Timbers Lego Crest, 6.10.17
(Timbers.com)

From the Stands | Tony Lusk combines 20,000 LEGO bricks to recreate massive Portland Timbers crest

It stands five-and-a-half feet tall by five-and-a-half feet wide. It's traveled nearly 1,300 miles from Lakewood, Colo. to Providence Park. And it's made entirely out of LEGO bricks – nearly 20,000 of them.

This Portland Timbers logo, a monument to the team, is the brainchild of Tony Lusk, a Timbers fan from the moment he began attending matches with his father and brother at the old Civic Stadium in early 1980s and a huge LEGO enthusiast.

While Lusk has designed and built large LEGO structures before, nothing he's done has quite compared in size and scope to this project.

But to build something of this scale, Lusk first had to start small.

He began by printing a high-quality copy of the Timbers logo before, in his words, going “old school,” painstakingly sketching the logo out onto a piece of graph paper, each one-inch square corresponding to scale to represent the total size he wanted for his project, a massive five-and-a-half feet by five-and-a-half feet.

This was Lusk's blueprint, and if you're imagining something like LEGO's illustrated step-by-step instruction guides, think again.

“It's a lot of trial and error,” Lusk says of the assembly process. “Stack [the bricks] all into an angle and then you realize that it's not the degree that you want so you have to come back and take some off and put in smaller plate pieces and try to get that angle the way you want. So it's definitely a lot of time and, I'd say energy, but I don't have much energy left.”

The time.

Everyone's always asking Lusk about the time. How much time, they ask, does it take you to do something like this? For a hobbyist like Lusk, that's the wrong question because it's as much about the process of designing and building something like a 20,000-piece Timbers logo as it is about the time it takes to do so.

Then again, a part of him also doesn't want to think about all that time.

“I've never really come up with an actual number of how long it took because I do not want to cry myself to sleep at night,” he says with a smirk. “So I purposely did not keep track on this one of how much time it would take.

That said, for the better part of 14 months, Lusk would often spend two to three hours a night in the basement of his Lakewood, Colo. home tinkering with his LEGO bricks. This on top of a day job as a carpenter and as a father of two small children, one of whom assisted with the project.

“We have a three year-old who did a good job helping me with it, which really means messing pieces up and adding pieces where she wanted them,” Lusk says with a laugh. “So I had to end up taking them away later.”

Despite first thinking of tackling the project back when the Timbers joined Major League Soccer in 2011, Lusk ultimately didn't pick up the idea again until after the Timbers won MLS Cup in 2015.

By then the project had become more than something Lusk wanted to do, but something that he had to do.

That motivation harkens back to his favorite memory of the old NASL-era Timbers, one that deeply informed his view of the team and its place in the Portland community.

“The starting players would go out there with a ball and when the national anthem was over, all the players would run and kick a ball up into the stands,” Lusk recalls. “I just remember as a kid always liking that, that they were trying to give these little extra things back to the fans.”

Some thirty-plus years later, Lusk has driven from Colorado to Oregon to give something back to his fellow Timbers fans. This Saturday night, as the Timbers play host to Western Conference rivals FC Dallas, fans can see Lusk's LEGO monument for themselves outside of Guest Services at Providence Park.

And if you see Tony Lusk, just remember not to ask him about time. 

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