I didn’t grow up in a sports house. Sure, we would watch the big games and I had a workable understanding of the more popular American sports, but we didn’t have any obsessions or even alliances to teams. As a kid, I didn’t have even much interest in sports and that culture seemed very clique-ish to me; it felt exclusionary. It’s hard to get very invested in something that is designed to keep certain people out. I don’t think that’s the intent of many sports cultures, but it’s often the result.
I do some speaking on social media and digital culture as part of my day job and I often cite the Portland Timbers—and by extension, the Timbers Army—as examples of community engagement. My standard line is, “Soccer is their product, but community is their brand.” And that’s not a throw-away comment, the community built up around the team is what makes it special. But what is community without inclusion?
With all the news in the last couple weeks regarding restrictive (sorry, I mean BULLSHIT) laws governing the use of public bathrooms, I was delighted, but not surprised, to see a statement from this community I have become so enamored of. It’s a simple, but powerful statement.
I’ll Go With You