“Portland Timbers, here we go!”

We are all fans of something, whether it’s a cause, a person you admire, or an idea. However, when you hear the word “fan” a lot of people think offhand of being a fan of a sports team; the jersey wearing, SportsCenter watching, season-ticket holding, drinking out of a team logoed coffee cup, crowd that never misses a game, on TV or in person. Of course there are the fan-atics that paint their bare stomachs in below-freezing weather or will throw a punch at an opposing team’s fan if they say the wrong thing, but let’s stick to the healthy version for now, the kind of fans that we encountered yesterday when the Portland FMYI team (partners included) attended a Portland Timbers MLS game at Jeld-Wen Field.

For some of us (myself included) this was our first Timbers game. Before the game, our president, Justin Yuen, printed out some team chants and songs, some uniquely written to be sung to the popular tunes of “You are my sunshine,” “Feliz Navidad” and the theme from the iconic video game “Tetris.” I laughed these off as a friendly gimmick, having never fans singing at major league sports games. But I had yet to be introduced to the “Timbers Army.”

The Portland Timbers Army contains members that fall into the first definition of what a sports fan is. They are the season-ticket holders that all sit in the north section of the field above the goal, creating a mass sea of green and white with clothing, flags and Timbers team scarves. But I heard these fans before I saw them…heard them singing… and they never stopped singing from the moment I took my place in section H to when the game ended. They stood the whole time, proudly making their way through each chant and song on the list. Three people stood at the front facing the crowd like orchestra conductors, guiding them through each lyric, urging the crowd to clap and raise their hands in unison. These were fans.

It’s quite an atmosphere to witness on the border of what is the Army. Here you have a congested group of people that are all there for the same reasons: first for the love of their team, and then for the love of the game. As an outsider, it makes you want to share that feeling of devotion and join their boisterous singing, but no other part of the field came even close to the energy of that section. Everyone else is sitting calmly with a drink or nachos in hand, only occasionally shouting encouragement when a Timbers player dribbles the ball near the opposing team’s goal.

Maybe it was because we were on the edges of the high-spirited north section, but the FMYI team was definitely on their feet that day, cheering for the Timbers and trying our best to sing along with unknown lyrics and clap in rhythm. It could’ve been the round of margaritas at Mazatlan beforehand and the beers in our hands that were partly responsible, but we were thoroughly enjoying the time we were spending together outside of the workplace. Since we use our own collaboration software internally, we have built a socially-based environment in the office and enjoy a sense of community because of that. However it’s nice to take that same approach as you relax with your co-workers and enjoy each others’ company. There is a natural camaraderie that comes out when we’re not talking about shared tasks at work, but other things like the game and our non-FMYI lives. And even though we aren’t members of the Timbers Army, it’s nice to appreciate someone else’s exuberance and show our support for their cause, the Portland Timbers soccer team.

“Portland Timbers, here we go!”

Live to innovate,
– Sarah