As we close in on another #CurvaonTour (it’s normally Caps, but I’ll get into that later) adventure into Portland, or as is sometimes referred to as Lower Cascadia, I always struggle with the question, “Why do you guys (Caps fans) have 3 supporters groups?” As we all know, in Portland, it’s just the Timbers Army whereas Curva Collective, RCB and Vancouver Southsiders make up the supporters landscape in Vancouver.
It’s a tough question to answer without coming across as being anti Southsider or Curva or RCB. At some point, you will, either intentionally or not. My generic response is something like, “well, up there, people have a choice” and I go onto explain the biggest differences between the groups. Even when members of all 3 groups unite along with other travelling supporters under the Voyageurs banner (supporters group for the Canadian National Teams), it still feels rather fractured at times. Perhaps that’s just my own club level prejudices coming through. To the untrained ear, and less educated fan, they may not know any different.
To some, player feedback often dictates how well a supporters group is embraced, whether that’s where the player celebrates a goal that was scored, or do they acknowledge every corner of the stadium. On that, I call garbage. Each player will celebrate a goal wherever they feel like it. Most, when possible, like to acknowledge loved ones, wherever they may be seated, or they’ll love the club logo on their kit. That choice is personal, and to insinuate something else, is trying to play the victim when there isn’t one.
As some of you know, I also double as a photographer for Curva Collective. My primary function is to capture our various tifo displays, be it a simple two-stick (banner being supported by 2 pvc poles) or 40ft by 40ft display, requiring multiple poles and multiple people to display it. I also photograph the game, in various aspects, for any potential promotional material that may be required. As such, I do get access that not everyone else does. I see things that others don’t. I am incredibly grateful that I do have this access to the players that I do. Some recognize me, some don’t. Even the smallest gesture, be it a tap on the shoulder, a wink or a wave is often enough reciprocal action on their part to remind me that supporter efforts do not go unnoticed.
Whether you’re a member of one of the Vancouver or Seattle groups or the Timbers Army (Portland), shouldn’t we all just be thankful that we’re given an opportunity to do something on a weekly basis that some might only get to do once in their life?