IENS EFFICIO VOS
December 4th @ China Creek vs Bombastic:
Strikers do what they usually do: Win. Final score was 1-0 but could and should have been way more. The goal came from a Nate cross which led to Bryan Archibald flicking it on for Gavin to bring down and volley into the top corner. However this particular match is just a minor footnote in the amazingly storied history of the Strikers.
Having joined the team over a decade ago, back when we were just an indoor team playing at the now demolished sportstown on Friday evenings, I couldn’t imagine what a huge part of my life these crazy group of individuals would become and go on to accomplish.
After sportstown we entered the Multi-Cultural league. Dave was promptly mocked by the league president and told “You’ll never win anything with a bunch of friends”. This has been Whits internal rallying cry for over a decade. I truly believe that the Striker crest and its famed Latin insignia is a big fuck you to those clowns who ever doubted the drive and ambition Dave possessed. IENS EFFICIO VOS – GONNADOYA
Back then training sessions were at Trimble park, and to be honest I spent most of the time trying to avoid a Dobie junk grab and secretly hoping he’d grab Toby’s junk instead. Over time Dobie thankfully has found more younger and appealing junk to grab. I can’t help but notice that Gavin is quite reminiscent of a younger me. Very rarely I do get a little jealous…
It didn’t take long though for the Strikers to work their way up the Mickey Mouse league and gain promotion to the first division. This is where the Strikers truly started to show what the three stars on the badge mean: Courage, Hope and Friendship. Undeterred by the number of VMSL Prem players on opposing teams we were never overawed and managed to prove to everyone that we were to be taken seriously. One of the greatest Striker victories of all time came in the semi final of the playoffs against the dominant and potentially unbeaten Heights FC. The 5-4-Stu formation was better than any Mourinho bus and we managed to force the game into penalty kicks in the pitch black at Clinton Park. Victory was assured but to this day nobody can tell or recall who scored the winning kick due to seriously bad lighting. Winning that game and gaining the opportunity to play at Swangard in the final is something I’ll never forget. I remember sharing a moment with Dave in the locker room where we didn’t speak but both had the same “how the hell did we end up here” look on our faces. We were amazing that day in the final but came up short. We did so again a couple years later. Both times we were perhaps just happy to be there. How times change.
After a few years of disrupting the summer league hierarchy the decision was made to climb the ladder of the VMSL proper. Promotion from division 3 was easily earned with consolidation in in division 2 in the 2016/2017 season. The 2017/2018 has become a legendary season and a culmination of a vision that nobody but Whitaker believed was possible. On that sun swept day in May, 2018 the Strikers were not just happy to be there in a final but were determined and proved that you can indeed win with friends: BC PROVINCIAL CUP CHAMPIONS. A day that none of us will ever forget, followed by a night that most of us probably did forget. I’ve spent my entire life involved in this beautiful game, playing and coaching, but nothing will ever come close to the feeling of happiness and pride of this group I felt that day. Truly something I’ll treasure forever.
Now the question is: What’s next? The answer is obvious by the way we’ve started this season. The level of players we have in the team is extraordinary and it’s inevitable that we are going to get promoted and we’re gonna prove again that a bunch of friends can do the impossible and repeat as provincial cup champions. My regret is that I won’t get to be there in person as we achieve these objectives but you better believe I’ll be following and thinking of you all every weekend.
To Andrew Whitaker, thank you for all the times you offered me water. When I was fit and skinny I always declined and always found it annoying. Now I’m old, unfit and slow I spend most of my minutes looking for you on the sidelines to give me water. You are a hero for the Strikers and deserve as much credit as anyone for what we’ve achieved so far.
Dave Whitaker – none of this would be possible without this guy. Words can’t explain how good a friend he has been to all and how tirelessly he works to push the team forward on and off the field.
We win today because we partied together last week.