team is a good one and we should instead continue to support them as best we can instead of wasting effort abusing the other team. It makes the Thorns, their supporters and the city of Portland look bad. I hope it gets resolved soon.

 

My immediate reaction to this was, very simply, snotty dismissiveness. I read it on my phone on the elevator down to the post-match presser, and again before the coach and players came in to answer questions, and once more when we found out Karina LeBlanc, last year’s Riveters player of the year and current Chicago Red Stars keeper, would be in to give us a few quotes, too.

One only need be within thirty yards of me when the Timbers play the Galaxy to know of my *ahem* dislike of Robbie Keane. But I don’t think we were anywhere near that with Karina. Karina will always be one of us.

But Karina also gets it. She knows what being a player on an opposing team coming into Providence Park entails. Moreso, she knows what being an opposing keeper coming into Providence Park means.

It means you stand with your back to the loudest, most boisterous group of supporters anywhere in women’s sports for at least 45 minutes. It means you are greeted with the “Dodgy Keeper” chant as all opposing keepers are, regardless of skill or how much we may love them as players or individuals. It’s just part of the game.

So, it should be no surprise that she was asked about it in the post-match presser. And her response should be no surprise, either.

Portland is just a city that I remember being here just playing for the people. They’re great, they’re energetic, they love the game. It was just so nice. I just embraced it and just said this is such a good opportunity to play in front of amazing fans. I didn’t take it as them cheering against me or anything…

They’re fans, they have to cheer for the home team. I didn’t take it personally. Again, when I walked out there, they were on their feet clapping for me. It’s a special feeling. Portland will always have a special feeling in my heart…

When the whistle blows, you just want to play the best soccer and give the best expression of yourself on the field. It’s always special playing here.

As previously stated, KK will always be one of us. She gets us. She played her heart out for us. She may play somewhere else, but she will always be loved in Portland.

And, until such time as she finds herself again wearing a Thorns badge, she will be greeted with “Dodgy Keeper.” And she will laugh and wave and take it as part of the game.

 

  9 Responses to “Here we are again: Dodgy Keeper Edition”

  1. I was wondering before the game how that was going to play out, thinking that if there was ever to be a gk to escape “dodgy keeper” it would be KK. I was pleased that as she approached the goal the “Ka-ri-na” chant started up and she gave a nice acknowledgement to the crowd, and as soon as she turned around “dodgy keeper” started up and she flashed two thumbs up. Everyone I was around got a kick out of it and I’m sure she did too, because she’s a good sport and she gets it. Thanks for addressing the situation, I hope this article makes the media rounds so the folks who are bent out of shape can be a little more informed.

    • Anyone who is “bent out of shape” is probably looking for recreational umbrage, but the “dodgy keeper” chant has always rubbed me the wrong way. I can accept that it’s a sexist double standard not to taunt and insult female athletes if one thinks it is fine to taunt and insult the men, but I don’t do that either.

      That sort of thing by pudgy Timbers Army guys also strikes me as pathetic. Quasi-bully taunting from a distance doesn’t even begin to pass for butch.

      • Rory,

        On behalf of “pudgy Timbers Army guys” who you think are pathetic.

        The dodgy keeper chants have been around long before the Thorns OR Timbers and in some cases, like last Friday, are a good fun term of endearment. Ask anyone at the Man City friendly years back when we threw the kitchen sink at Joe Hart and he applauded us.

        It’s not like we are doing YSA, we were taking the piss out of a beloved ex-player.

        Maybe you should come down off your moral high horse and learn to enjoy yourself a little.

  2. Well written, Kristen. These people who send emails during the match are the people whos support i question. If they had really been paying attention, they would have noticed the subtle shrug of KKs shoulders as she started to laugh when “dodgy keeper” began immediately following Karinas traditional chant of respect. Only someone buried in their phone sending an idiotic email would have missed the 2 thumbs up that KK gave the RCR.
    Hey soccer moms! Stop softening women’s sports. One day your daughter is going to want to play in front of a crowd, and she is going to want it to be authentic.

  3. I wasn’t able to go the the Red Stars game. I’m at the beach. I briefly thought of driving back for the game and then back to the beach for fireworks, only because it was the only game Karina was playing this year in Portland. Common sense got the better of me. I gave my tickets to my son. I did text him he was not allowed to chant “dodgy keeper” to KK. He replied he wouldn’t dare. I hope he joined in all the chants. We love our team.

  4. During a lull in the singing I bellowed “We still love you, KK…but we have to beat you today, sorry!” and she gave another thumbs up. She TOTALLY gets it.

  5. Karina gets it. She loves Portland and Portland loves her RCTID

  6. Karina was laughing when “Dodgy Keeper” started. She was greeted to warm applause just prior to the second half, acknowledged the Riveters, and once the (very cool) greeting to our former player had concluded, “Dodgy Keeper” began, and she cracked up. I sit in section 116. I could see her face. She laughed, and gave the Riveters a thumbs up DURING “Dodgy Keeper.”

    Karina gets it, she thought it was funny, and if the author of the email to which you are referring wants a professional soccer match, hosting some of the strongest female players in the world (literally) to be about unicorns, rainbows, and mutual love for all players, because “everyone’s a winner,” then she needs to just go watch rec league games with her daughters.

    • I’ve punched my share of men full in the face, but talking tough doesn’t make you tough.

      If you are not willing to say something within wingspan to a person’s face, shouting it from distance to their back is just cowardly.

      These athletes all deserve our respect and I think we should aspire to me more than loud-mouthed, pudgy drunks.

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