There’s a lot to praise in the way that the general Vancouver public have gotten behind the Whitecaps in these last two years.
Turning up on time for kick off isn’t one of them.
As last Saturday’s important game against San Jose kicked off at BC Place, the stadium looked deserted.
Had people stopped caring? Was the afternoon kick off time putting people off? Was the nice sunny day keeping people outside and not under the unopened roof? Was the lure of one more beer in the pub too much for some to tear themselves away?
It was a little worrying, and not just to me. Some Whitecaps staff were wondering just what was going on and wondering what the attendance was going to end up like.
As it turned out, the stadium filled up to 19,271 and ended up looking pretty full. Only fitting since the Caps turned in one of their best performances of the season.
They deserved the fans to be there to see it. From the first kick to Eric Hassli’s dramatic last second winner. Shame they weren’t.
So where were these thousands of people that ended up turning up after the game kicked off?
Well it would appear that they fell victim to that very Vancouver disease of tardiness.
What is it with the sports fans in this city that makes them not only turn up late for games, but then miss large chunks of it as they line up for overpriced beer and food?
It’s not just the Whitecaps that are affected by this plague. I’ve seen it so many times at BC Lions and Canucks games.
Why pay money for your ticket to then not watch the whole game?
Is it really that hard to turn up on time for the game kicking off?
I understand that occasionally something will happen that will see you running late. It happens to all of us, myself included. It could be traffic, public transport, your kids, your dog. You can’t always help it.
I get that.
What I don’t get is the fact this isn’t simply a one off, it’s a regular occurrence and usually with the same people.
It’s disrespectful to the players for one thing, looks bad on TV and has to make me question their actual commitment to the cause.
The trait also seems to affect the fans in Toronto, so maybe it’s a Canadian thing and not just a Vancouverite one and it’s certainly not a west coast disease.
It is embarrassing.
When you watch the fans in Seattle and Portland, they’re packed into their stadium well before kick off.
Plenty of time for them to enjoy the teams coming out, the anthems, the tifo displays. It’s hard to have decent tifo in the stadium when there’s so much empty space at kick off.
The Timbers Army, who have a general admission section, line up well before the gates even open to make sure that they’re in the stadium to build up a menacing matchday atmosphere.
Too many people here don’t seem to care about that. That one last beer or the need for a hotdog seems to override turning BC Place into a fortress from before a ball is even kicked.
There’s two big games coming up at the stadium in the next week or so.
Two of our biggest rivals come a calling in Toronto and Seattle.
If you’re reading this and are one of these regular latecomer, then do everyone connected with the Whitecaps a huge ‘favour’.
Show your respect, show your enthusiasm, and show your commitment to the team and drag your ass to game in time.
That’s why you’re there after all.
About the author:
Michael McColl began writing about football in 1989 and has freelanced for various newspapers, magazines and websites in the UK. He moved to Vancouver in 2007 where he currently pens the “Away From the Numbers” blogs on Canadian Soccer News. He is also a member of the North American Soccer Reporters association.
A proud member of the Vancouver Southsiders supporters club, his views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Southsiders organization.