From the Pigeon Loft: come ON!

From the Pigeon Loft: come ON!

With the Whitecaps skidding through the summer again and falling well short of our expectations, the supporter base has been thrown into a tizzy about what to do. Options currently range from being so positive that you attack other supporters who are publicly expressing doubts in the team, all the way through to giving up season tickets and choosing to join the Umbrella Ultras, and spend the winter singing Vancouver United to First Division dominance in the Vancouver Men’s Soccer League. It’s a question of somehow striking the right balance.

I have to admit that I’ve been waffling extensively somewhere between the poles. I’ve called out #shitlarks before, but, while I am considering starting a one-man Bowen Island FC supporters club for our Third Division VMSL side, I’ve already chosen to renew my season’s tickets for next season, as have many of the rest of the jaded yet stalwart Pigeon Casuals haunting the upper reaches of 253.

I think we have decided that the best way to fight complacency is by being whatever the opposite of complacent is. Try to find hooks of engagement, while not being too invested in performances that are almost bound to let us down and always willing to be surprised.

There can be nothing more frustrating than watching people who are good at what they do simply go through the motions. The root of the frustration many supporters are feeling with the team right now stems from watching eleven guys lump a ball around as if they don’t care much about each other, as if all of the ideas and creativity they have brought to their lives suddenly amount for nothing.

I assume that having devoted your entire life to playing football, once you step onto a stage as big as MLS you can’t wait to do all the things you’ve dreamed of doing. This is your chance, to play with players who are finally as good or better than you are. To play in front of more than 20,000 people who want to do nothing more than cheer and sing for you. And even if you are on a crap team, you can at least bring us to our feet with a beautiful pass, a stunning goal, a crunching tackle, a brilliant save.

I cannot imagine any player making it to MLS and saying “finally I get to lump a hopeful ball 40 yards up the pitch to a player who is double teamed. I’ve dreamed of this moment for all my life.”

It does feel of late that we are watching some players who don’t look like they are living out their dreams. In fact after the San Jose loss, my daughter pronounced her verdict on the match with “they play like they all hate each other.” Complacency can come to all of us when we do the same thing over and over, but when it sets in – whether among players or supporters – it takes its toll, poisoned by a cynicism that draws down the character of a team.

Who fires this team up? Ousted. Who else? Who turns to the supporters and gets us involved? Even when the ‘Caps were dire in 2011, Jay DeMerit, Mouloud Akloul, and Eric Hassli all got us on our feet and they backed up their energy with good play.

On Friday night, after treating us to a miserable ninety minutes, some important team meeting was held on the pitch and only David Ousted came to greet us. I have to admit that when you’ve paid good money, sung and cheered your boys on and stayed to the end to watch Nico nick a lovely header, it’s nice when a player comes over to thank you. Ousted does that constantly, Harvey too. The others applauded a bit from the centre circle and trotted off. Fraser Aird apologized later on twitter, which was unnecessary, as he was one of the guys actually worth watching.

There is still something to love about this team and to hold your attention if you are a supporter. We aren’t yet completely out of the playoffs, and there is still the CCL and the Cascadia Cup to play for. The latter is very important to the supporters groups that created it, and having won it more than Portland or Seattle, it would be nice to get a sixth. And while many of us are losing faith in some of the core guys that have seen us through the past could of years, there is Davies, Nico, Parker, Bolaños, and maybe Edgar and Barnes to cheer for as they come on with the team.

But that’s all it has come down to, and even bright curiosity can be easily dulled with torrid football. In the Southside I think we are just looking for someone to take the bull by the horns. If we are serious about redeeming this season we’re all looking for a player who does the work of changing their own mind. We’ll get behind that guy. We want to see him in front of the supporters sections exhorting us to follow his example, we want to see his desire backed up with a spirited on-field performance.

Now is not the time for mercurial dispositions, or head scratching bewilderment. Now is the time for a goal struck with confidence, a crunching tackle, a game changing performance that we can all be proud of. Now is the time to decide to show a bit of heart and commitment. We are not here to fritter away ninety minutes for guys that play like they hate each other. If you can’t play for each other, at least play for us. We’ll be here for you.

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. tomosakata at 09:16

    – Yes I’ve been thinking that Caps don’t help each other from Rivero days. Passes are always “here, ‘do something with this” kind of long direct ball. By the time the receiver traps the ball to be playable, marking DF is right next to him. When Bolanos dribbles in full speed nobody syncs to give him playing options etc etc.

    – But in SJ match on Fri, at least in the 1st half, Morales was looking like playing to help others, trying to get close to FW by dribbling, making more productive lower short passes, which I thought was pleasantly uncharacteristic of him. I thought Caps could catch up in the 1st half. The team got worse and worse as time went by psychologically though.

    – If Morales and the entire team can play to help each other like that, Caps have enough talent for sure to go on. It doesn’t require player ability change, so they can do so right away and all way the rest of the season. Hope it’ll happen!

  2. Anonymous at 23:26

    The team never Thanks us ever since the cascadia scarf debacle

  3. Chris Corrigan at 01:14

    Well given that we resolved that situation before the march started and got some money to Vancouver Street Soccer, I can’t imagine what the players would possibly have against us. That’s some grudge to hold with zero information on why.

  4. Rhm at 06:39

    Let’s face it the cheap-shit “player development” bullshit from the owners duped alot of us “I’d much rather win a cup made up of young hungry players developed in our system” really means “let’s spend as little as possible on players, managers, ironically even development but spin this angle to our loyal but naive fans”

    We are seeing the fruits of this approach now.. It’s 2012 all over again.

  5. Anonymous at 01:31

    The Cascadia scarf debacle, if you want to call it that, has zero to do with why most of players don’t visit the Southside post match. I’d have to tell you many things that you frankly don’t want to hear or could probably fully accept as legitimate reasons why.

    Do you have any proof or information that would lead you to state that Whitecaps supporters are giving up their season tickets to join the Umbrella Ultras? Everyone I know that has not renewed for next year all have legitimate reasons, none of which have to do with the Umbrella Ultras and supporting Vancouver United.

  6. Chris Corrigan at 07:48

    The Umbrella Ultras are an amazing initiative to awake a love of football support free from all the crap that goes alon with supporting the Caps. There are certainly folks among us who have chosen to spend their time and money supporting grassroots local football rather than the Whitecaps and I think it’s awesome. While I’m still keeping my STs, I am serious about supporting our Bowen side. With the UU are doing is inspiring.

    Many people tell me they know why things are a certain way and who does what for what reasons and yet I never get told exactly what those reasons are. You are welcome to continue imagining what it is I want to hear and don’t want to hear but you don’t have to spare my feelings.

  7. Adrian Matangi at 11:10

    I don’t think UU is an important topic in the context of this article, which is related to Whitecaps supporter concerns, and I don’t think Chris intended it to be.

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