This Just In: Week 19 Edition

Matt Watson receives a big hug from a grateful member of an underprivileged sports club. - Jeff Vinnick

In the world of professional sports, we see no shortage of well-written, well-researched articles that delve into the stories surrounding our favourite teams. The unfortunate side effect? Fake stories go begging, unnoticed and forgotten. In an attempt to reverse this shocking trend, Eighty Six Forever is proud to present a selection of stories that are completely, totally, absolutely false. Enjoy.

Paul Dolan Missing, Presumed Kidnapped By Amway

A country-wide search is on for Sportsnet colour commentator Paul Dolan after the veteran goalkeeper-turned-broadcaster was reported missing by his family. Dolan was last seen leaving RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. following the conclusion of last Saturday's match with D.C. United.

While investigators were initially baffled as to a motive for the 2004 Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame inductee's disappearance, a closer examination of the match turned up a vital clue: in the 55th minute, Dolan referred to the Amway Canadian Championship by its informal name, the "Voyageurs Cup". While this is technically correct (and is, in fact, the name of the trophy itself), use of that name was previous limited to obnoxious Twitter personalities and obscure websites. Under the sponsorship agreement with Amway, all members of the mainstream-or-close-enough media are required to use the full, sponsored name of the tournament at all times. The penalties range from a warning to ninja assassination to forced ingestion of SA8 laundry detergent, though the legality of these more extreme penalties is currently being debated by the Supreme Courts of both Canada and the United States.

With this information, investigators are now seeking the assistance of the United Nations Security Council to launch an invasion of Amway's northern command centre, a towering steel citadel half-buried by ice and snow along the eastern coast of Baffin Island. Failing that, the plan is to ask Gina from accounting if she could host another Amway sales party and bring along that nice new salesperson she hired while on a trip to D.C.

Watson's MLS WORKS Project Shut Down

Professional athletes continue to find new and innovate ways to give back to the community. Sometimes, we celebrate these philanthropists for their ingenuity and generosity; sometimes, we tell them to please, please, please stop. For midfielder Matt Watson, this is one of those latter times.

As part of Major League Soccer's community outreach program WORKS, Watson had the novel idea to donate a match ball from every game he played. Unfortunately, Watson's enthusiasm for the project trumped his common sense at very inopportune times, leading head coach Martin Rennie to take the unusual step of kiboshing Watson's project.

"I was on the pitch, ball at my feet, ready to play in Daigo Kobayashi," explained a noticeably disappointed Watson. "Then I thought to myself, "is there really a more hard-luck group of kids than Chivas USA right now?" So I began turning the ball over, y'know, "accidentally", and putting the ball out for a throw with some misplaced touches. It felt great; I really felt I was helping a group of kids get some real enjoyment out of being able to play with a real MLS match ball for once in their lives."

Watson acknowledged that he was told not to repeat his unusual acts of charity against the New England Revolution. The midfielder complied, though he admitted he just couldn't help himself in the following match against D.C. United. "They're like the Chivas USA of the east," explained Watson, going on to say it was his fourth "accidental" turnover that clued Rennie in to Watson's charitable relapse. Watson remains positive about the experience as a whole, adding, "I really feel I did something good in the world and you know what they say - what goes around, comes around."

On a related note regarding charitable acts of a questionable nature, referee Matthew Foerster refused to comment on the penalty call against D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

Gatorade Cancels Sponsorship After Rennie's Drink Gaffe

The iconic green, orange-topped Gatorade water bottle emblazoned with a white "G" is a staple of sports teams in North America. Thanks to an all-encompassing marketing and sponsorship network, you're almost guaranteed to see the Gatorade logo whenever you see an athlete taking a water break or preparing to douse a head coach following a big victory. Thus, it was a shock to not just MLS but the entire sporting world when Gatorade announced it was withdrawing all sponsorship and product placement from Major League Soccer, effective Thursday morning.

In a press conference, Gatorade chief brand marketing officer Les Majoram explained the decision had everything to do with the actions of one individual: Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie.

"Look, when we slap water bottles down in front of athletes making anywhere from acceptable to holy-[expletive]-exorbitant amounts of money, we expect one thing: that they take a big squirt of water in their yawning pie-holes and make it look really cool. That's it. That's all they have to do." Majoram paused to take a large, messy swig from his own green-and-orange water bottle before continuing. "See? See how easy that was?"

Majoram's tirade was a direct reference to an incident in the 62nd minute of the match between the Whitecaps and Sporting KC. As he prepared to sub on Gershon Koffie, Rennie bent over slightly and took an awkward, timid drink from a nearby green water bottle before hurriedly dropping the bottle and standing up straight.

As a clip of the incident played during the Gatorade press conference, Marjoram fluctuated between looking visibly ill and exhibiting a rage-like emotion best described as "aneurysmy". Unable to form coherent words, Marjoram had no further comment and was led away by Gatorade research scientists for a cooling G-Prime bath.

Camilo Caps For Canada In 2016

Finally, I think these screenshots from Sports Interactive's Football Manager 2013 of a certain wee Brazilian say it all:

This might be perhaps the most inspirational thing to come out of the Canadian men's national soccer team in months, which, if you think about it, is also very, very depressing.

~

Rituro is a freelance nerd, sports fan and avid gamer. Feel free to throw a tweet his way and follow @ThatRituroGuy.

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