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Beyond the Lens - Supporting Your Team

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Where’s the Line?

MLS: Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

DISCLAIMER: I was a Southsider, but decided not to renew for 2017 a long time ago. I do have a number of friends who are still active Southsiders and members of Curva and RCB.

We’d all like to think that we support our team through thick and thin. Whether that’s actually true or not is a completely different story. Life throws many obstacles at us, of varying shapes and sizes. Life threw a whopper at everyone. Our friends south of the border, elected Donald J Trump as President. We all knew that it was a possibility, however, most of us wanted to believe that it wouldn’t. Now that it has, he’s signed a number of executive orders of varying reach and impact. One in particular has hit the sporting world with some ferocity. His ban on immigrants from 7 predominantly Muslim countries (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) has raised the ire of a great many, including the Vancouver Southsiders, the Whitecaps largest and oldest Supporters Group.

The Southsiders have been around since 1999, priding themselves on acceptance, inclusivity and respect. A couple nights ago, the newly elected Board of Directors met, after getting input from the membership, discussed the Trump Executive Order and it’s far reaching impact, both direct and indirect on it’s membership.

They decided that they will not be chartering down on buses, to avoid potentially leaving someone behind at the border. They will, however, continue to provide away tickets for those still willing, and able to travel to the US. Their only request, is that travelling members leave their Southsider scarf at home, “we ask that you leave your Southsiders scarf at home as a sign of respect for members who cannot cross the border with the same ease and personal freedom as you do.”

I do understand the intent behind the memo, however, I think it was poorly phrased, opening themselves up for potential criticisms.

For those who don’t know, I am planning up to 7 away trips. Two trips to Portland and 1 to Seattle to see my beloved Caps play away from home. The other 4 consist of a pre-season trip to Portland for the pre-season tournament and the Sounders match in June. The remaining two are to Seattle to see Portland travel up.

Why so many? I decided a couple years ago that seeing every Cascadia match in a calendar year was a bucket list item. I wanted to do it last year, but I couldn’t make it work with the gametimes in Seattle and Portland. As for the pre-season trip, the obvious question? Why travel to see pre-season? A lot of it has to do with the friendships I’ve made down in Portland, something I discussed in a piece last season, and it opened my eyes as to how much more these away trips could be.

Should I be worried about travelling to a country where Trump is enacting a lot of things that seem to be far reaching and divisive? I’ll be honest, I’m more concerned about my friends who have to deal with this day in and day out.

Getting back to the topic, where do people draw their own line? I can only speak for myself, and I do not DJT’s actions as a deterrent to supporting my team. Obviously, others will feel differently and I don’t expect everyone to see, and or agree with my stance, but this is a free country and I will continue to do what appeases me.