Left Coast By Design

Tag: Football

Allegiance For Sale

One of the benefits of growing up in Vancouver is that our winters are far more temperate than the rest of the country and unlike the rest of my Canadian brethren, hockey was a choice and not a necessity. That’s right – as a kid I had options.

It always seems to surprise people when I tell them I played soccer during the winter. Whether it was their belief that I was running around on the tundra kicking a frozen rock or dodging snowballs tossed from the sidelines, it seemed unfathomable that there was any green grass to be seen come winter.

But no – soccer was my choice of sport and my favourite one to play.

I grew up idolizing the Lenarduzzi brothers, drinking Super Socco, and one day playing for Canada in the FIFA World Cup. Boy were the eighties a wonderful decade!

I discovered as I got older that dreaming of playing nationally for the Canadian side was easier than actually committing to do so and soon decided I would instead become an ardent supporter. And having seen the squad qualify for the 1986 FIFA World Cup, this made so much sense.

Obviously the future was bright for soccer in Canada!

Facepainted Brazillian Supporter

Courtesy of Damien Thorne

Well here we are approaching kickoff for the FIFA 2014 World Cup and there is no Canada to cheer on (in fact, we actually haven’t seen the mens side qualify since their appearance in 1986)!

And while I still bleed maple syrup, use the word “eh” with reckless abandon, and wear the maple leaf proud, I’m a fan without a side to support.

So who do I cheer for?

If I wanted to remain loyal to CONCACAF I can choose from Honduras, Mexico, Costa Rica or the United States. Friends have told me to go to my roots which provides either the English, German, Russian squads as choices. My cousin down under tells me I should support Australia. And if I just wanted to support the underdog, Cameroon seems like a solid choice.

So… who do I cheer for?

This is where you come in. I’m curious who you’re cheering for and why? Or if you’re not, why not? Is soccer (or football) not your sport? That’s cool too! Regardless, I’ll go with the popular choice from comments, Twitter and Facebook before kickoff on June 12!

It feels better this way. In fact, you could say it’s “All In One Rhythym!”

Update: #GoSocceroos! My cousin wins this one.

BC Lions Training Camp Prowl

Having had close to a month to cry myself to sleep on a regular basis since the Canucks early post-season exit, I’m now getting over the significant “let down” knowing that the BC Lions training camp officially opened today.

BC Lions Football Game

Here be Lions – courtesy of C. Barabanov

It was a series of miscues and missed opportunities that cost the Lions a win against the Stamps back in November of 2008, a loss that seemed synonymous with their up and down season (remember that game against the Als where the Lions had 3 pops on the 1yd line and couldn’t punch it through – yeah.. exactly). So it wasn’t much of a shock to see Wally gut the team. It was just some of the changes were definitely out of left field.

Cam Wake leaving for the NFL was sure thing. Stefan Logan following suit, not so much. Charles Roberts, Otis Floyd, and Tyrone Williams being shown the door was foretold, but the loss of Jason Clermont and Bret Anderson were definitely surprising. Although losing Rob Murphy wasn’t something really considered, it was always possible with his contract concluding at the end of the season. And with Kelly Bates being traded to the Bombers, the Lions’ scouting staff was left with a fair amount of work this post-season. True the team has picked up Anton McKenzie and has big boy Justin Sorensen under wraps, but this will be one of the first seasons where I have doubts since Wally took over the show.

Heck, even Wally has doubts:

I’ll say it publicly, we’re no longer on top of the mountain, we’ve been knocked off there last year. Other teams, and I will say it in a nice way, got to our level. No longer are we maybe a better football club than the other teams. B.C., Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan, in this division, are pretty much all on an equal footing. That in it’s own way is good. It’s going to make you want to re-establish yourself and you won’t take things for granted.

Okay, maybe those are not strong doubts but it sheds light on his belief that the team is in tough. The new BC Lions won’t have that same swagger as before. They likely won’t play an arrogant game where the not only believe they are the best, but carry press clippings on the field to ensure they can back up any trash talk going on along the line of scrimmage. But that’s not a bad thing in my opinion. I think the Lions need to get back to basics. They need to get back to their roots where the play sound defense and challenge the other team on the offense by stretching the field of play.

So here I sit, wiping clear my eyes and waiting for the BC Lions training camp to weed out the meek from the wild. And here I sit hoping for greatness come November, and dream of another Grey Cup victory where the Lions can break the cup in two.

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