Dear Sir,

As a former sportswriter, if I were Jonathan Crowl's editor, I would have taken the first draft of his "Gang Green" article [WW, Aug. 31, 2011] and torn it to shreds in his face. I would then instruct him to act like a journalist, to interview Timbers fans, to stand in line with us and gain an actual understanding of what it means to be a Timbers (and a soccer) fan in this city. Instead, you decided to print Mr. Crowl's rehash of old stereotypes, and thus contributed to the reinforcement of the negative national perception of Portland as a city of unemployed alcoholic hooligan drifters.

It's entirely unfair to the vast majority of decent people who now, by virtue of Major League Soccer, and the designation of "Timbers Army" tickets, have to be officially called "Timbers Army." The Timbers Army should be a state of mind: the simple act of being interested in the Timbers. Instead, articles like this speak of "The Timbers Army" anthropomorphically. Let it be known that the 107 Independent Supporters Trust (IST) is the closest thing we fans have to a governing entity, the goals of which are 99 percent charity/improving local soccer fields/sponsoring youth soccer, and 1 percent creating spectacular Tifo displays. It's embarrassing that these things need to be pointed out. 

You and/or Mr. Crowl have an open invitation to come wait in line with us, and to speak with the lovely people I have the privilege of spending three or four hours of pre-match time with before we all disperse to our respective North End sections. These are parents and grandparents, teachers, combat veterans, salespeople, tech nerds and students. I hope to see you there.

Best regards,
Mike Schwartz
Section 106, where our slogan is “Family First”

I'm surprised by the "I saw kids at the game, therefore it's OK for your kid to be there" comments. I'm with some of the other [] commenters—we sat near the front, and loved the game, but the overall vibe in the stands was generally obnoxious (and felt a lot like trying too hard). The drinking was also pretty heavy.

I'm not sure what's happening to Portland, really. I grew up here, and this fairly recent phenomenon of trying really hard to make Portland "cool" feels like watching a teen with a severe identity crisis (and I've seen that up close). Is it really necessary to have a defensive "Timbers Army" crowd trolling the Internet shouting down anybody who doesn't see the soccer world the way they do? Apparently yes, I guess.

—"Dad of Two"

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