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This Just In: Week 32 Edition

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.

Aston Villa's Nigel Reo-Coker tries desperately to save Blackpool's Jason Puncheon from a spot of lava.
Aston Villa's Nigel Reo-Coker tries desperately to save Blackpool's Jason Puncheon from a spot of lava.
Chris Brunskill

Reo-Coker's Football Primer For Incompetent First Teams

Hello, children! Nigel Reo-Coker of your Vancouver Whitecaps here. How are we today? Comfortable? Embarrassed? Have we been defeated 0-1 at home by a reserve team? You have? Good! Well, actually, no, not "good", per se... maybe not so much that. See, that's what we in the footballing world call "bad". There is nothing worse than being taught how to play the game of football by a bunch of benchwarmers and college dropouts, yet it happened. I can honestly say I learned a lot on that fateful evening - which you may think was odd considering how long I've been playing the game and where said playing occurred, but no matter - and I'm here to share some of my hard-earned lessons with you, children, so that you may never, ever have to suffer like we did. Well, I say "did", though I mean "are". I mean, it's rough out there, children. We can't even show our faces outside without being heckled and booed over that result! At least, I assume that's what will happen, eventually. For some reason, everyone in Vancouver is wearing blue-and-green kit and complaining about some "longer" fellow rather than talking about the Whitecaps. Don't know what he's longer than, but no matter. It's keeping everyone from booing and heckling us, so, fair bit of peace for us and I'll enjoy it before I'm no doubt run off the streets. Any day now. Football-mad fans, up in arms, as far as the eye can see, chanting my name... sorry, where was I? Right - football primer! Here we go:

  1. Don't go one-on-four every time you get the ball. I realize we have one slippery wee rascal on our team who can make it look fun and, once in a blue moon, successful. Resist the temptation, children, because...
  2. You have ten teammates on the pitch. Counted them myself, I did. Turns out you can pass the ball to any number of them, any number of times, as much as you like! No need to try and run the ball into the back of the goal all by yourself, or pound a shot from distance and hope a breeze and/or a seagull knocks it in. Once again: it's called a "pass". Enlightening stuff, I know.
  3. The midfield is not lava. See, when I was a lad, we used to play this game at school where the ground in the schoolyard was "lava", right? And if you touched it, you were "dead" and everyone else got to come over and kick you in the throat until you paid them to stop. Harsh lesson, but a fair one: stay away from lava. Well, on my first day in Vancouver, Martin Rennie pulled me aside and said in a low whisper that the midfield was lava. Now, you may have noticed, that's my position on the field. Quite the poser, eh? How do you play midfield if the midfield is lava? Ever since then, I've been hugging the wings and running like a demon to stay away from the midfield so Jordan Harvey won't kick me in the throat at halftime. Imagine my relief when I found out yesterday that the midfield isn't lava! No throat-kickings for ol' Reo-C, eh, kiddies? Brilliant.
  4. Passes come in all shapes, sizes and directions. This one knocked me 'round the bend, children. Turns out you don't have to lump the ball from the defenders to the strikers to start an attack, nor do you have to trace a horseshoe around the pitch to hold possession. Now that we know the midfield isn't lava and you can pass any way you like: short, really short, kinda-short, medium, long-ish, on the ground, half in the air, sideways, spinning, looping... it's like Christmas, children! Lava-free Christmas!
  5. Hockey is stupid. I seriously do not understand you Canadians. Hockey is a stupid game played by daft cold idiots with no appreciation for a truly beautiful game. Why do they get all the rioting fans? Football practically invented supporter violence! Stop stealing our proud traditions, you stick-and-rink punks! And why are the hockey teams taking all of our fans before the season is even over?! Look, I've had it. I'm going to absolutely tank it the rest of the season and if I'm not told off by a drunk yobbo the following Sunday, I will tell David Ousted his ugly haircut is lava and drop-kick him in the throat. So help me, I'll do it.

Shambling Corpse of John Thorrington Wins U.S. Open Cup

Readers of TJI may recall when the vengeful spirit of John Thorrington - likely the culprit behind this season's injury bug and the reason why the vending machines near Section 246 randomly spit out Gatorade at the custodial staff - was signed to wreak havoc on the LA Galaxy. At the time, it was clarified that since Thorrington's earthly remains were still signed to decompose artfully play for D.C. United, there were no legal complications with the deal. However, it turns out there was one downside: Vancouver signed the wrong half.

Against all odds, D.C. United managed to stun Real Salt Lake 1-0 in the finals of the U.S. Open Cup thanks to Thorrington's efforts in the final third:

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is John Thorrington making a nifty stutter-step to undress Tony Beltran then firing in a cross that fortuitously bounces off Carlos Salcedo before Lewis Neal strikes the ball home. Thorrington's body may not have any vital signs left but he just played a vital role in securing his team an important piece of silverware to close out the season.

Meanwhile, Andy O'Brien and Johnny Leverón are still out injured, Daigo Kobayashi has his hand in a Thorrington-esque cast, Kenny Miller is questionable for a Cascadia Cup match against Portland, Brad Knighton was last seen crawling up the locker room walls and speaking in tongues, Greg Klazura is vomiting blood and nobody can stop Carl Valentine from screaming at the sight of the colour yellow.

Yup. Great signing there, Rennie.

Reminder: The Playoff Dream is Nearly Extinct

As the slow, inexorable march to playoff elimination continues, it's time to come to terms with this season's impending mortality. As a public service to you, the fragile reader, we are once again showcasing another nearly-extinct creature in hopes that a shred of empathy might distract you from your looming pall of disappointment. Last week, we featured the addax. This week, our guest of (dis)honour is the Kaiser's spotted newt:

An Iranian salamander, the Kaiser's spotted newt requires water in the forms of ponds or pools to make a healthy habitat. As such, habitat loss has left it critically endangered due to its tiny range - unlike the Vancouver Whitecaps' season, which has apparently has such dismal range because some players believe the midfield is lava.


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