Makenzie, #Timbers540

Axe Rewind: As young Makenzie has grown, so has her Portland Timbers fandom

Editor’s Note: 2015 is a dual anniversary for the Portland Timbers as the club is celebrating its 40th year as an organization as well as its 5th year in Major League Soccer.

Back in 2010, the team launched a series of billboards on the sides of buildings, at the ends of bridges, and across the city featuring some of the Rose City’s soccer supporters and citizens. That was followed by a photo shoot open to all fans where individuals of all ages posed with axes, chainsaws, scarves and more.

Now heading into the club’s 5th MLS season, the Timbers brought the campaign back.

What’s changed for you in the last five years? We reached out to a number of Timbers supporters from both the billboards and fan shoot in 2010 to hear more about how their Timbers fandom has deepened. - BC

The photographer looked at the young girl standing in front of his camera.

"You need to be serious," he told the smiling girl.

Suddenly the girl's expression changed as she contorted her facial features as best she could. "OK," she replied. "I'll be serious about soccer."

What resulted was, in the words of the girl's mother, "the most serious look that we've ever seen on her face." The photo, taken as part of the 2011 We Are Timbers campaign, garnered nearly 450 likes on Facebook, with most of the comments focused on that serious expression.

Lindsay Schmierer, the young girl's mother, says that for their family, the photo is a constant source of humor precisely because the expression on Makenzie's face is so opposite her typical personality, which she describes as "happy-go-lucky" and "very spunky."

For Makenzie, the young girl in the photo, the whole experience was something of a blur.

Just four years-old at the time, Makenzie went down to have her picture taken along with her mother and her sister, Finley. When Finley didn't want to have her own picture taken, Makenzie walked in front of the camera alone except for the axe that she held in her hands.

"I remember my sister not wanting to get a photo," Makenzie told "And I remember me trying to get serious the whole time and I'm like, 'OK, I'll be serious, as serious as I can.'"

As for the axe, "that was pretty heavy," she recalled. "But it was worth it."

Since the photo, Makenzie and her family have become big Timbers fans.

Last season, Makenzie was fortunate enough to have her picture taken with several of her favorite Timbers players, including Will Johnson, Darlington Nagbe and former Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. When she later went back and looked at the photos, one player's reaction particularly stood out to her.

"I remember looking at the pictures and I'm like, 'I've never seen Nagbe smile that big before,'" she said of the normally stoic midfielder. "And I'm like, 'I thought he's serious about stuff!"

Despite being on the season ticket wait list, Makenzie and her family have still managed to make it to a few Timbers matches. During one memorably long U.S. Open Cup game, the only thing that kept a young, tired Makenzie going was Timber Joey.

As it turns out, Makenzie and her sister Finley are both big Timber Joey fans.

"They've been able to meet him or have pictures taken with him a couple of times," Lindsay Schmierer said. "I feel like when you asked about who their favorite player is, you would have to include Timber Joey in that roster, even though he's not actually on the pitch."

Two years ago, Finley even dressed up as Timber Joey for Halloween, complete with suspenders, soccer necklace, and of course, a chainsaw.

Makenzie, however, came away unimpressed by her sister's Timber Joey impersonation.

"I remember her after Halloween, revving her chainsaw when I was in my room reading," Makenzie said, imitating the whirring sound of her sister's toy chainsaw.

Now in the third grade and a big reader, Makenzie follows the Timbers closely each season and, like any fan, lives and dies with the results of each game.

"When they lose, I'm like, 'When are they going to win the next game?' That's why I always cross my fingers every time I watch the Timbers."