Image: Eric Beck – photo by Craig Mitchelldyer.
By Tim Froh – Timbers.com
In the locker room, the men sit together in silence as a complex array of emotions plays across their faces. One stares at the floor and nervously taps his foot, while another looks straight ahead, his face displaying some combination of concern and excitement.
Eric Beck suddenly interrupts their reverie with an announcement: it’s time they made their way to the team tunnel.
It’s game time.
Before they leave, the men quickly huddle up. The most senior of them gives a short pep talk, after which one of the men, suddenly overcome with adrenaline, shouts “Let’s go!” and claps his hands as he makes his way out of the locker room and into the corridor beyond.
It’s a familiar scene; one the plays out in professional locker rooms before soccer matches all across the world. Only in this scene, the actors aren’t players; they’re referees. And Beck, the man who ushered the officials out of the locker room before the game, has the unique responsibility of making sure that scenes like this one play out as seamlessly as this before every Portland Timbers match.