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On Hounds and Humility

There are two important things I've learned in life: First, no boy should grow up without a dog. And second, that if you have to step away from something, be sure to do it on your own terms.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

I've had the privilege of writing on these pages for a little over two years now - 172 articles, and about 1,500 comments. It's kinda fitting that my starting with 86 Forever came about more or less by accident - much as my leaving the fold has.

It started out as therapy really. My dad was terminally ill at the time, and I needed an escape - the Fanpost section offered the perfect place where I could take the anger, frustration and helplessness as I watched dad whither away and convert it into something I could channel in a more positive direction.

I'll always be thankful to 86 Forever editor emeritus Ben Massey for his lack of good judgment in asking me aboard in the first place. And through the seasons I've also had the good fortune to meet a couple of the regulars here at the bar - all good people who share a passion for the Whitecaps, and soccer in general.

From the heavily carbonized black-roasted Sumatran of the Sunday Morning Scribe through to North Shore bear reports, and tributes to fallen comrades - even the occasional open letter, it's been an experience I wouldn't trade for all the allocation money stuffed into Bruce Arena's mattress.

Our all. Our honour. The Whitecaps' rallying cry. How fantastic it must be to know that the man standing beside you in battle has got your back. There's not enough of that going round these days.

These are exciting times for 86 Forever. We've seen the writing staff expand, and we've diversified - witness the excellent From The Back Line podcast, and we've steadily built up a pretty decent Twitter following, all under the capable hands of Jon and Mark (and co-host Jorge too).

It's been an interesting ride on the 86 Forever express, but I'm afraid this is my stop. Oh, and to Cliff and Norm: Be good to each other - in the end, I think you're both on the same team.