There’s a little blue sign that has always been posted in the breezeway of the 107/108 entrance. For years it referenced Timbers Army/Timbers. More recently, the sign was updated, with Rose City Riveters/Thorns included.
The North End was always home for Riveters- but this seemingly small change was significant. We were officially whole, equal, valid- not just in our own eyes, but now in the eyes of the stadium, too.
The purpose of that sign? It welcomes the reader to Providence Park, and advises that the person observing the sign is now entering a supporters section.
Standing, chanting, singing, flags waving. Raucous, loud, enthusiastic. Smoke, two sticks, banners. And, perhaps most noticeably- drums, trumpets, capos. All for Thorns FC. These top-tier athletes deserve all those things as much as any pro team; we have a wide swath of supporters eager to give them their hearts, enthusiasm, and energy.
Do you want to root for the girls in red? With every fiber you’ve got? Welcome. You’ve got a home in the North End.
Within minutes of the end of the NWSL championship match, unfortunately, we encountered some concerns about how we do what we do in the North End.
Some were concerned about capos yelling. Others didn’t like the salty language. One was angry that she was called out after choosing the second half to sit down and eat her lunch in 107.
More so, several believed standing and cheering throughout two, 45-minute halves was and is too hefty an expectation. More than a few felt our tradition of enthusiastically cheering and chanting for Thorns FC so long as they remained on the pitch was impolite. Discourteous.
We hear these concerns.
We also know that there are a couple simple truths in life: the first is that you can’t please all the people all the time, and the second is the importance of letting go of what isn’t meant for you.
Some folks want to sit and casually enjoy the contest while multitasking with other things- and we respect that. It just can’t happen in our supporters section. Some want G-rated language. That, too, will likely never happen in the North End. Some do not want to be “yelled at”- but that’s part of what capos do. And capos will always be a part of the Riveters support experience.
The vast majority of the stadium outside of the North End is perfect for those who want a comfortable, civil experience with no standing. (and certainly, we understand and respect that some folks will need to utilize the North End ADA sections, and your being seated in those sections is absolutely OK, and no one has any expectation that you stand at all, capos most especially.) For a little extra expense, spectators can sit where stadium employees will bring hot dogs and licorice whips directly to the seats, gratis- you don’t even have to stand to get your food! What a world. Providence Park is a beautiful stadium with many great views of the pitch, and most you can comfortably remain seated in.
The North End is small, comparatively. But this small wedge of stadium is the source and summit of Thorns support. The loud energy. The smoke. The waving flags. The undying adoration. Players want to come to Portland not for money or the housing options- they come because we hail them as heroes.
We want to give them all of this, every single time. Because they deserve it. Every single bit, with no deceleration, louder when the score tips against us, if anything. Scarves up! Sing! Loud!
If this isn’t meant for you, we understand. Between your ticket rep and guest services, you will find the right fit.
And if unrelenting support- jumping and clapping and screaming and raising your scarf high above your head when the other team scores, for 90 minutes every home match- if this is for you?