While the Eighty Six Forever staff remains hopeful and positive that an agreement will be reached in the next few hours between the MLS owners and the MLS Players Union, we need to also brace and prepare ourselves for the very (seemingly at this point) real possibility that the Whitecaps FC MLS season will not start this Saturday March 7th against Toronto as scheduled. This would mean that the 130 days wait (yes, I counted) between the Dallas game to close out 2014 and the 2015 season opener will continue to grow.
However, do not despair, dear Eighty Six Forever reader, as we have a great list of alternatives for you to employ your free time while this gets sorted out and we can happily reconvene at BC Place (or your nearest screen if you can't make it to the game.
Lead Your Own Whitecaps To Glory: It is no secret that here at Eighty Six Forever we are arduous FIFA and Football Manager fans. Well, do you think you can do better than Robbo? Can you lead your virtual Whitecaps to MLS Cup glory? Would you trade Darren Mattocks? Pick Mezquida over Manneh in the left wing? Go for it!
Listen to the From The Backline podcast: Yes, there will be no MLS football to talk about, but that has never stopped us before, has it? The podcast will continue to be produced weekly for your listening pleasure. Better yet, listen to the whole catalogue again and relive the Whitecaps ups and downs from the past year and a half. If we feel that we are running out of content, we can always rely on Mark's uncanny Canadian Prime Ministers impersonations to keep you entertained. He can do a mean John A. McDonald.
Watch other leagues around the world: The Whitecaps will be entering the CONCACAF Champions League later in the summer so this is the perfect opportunity for you to start scouting possible adversaries of the Blue and White. Take LigaMX, for example, if the Whitecaps draw reigning Mexican Champion Club America, you can impress your soccer hipster friends with a comment like "The Whitecaps back line needs to place close attention to Argentinian's forward Dario Benedetto, who despite not grabbing the biggest headlines when he was signed in the offseason from Tijuana (as opposed to Darwin Quintero who hasn't really done much), he is certainly making a big impact due to the number of goals he has scored so far". People will look at you in awe due to your international football wisdom and revere you henceforth. Don't know where to watch these games? Try here.
Enjoy the outdoors: The weather is turning and spring is almost here so this is a great time to enjoy the magnificence of the Canadian outdoors. I am told it is actually quite nice. You can get together with others and play some soccer pickup games at a local park, go for a hike, a bike ride or something like that. Or you can emulate this writer's plan and watch the entire catalogue of Netflix... I mean...go outside.
Sit in the dark and weep: Definitely the least desirable of all options proposed here but still a valid one. If that is what your heart is asking you to do, you are among friends and we will not judge you. Some of us are in the same boat.
So there you have it, some ideas for you to keep yourself entertained during the (possible) MLS work stoppage.
Do you have other ideas? Share them in the comments section!