There's nothing like winning.
The spoils for the MLS Cup winning Portland Timbers and their city continued throughout Tuesday, as a championship winning sports team paraded down Broadway for the first time in 38 years. Later in the day, the club held a rally at Providence Park in front a raucous Timbers Army. And it was a day to remember.
DETAILS AND MORE PICS AFTER THE JUMP!
Thousands turned out for the parade in persistent and often torrential rain, lining up well before the noon start time. The procession consisted of a truck with Timber Joey revving his chainsaw in front of a covered trailer of sorts, where players high fived fans, took pictures, and soaked in a unique moment—not just for Portland, but for the entirety of Major League Soccer.
Everyone broke until 5 pm, when the gates of Providence Park opened for the rally. The Timbers gave away free hot dogs, hot chocolate, and coffee, as a covered stage with banners, a podium, and a stand for the Cup—next to a huge flat-screen TV playing highlights from the playoff run—faced the North End.
Among the speakers where mayor Charlie Hales, owner Merritt Paulson, and manager Caleb Porter.
I've seen Porter plenty over the last three years, and the last two days have been the only two when he hasn't looked like an inevitable heart attack victim.
I hope Porter enjoys this. I hope he slows down—hard to do, considering the work the Timbers are already doing on their roster for the 2016 season—and appreciates the magnitude and rarity of what he just did.
Same goes for Gavin Wilkinson, who (and if this doesn't tell the story, there's nothing that will) was spotted on stage wearing a Timbers Army scarf.
The best moments of the night? Liam Ridgewell's terrific, expletive-laden speech, George Fochive's call-and-response chant, Timber Jim returning to cut the final log slab of the season, and assistant coach Sean McCauly repeatedly grabbing the microphone and singing shamelessly, horribly, and hilariously.
There was Maxi Urruti leading the Army in his Apache mashup song for the final time, Will Johnson taunting Seattle, Paulson dancing, and, finally, the team lifting the trophy on the capo stand.
Timbers announcer and MC-for-the-night Jake Zivin tried to end the event several times, but the team wouldn't let him. They didn't want the night to end.
These players will break for the final time tomorrow, going home or on vacation. Some, like Jorge Villafaña, Will Johnson, and Urruti, won't return.
The good news is, the 2015 Timbers will be celebrated many more times in many more years to come. This was a special group, and this was a special day in a fantastic city: triumphant, appreciative, and incredibly happy. It couldn't last forever, but, without a doubt, the memories certainly will.