The Season Is Over; Time For A Eulogy
I'd like to depart from our usual three-item format for TJI this week to give the one prominent issue on everyone's mind the proper respect and reflection it deserves: the Vancouver Whitecaps' 2013 Major League Soccer season is dead, over and finished. Well, I mean, sure, there are still a few matches left including some Cascadia tilts and mathematically speaking all it takes is a few results and bam, game on - but let's not entertain crazy, immaterial thoughts like "hope" and "numbers". It's over.
And so, friends, supporters, commenters, I come here to bury the Whitecaps, not to praise them. I'm not sure how well this will go since my USB port didn't like me cramming a shovel into it for some reason, but we'll persevere and see how this burial goes.
The mistakes that are made in a season linger on well after they are made or, in some cases, even after the people responsible are long gone (see: Toronto FC), overshadowing the good (if any) that remains. So it will be with Martin Rennie, Bobby Lenarduzzi and any others the masses see fit to punish in the court of public opinion, since the odds of Greg Kerfoot actually taking a vested interest in his investment property seem pretty slim at this point. Some have said the Whitecaps front office erred by being too ambitious, hoping to end Vancouver's drought of major sports trophies with key international signings. If that is true, boy, did the Vancouver braintrust commit a grievous fault there. Sure, you could point to Kenny Miller's mostly redeeming 2013 or Nigel Reo-Coker's inspired play at midfield or, heck, even the brief acquisitions last season of Sébastien Le Toux and Dane Richards. You could praise those moves as being part of a calculated ambition; as a counter-point, detractors would instantly point to the likes of Barry Robson, Daigo Kobayashi and, so far, David Ousted, which totally and completely ruins everything and anything the team has ever done in the name of ambition. Indeed, as some old dude might say, grieviously hath the Whitecaps answer'd ambition's call.
The loyal supporters - for they are loyal, as are all Vancouver sports fans, loyal men and women all - say Rennie was ambitious since that's apparently a bad thing nowadays. Me, I like the guy; I have no quarrel with a coach who's willing to bring in international talent to fill the seats of BC Place and thus fill the team's coffers. Isn't that what we wanted? A team that would search far and wide for winning talent? But the supporters say Rennie was stubborn, inflexible and poor to adapt - and the supporters are loyal men and women all. I speak not to disprove the informed analysis of the masses, but here I am to speak what I do know: we all thought Rennie was the king of [Expletive] Mountain when the wins came pouring in like gravy from a Thanksgiving buffet. Winning streaks! Cascadian victories! Golden Boot challengers! Emerging young talent! We all loved the Whitecaps once, not without cause; what cause urges us now to dangle Rennie and his staff off the Lions Gate Bridge like a three-piece-suited piñata?
Oh, right. Missing the playoffs. My bad. Since, y'know, we've never experienced that horror before as Vancouver sports fans. And especially since our MLS playoff history is a storied one, full of one (one!) glorious play-in game last season. Oh, assembled casual and curious would-be soccer fans, if I were to stir your hearts to sing and cheer on match days regardless of Vancouver's position in the standings, I should do the fans and supporters wrong, fans and supporters who, you all know, are loyal men and women. I will not do them wrong; I would rather wrong the deadened faces in Toronto (who wouldn't?), wrong my own beliefs in this team, this league and this sport, than wrong such loyal men and women.
But I get ahead of myself. Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up to such a sudden flood of rational reflection and dispassionate analysis. They that support this team are loyal; what private griefs they have, alas, I know not that made them strike down this season as dead my chances at running for political office - murder one horse with your bare hands and it haunts you forever - but they are wise and loyal. They will, no doubt, with reasons answer you, most of said reasons probably rhyming with "Hire Benny" or "Spire Lair Floozy". I speak not, friends, to steal away your opinions; I am no skilled orator or statistician as some supporters are. But, as you hopefully have gained an inkling to over these last few articles, you know me as a plain, blunt, somewhat positive individual that supports his chosen teams. I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, action, nor utterance, nor the power of Opta chalkboards to make my point. I can only make semi-witty satirical remarks that more or less poke fun at what's happening and generate a laugh or two, if I'm lucky. But were I a supporter - a loyal man or woman - and were a supporter me, I would no doubt have the tongue and the words to encourage you, your co-workers and that one really annoying Liverpool fan in your office (there's always one) to calm the [expletive] down. The season may be dead and buried, but the team sure isn't.
Here was a promising team! When comes such another?
(With apologies to William Shakespeare.)
Now let it work.—Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt!—
-Mark Antony, "Julius Caesar", Act III, Scene ii
Rituro is a freelance nerd, sports fan and avid gamer. Feel free to throw a tweet his way and follow @ThatRituroGuy.