Across This Land

I've checked – there isn't a football team associated with Rorke's Drift, 24th Regiment of Foot or Zulu.

The battle of Rorke's Drift commenced on January 26th, 1879 and concluded the following day, 156 British troops successfully defending the mission station against an estimated 4,000 Zulu warriors during the Anglo-Zulu war in South Africa. Ten hours of intense fighting garnered eleven Victoria Crosses and four Distinguished Conduct Medals for gallantry.

I became aware of this skirmish courtesy of it still holds up 1964 Brit flic Zulu, that lifted the career of then cinematically unknown Maurice Mickelwhite Jr – Michael Caine, entering the company of Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole, downing drinks and chasing birds in the swinging Sixties.

As the teams in the CPL are rolled out, it's evident that the league has strongly embraced the military- Valour FC, Calvary FC, HFX Wanderers' logo in the shape of the Halifax Citadel, a military fortification constructed to protect the harbour.

Suspicion falls on The Footy Soldiers' Peter Schaad.

I was slightly surprised how he immediately embraced the prospect of the CPL on his podcast, surmising that being the voice of the Whitecaps funds his duty - free libations. Jon Rodgers playfully asked him if he wished to follow the precedent of Dale Barnes, leaving TSN to be the majordomo of a Canadian soccer league? An enthusiastic "You bet! " - short odds that if he was offered the opportunity to run the show in Victoria, a U-Haul van of his possessions would be boarding the Tsawwassen ferry.

He'd be able to give it a good go. A smooth transition to regularly keeping in touch with every radio station on the Island, happily working the press, a suspected work ethic and pride that verges on the compulsive.

Game day hitting the alarm, lining the field at 8 am, checking to see if the dressing rooms are pristine, concerned about walk - up sales, a lengthy internal dialogue on the minimum expenditure necessary to provide a decent scoff in the press box, available for a quick word with the media, midnight finding him pushing out a summation on the team's website.

Self-professed harshest critic, occasional fiery outbursts suggesting a light layer of epidermis, smarts merged with years of being the cheerful supplicant if perceived to be beneficial, the valued currency of getting deeper into the inner workings of Canadian soccer. Early revelations suggest that the Victoria owners will be hands on, keeping a close eye on their investment. His skill set could compliment a need in the front office, a strong possibility of being a shrewd hire.

His toughest challenge could be staying sthum with the gaffer in regards to the starting X1.

Mr.Schaad made of us aware that he has been affiliated with the CPL, declaring on May 10th on his twitter account: "The most important project I’ve ever been involved with is about to be unveiled in weekly snippets. I’m extremely proud of the work, the team and the end results. " # Can Pl # identity project.

A slight redress to the sombre prospect of bidding adieu to a pallet stacked with $100 bills would be an owner's enjoyment in the process of determining their team's crest and presentation to the public. While a few potential owners would pass muster with the briefest of inspections, able to control their messaging, there's a perception that collectively the owners were strongly influenced by the league's identity project.

A revealing insight to the league's chain of command can be found in the video Club Story :HFX Wanderers FC that starts with " To launch the CPL we set out on a journey from coast - to - coast to search out the identity of soccer in Canada." It was "exhausting ... exhilarating "stated CPL Brand Identity Team Storyteller Peter Schaad (I'm sure he 's been subjected to a few descriptions, but none as humourous as that.)

Sensitivity was shown – the exploratory team were impressed by the large focus group held at a brewery , the locals strongly expressing a desire to have the harbour and grounds incorporated into the team's crest and name. Schaad concluding with " when people speak, you have to listen" - and thus B.I.T. apparently graced them with an official benediction.

In a league that frequently states that the owners will have more autonomy that their counterparts in the MLS, was it necessary that owner Derek Martin had to gain the approval for a concept, name that had been bandied about for months?

Already echoing "out of the shadows", it's double time to the assumption that Mr. Schaad was in command of the following meaty passage of the league's manifesto: "Players that bleed the same red as you. Sworn to defend your home turf. Playing for your loyalty. Playing for respect. Bonds will be forged. Colours flown. History will be written. Rivalries born." I sense for Mr. Schaad it's not just a case of being hard -nosed....

The league has not publicized the composition of the team ( though Schaad did congratulate Jon Rodgers on the Calvary FC design), and the scope and weight they wield is unclear. On May 25th , Schaad tweeted - "Being part of the CanPL identity project has been like conceiving and raising a bunch of children in a very short period of time. You love them all for their unique personalities. Now they're out in the world, you hope they all succeed." There may be supporters of the league who wished he had occasionally worn protection.

If he's still involved in the direction of the league's branding, it's time for the brass to consider that he be removed from active service.

When I was of recruitable age, a career in the military had little appeal, primarily because a) didn't fancy visiting Delilah to have my long locks shorn b) didn't relish the prospect of being killed c) didn't relish the prospect of killing someone d) the strong possibility of a barracks sweep discovering my stash, having to hoist a 40 lb pack on my back, joining Sean Connery to trudge up The Hill.

I have friends who served, touched by the apparent unlikelihood of " lest we forget", aware that recent generations are unlikely to be afforded the opportunity to be moved by a faded photograph of a long deceased ancestor. The narrative that we came of age at Vimy Ridge, admiration for Lieutenant - Colonel John McCrae's wondrous weave of words, In Flanders Fields, the strength and courage of our participation in WW2, Korea and peacekeeping.

Celebrated for our "highway of heroes," beginning a dangerous mission in Mali, the politically pervasive, endless discussion on the treasure we're willing to spend on the treatment of veterans. The constant background chatter about aging equipment – pleased that our combat troops in Hyena Road weren't ragtag, wouldn't have been surprised if a subplot was intelligence officer Pete Mitchell (Paul Gross) pinching gear from the Yanks.

An acknowledgment of the over four thousand Indigenous Canadians who served in WW1, returning home to be denied marking a ballot, enter a bar, the possibility of their children being dispatched to a residential school ( if you're susceptible to the cinematic manipulation of being gut -wrenched at yet another example of mankind's seemingly inexhaustible ability to be cruel, only to have your heart clutched, head lifts, tear ducts moisten in those last few seconds before fade to black, credits roll, a viewing of Australia's Rabbit- Proof Fence could tweak your chi.)

Having to face the shame of the military's persecution of gays and lesbians, deemed "the purge " that started in the 1950's and lasted till 1992. The grim visual of a teenager's death by Canadian peacekeepers in Somalia, the verbal harassment of a female speaker at the Royal Military College that suggests institutional attitude than an anomaly. An acceleration of aging, a disappointment in the descent to weariness, wariness of large organizations that are top heavy in masculinity.

The CPL should stand shoulder to shoulder with those that serve, happy to see a league policy that has each team feature a match every season that offers deeply discounted tickets for military families, a salute at half-time.

Canada's plywood denting troubadour sang tales from across this country, simple, humourous, at times touching. The blessings of this large nation is so varied, so joyful, the hurt inflicted on many so deeply felt, that the solemnity of military service shouldn't be the dominant thread running through this new enterprise.

I grew up in the outskirts of an auto town, shift change Metropolis, a core driven to quickly put distance from their confinement, slake a deep thirst at one of the conveniently located bars near the auto plant.

Moving to Squamish in the early Seventies, entertained by the spectacle of a crummy coming to a halt on Cleveland Ave on a late Friday afternoon, loggers stepping out – gray Stanfield's, skookum suspenders holding up the red straps, caulks crunching on the sidewalk, entering the pub at the Chieftain Hotel. Occasionally a gal with gumption would drift in a few hours later to retrieve her husband for dinner, the departing subjected to a few beery barbs, the start of the dispersal homeward.

Joe Hill didn't have to appear in your dreams last night to be aware of the IWA's prolonged struggle to bring safety and decent wages to those who worked in the bush, thousands seriously injured , the faded reflection for the many who died, the passionate providing literacy programs in a tent, the vitality of true solidarity.

A team crest that speaks to BC's past, a homage with a 1930's feel - a faller riding the sway of topping a standing fir, the sun glistening off the waters of an inlet in the background.

Logging lore speaks of returning to town, finding a room on Hastings St., putting in a serious shift at a few watering holes, heading back to camp to dry out. A wallet perhaps lighter from visits to knocking shops, in the arms of an angel of the night, drifting down to the Penthouse Cabaret. Is it disingenuous to present the ideal?

Deep breaths for the franchise in Victoria, having to be patient in the exposure of their name, art work, reportedly given the green light for a July 20th reveal (have they been pulled in the direction of the league's Brand Identity Team?) The owners have spoken of their desire to incorporate the Island into the heart of the team. One suggestion – a creative unity by promoting the first season with a new t- shirt every month.

Strategic in featuring various locations on the Island, having to immediately face the daunting task in being restricted to celebrating only twelve visions. There 's the obvious iconic locations, but they should be bold not only in the choice of artists, places, but in the activities portrayed. A fishing boat approaching Zeballos, oyster farming in Baynes Sound, invoking a coast salish knitting tribute, a greenchain under the lights at night. Five treeplanters surging up the hill, treeline in sight, wonderful if the artist could suggest the warmth of the sun, a light breeze, close to the earth, that transitory gift of being young and fit, blessed with camaraderie.

The contributions of Bruce Wilson, Ian Bridge, George Pakos, Buzz Parsons and Bob Bolitho to Canadian football should justify contemplating a nod to the Victoria Vistas.

An engaging calligraphy that gives a brief description at the top, discreetly placed team and league crests, establishing outlets for the relevant t-shirts to be distributed . A shop in downtown Victoria to catch the tourist trade, an initial outlay that truly embraces the Island, a walking recognition across their jurisdiction.

If storage space becomes a concern, VP of Soccer Operations, Marketing & Communication Co-ordinator, Chief Liaison Officer with the Fine Dining Association of Victoria, Keepers Union, Subbuteo Society of BC, Villains and CPL, Peter Schaad could procure a t-shirt cannon, and at half – time......

Should Josh Simpson, Rob Friend and Dean Shillington find themselves comfortable in their rocking chair days, a deviation from the mundane in the potential grin of re-calling the creative flare, the financial samba, in their inaugural season .

When a team comes to the Lower Mainland and there's a desire for originality, a touchstone from the past, they could begin the search for inspiration by flipping through the pages of Fred Herzog's Modern Color.

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