Soccer….Family Style


My Timbers Army Antifascist Soccer Family
August 23, 2019, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Major League Soccer, Supporter Culture | Tags: , , , ,

I am a Jewish member of Timbers Army. I know I’m not alone, because I had fellow tribe members help me try to light Hanukkah candles in the wind and rain at our MLS Cup Final game in Atlanta. But the rise of antisemitism and antisemitic violence does weigh on me. As we prepare for our son’s bar mitzvah, I am more frequently confronted with the fact that my synagogue is always locked due to security concerns. It keeps me up at night…what will this world look like through the lens of synagogue life in a year?

When #AUnitedFront started earlier in August with the Timbers Army taking a stand against an MLS ban on the antifascist iron front symbol that was all too easily supported by the Timbers Front Office, I waited. As a Jew, I have so many friends that say, “don’t worry, we’ll protect you” when the “never again” topic comes up. But I don’t really believe them. When your life and the things you love are on the line, will you really stand up for my family against oppression?

What the Timbers Army and away Seattle Sounders supporters did tonight was shout a resounding “hell yes we will stand with you” in the quietest possible way. In one of the greatest rivalry games in soccer, our fans and their fans, who typically have no love lost between them, banded together and showed MLS Soccer that we will not back down when the rise of fascism is on the line.

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Image credit: @ambrown Original tweet: https://twitter.com/ambrown/status/1165077662856925184

For the first 33 minutes of the match, the stadium sounded more like a Des Moines Menace match than the biggest rivalry in MLS. No flags, no tifo, no signing. ESPN tried to create some sound by cranking up the field mics, but the result was an awkward uneasy quiet punctuated by players talking and the occasional halfhearted attempt to get a chant started from (I imagine) some white dudes beside themselves in the uncomfortable quiet. Possibly these two?

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The message was clear. Timbers Army is a huge part of what makes MLS great, and we have always been antifascist. We sing Bella Ciao because of its antifascist history. You can’t separate us from who we are.

To my TA family, I love you all. I know you risked getting banned from a game we all love to show support for the Iron Front, but for me, it was so much more than that. I will sleep better tonight knowing that I have an Army behind me, protecting my family from hate and oppression. Your magic is real and I’m so glad to be a part of it.

To Major League Soccer, Your profits are not more important than my family’s safety. You talk the big talk about wanting to be more family friendly…well here is your chance. Teach my children that you will stand up to the Faux News bullies that try to make Antifa any more than what we saw tonight. A group of glorious people bravely willing to stand up to hate and fascism.

In closing, here are a few tweets that captured the in stadium experience from awkward silence to the best Timbers Army has ever sounded.

All Quiet: https://twitter.com/jgrawrock/status/1165085528120684544

EBFG United: https://twitter.com/PaulAtkinsonPDX/status/1165084253312307201

The moment the protest ends: https://twitter.com/JBAustin9/status/1165099149236289536

Bella Ciao: https://twitter.com/jgrawrock/status/1165093759626797057

What Antifa actually looks like: https://twitter.com/PaulAtkinsonPDX/status/1165097139602509824

 


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