It feels odd to label any game for a team in the Vancouver Whitecaps’ position a “must win,” but this is as close as the Whitecaps are likely to come before the playoffs. Things are good in Rain City, with the club sitting pretty atop the Western Conference, but the Caps face an absolutely brutal run-in, with away matches against the three clubs immediately below them and only one home date after tonight.
In mid-July, the Whitecaps hosted some jokers from a place called London, England — seriously, what kind of name for a football squad is Crystal Palace? Anyway, they tied the friendly 2-2, in a game that wasn’t particularly exciting sport but gave locals a chance to see some Premier League footballers up close and personal.
Here’s a gallery of my best pics from the match. Enjoy.
As we count down the minutes to the Vancouver Whitecaps first-ever home playoff date — the back end of a home-and-home tie versus the dirty, rotten, stinkin’, bearded Portland Timbers that starts tomorrow — poet in residence Russell Arbuthnot offers up his quill to the soccer gods with the six stanzas below. We at Pucked in the Head wholly endorse the product of Russell’s sleepless enthusiasm, but claim no responsibility for questionable grammar, rhyme scheme or metre therein.
End of Season
by Russell Arbuthnot
With the regular season laid down to rest
And with the playoffs drawing ever near
The Whitecaps found themselves among the league’s best
Reflecting on one helluva year
We waved goodbye to the Cascadia Cup
And welcomed in that of the Voyageurs
Coach Robbo patch-worked his CONCACAF lineups
Delicately navigating fixtures
Displaced in June by a Worldly tournament
Meant the men wearing Whitecaps blue and white
Lived in hotels for what seemed like permanent
But they fared quite well in the six-week fight
A rookie named Parker came out of the blue
And from Waston an MVP season
Ousted and Techera were essential too
Expectations mounting, with good reason
Injuries mounted, the infirmary filled
With bumbles and stumbles down the homestretch
Hope and belief grew increasingly chilled
The faithful grew restless, began to kvetch
The franchise regrouped, dispatched the Dynamo
Earned a bye straight to the semifinals
One more week to patch up Captain Pedro
And a chance to knock off their fiercest rivals
This past Thursday, a friend of mine took me to Century Link Field for the Seattle Seahawks fourth preseason game. This is the preseason game that ‘the 12‘ are excited about. The starters all have their places on the roster locked down (they hope), and on the field are the bench players vying for position. Deep bench. Waaaay deep bench.
Russell Wilson came on the field for one play. He threw a touchdown. Then had a nap.
“Is that another one of them Smith boys?”
“Who the…what the…who the hell is THAT guy?”
“Son, you’ve gotta throw the ball sometime.” (See below.)
“Remember, it’s preseason for the refs too. No way they be making that dumbass call during regular season.”
For the last half of the game, the quarterback was this guy.
They don’t even list him as a backup quarterback. Also explains why he rushed most of the time.. really well, I must admit. So well that the Raiders sent six guys on him at one point and made a giant Daniels sandwich.
Yesterday, my good friend Jason Kurylo demonstrated just how wrong he can be at times: he published a list of the ten sports movies that you really ought to re-watch. The post’s purpose was the same as all posts of that nature: to make people argue with the author. So argue with him I shall. Cool Runnings, Jason? COOL RUNNINGS?? Continue reading 10 Sports Films You Should Watch If You Have Actual Taste
I wanted to be up in North Vancouver this morning, checking out the view from Hollyburn Country Club and shooting media day pictures for the Odlum Brown Vancouver Open Tennis Tournament. Alas, I’m at home nursing a later summer cold and flicking my way through a variety of on demand movie listings.
So here’s my list of Ten sports films you should watch again. I invite your commentary, your judgement and your suggestions. I obviously haven’t given a definitive list here, but let’s be clear: I’ll be damned if anyone makes me sit through Slap Shot ever again. Why so many people like that load of unadulterated shite is just beyond me.
This past Friday I was at the Lions game with the kid. As games go, it wasn’t our best. The defence was kind of sleepy and the offence seemed to be hurling themselves at the Eskimos like lemmings over a cliff. There were moments of brilliance, but sadly more moments of ‘arrrrrgh’. Sure, Arceneaux scored a spectacular TD, but Jennings got hammered with his short yardage attempt. Harris was dependable, but Lulay just wasn’t finding his receivers. So with seven minutes left, Lions down by five, I looked at my 5 11/12-year-old, our 35-minute ride home, and his 7am wake up the next day and thought, “Well… This game is over… Crazy P has sung… It’s time to head”. The kid was sad, because he wanted to see the Lions win. His Lions win. But I made a choice.
Don’t say it. Just. Don’t. Say. It.
We are not going to talk about the Lions game on Friday. Ideally, I’d like to pretend it didn’t happen. We’re not going to mention losing a three-touchdown lead, or the moderately INSANE decision to go for it on 3rd and 4, or the grabbing of facemasks by defencemen who have NO BUSINESS GRABBING FACEMASKS!
We’re also not going to talk about this most recent loss last night. It’s just salt in the wound.
What we WERE going to talk about was the Felions. Specifically…WTF (or What the Felion?)
However, while I was hammering away on my keyboard about the ludicrousness of the Felions and how they are indicative of the outdated assumption that the only people who attend or appreciate football games are horny straight males who couldn’t recognize good dancing if it hit them on the head with an arabesque, I heard the news that the Arizona Cardinals had hired the first ever woman to coach on an NFL team.
This proves one of my points way better than anything I was going to say. (Although, I’m sure I’ll be spouting off on the Felions at a later date… because SERIOUSLY?)
The trend that was started by Becky Hammon as assistant coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs is continuing with Dr. Jen Welter, and I say it’s about bloody time.
This post on Time.com has a lot to say about why getting women into the coaching pool is going to make for better games.
Giving women access to leadership positions expands the talent pool available to organizations. And a wider talent pool improves the quality of candidates a firm can hire.
The history of sports clearly illustrates this point. For example, prior to racial integration in baseball, which began with Jackie Robinson in 1947, the sport had a competitive balance problem. It was not uncommon for a team to win (or lose) more than 65% of their games. This disparity was made possible because the league, which only employed white males from the U.S., could not find enough talent. When it expanded its talent base, the number of talented pitchers and hitters expanded, too. A team has not won more than 65% of its games since 2001.
This rule applies to any organization: The wider your search for talent, the better the talent you are ultimately likely to employ.
Is the male dominated sports world ready for this shift? Yes, I think it is. I see it when I coach my son’s team. Admittedly, I’m coaching six- and seven-year-olds, but misogyny starts early, my friends. Most of these kids have dads. Most of these kids are boys. One of my fellow coaches (another woman), used to play tackle on the very same team we are coaching (GO HYACKS).
I was asked to be a head coach of one of the teams because I know the game. I’m asked for advice by men on the field. I’m given respect by the kids, their fathers and the other coaches. The fact that I’m a woman doesn’t enter into any discussions. What matters is that I know and love football and I want the kids to love it too.
So hooray for the Arizona Cardinals in continuing what I hope will become a trend in professional and high level competitive sports. While it may be a while before we see women on these teams, or an interest in legitimate professional women’s teams that aren’t wearing underwear as uniforms, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be coaching.
Coaching is teaching. It’s instructing. Does the coach need to have a thorough understanding of the game they are coaching? Oh hells yes. Should they have played it at a high level at some point in their lives? Absolutely. Do they need to have corresponding genitals to be able to guide the team to victory? Nope. Balls do not make the calls.
I think I’m going to get that put on a t shirt…
Monday was a good day.
It started like any other. Running around the house like a crazed maniac, saying ‘It’s time to go, it’s time to go, it’s time to go’ about 800 times to get my six-year-old and his friend out the door to soccer camp. Doing volunteer work at the Arts Council of New Westminster, picking up my kid and his friend after soccer camp, watching them go all Lord of the Flies in the forest, running home, eating dinner, running out of the house, once again yelling ‘It’s time to go it’s time to go it’s time to go!’
It’s time to go to football practice.
Today I stood in front of 30+ six- and seven-year-old boys and two girls (YES) and talked to them about football and about bleeding orange (GO HYACKS! GO LIONS!). Today I got to start them on the road of a lifetime of passion for the greatest sport in the world.
Today I got to share this with my son.
The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is set to get underway in a few days’ time. For those new to the game, as they say, you can’t tell the players without a program — so here’s the Team Canada roster, including social media info for your tweeting pleasure.