Saturday January 5, 2019 | Jericho Turf (Home)
Westside Strikers

Westside Strikers

  • W. McKnight (20')
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Westside Strikers

Twin Arrows

  • A. Pickett (30')
  • J. Ajonovic (75')
VMSL 2nd Division

Midseason Mailbag

It’s January 8th and I’ve already decided to start the New Year in February. If my hand wasn’t forced by the masterful Gavin and his swollen bodyguard Coop, this week’s piece wouldn’t have made it to press.

A quick aside: does anyone mix benevolence and ruthlessness quite as well as Gav?!
He’s going to blaze by you with such velocity that your shorts blow off, bunching up around your ankles. And, just as he’s whizzing past you (you only know it’s happening by catching wind of his faint and strangely erotic smell of week-old caramels mixed with Pabst Blue Ribbon from Dobie’s pre-game licking), he lifts your jersey over your head and tweaks your nipple, leaving you blindly fumbling around — left only to hear his wicked cackle and the crack of his 87 mph howitzer from six yards out. But, fear not, he arrives back in a flash, helping to unknot your underwear, put your jersey back on, and return your manhood with a quick kiss on the cheek. What a guy! Dobie and Joe could stand to learn a lot from their Artful Dodger teammate.
However, this post isn’t about homoerotic camaraderie…or is it?
Without further adieu, here’s your Midseason Mailbag. You know how this goes: you submit questions and I answer those that are about Robyn.
What exactly happened on Saturday? Seth from the OC
 
Iceland. Mexico. Parks Vancouver. Toxic Celebrity. Jericho.
That’s what happened on Saturday.
The Strikers cruised out of the holidays by taking a holiday. The last time the team heard from Conor O’Malley, he was in Iceland singing folk songs and crushing pints while celebrating a team that’s half as sexy as his own club. Meanwhile, on the other end of the world, Dave McConville was sipping Mai Tais on the beach (yes, this is how heavily bearded, highly successful sales reps, with a penchant for red cards drink). Closer to home, Arved Poetter still hasn’t worked off the conditions of his indentured servitude and was locked away somewhere in the city — wouldn’t it be great to see “Head Gear” flopping, heading, and sweeping up any whisp of an attack for 90 minutes? Heck, the last time he did that, the Strikers won the provincial final and he was MVP.
The shenanigans of Joe Brooker continue. Has anyone told this guy that not attending games “due to injury” while pictures of him day drinking in a Colts jersey and then slugging back beers at a bar at 4pm (nearly four hours before his girlfriend’s birthday party) are plastered on Instagram isn’t the best look? Editor’s note: he never actually alerted his manager around his status for the game. Dave Whitaker was overheard telling the ref “Brooker may show up…”  Sources say he apologized to the team, but didn’t own up to the full truth. Is it team first or me first? The answer has never been clear for Brooker.
In fact, Joe Brooker makes Jimmy Butler look like a cupcake. One day he’s demanding his teammates step up and play at his level — with smarts, collaboration, and passion. And then the next, he’s off with his party crowd on a bender during game day. The way Dave Whitaker has sheltered Brooker from the rath of fans and media while maintaining team cohesion is nothing short of saintly. I didn’t know Sean Avery wrote a guidebook, but Brooker definitely has a copy.
Lastly, the game is always won and lost between the lines. Despite missing four regulars from the starting 11, the Strikers had more than enough depth to weather the charge from the best version of Twin Arrows. Depth is one the elements of the Strikers that makes the team so dangerous. On Saturday, there was enough skill at each position to continue the win streak. But, the team was flat. The energy was low. And, skill alone was not enough to carry the day. “Desire” and “want” were the difference-makers in this one. And, Twin Arrows dominated in that arena. These days, it’s not often we see a team not get crushed when the Strikers ripple the mesh first. On Saturday, an upstart and talented Twin Arrows team believed they were better and used the deficit to fuel their thirst for victory.
What do you takeaway from this loss? – Raul from The Biltmore
 
Well, Raul, there are a lot of takeaways, but I’m not giving any of them out until someone at your bar plays my song requests. I don’t care if it’s the same song every time.
I’m a softy, Raul. Here are the takeaways:
  1. In the post-game media scrum, Kyle Hildebrandt said: “We’ll be fine. This is a good wake up call. It’s hard to go undefeated…” I lost the rest of the quote due to Hildebrandt’s shirtless nature and my overwhelming sense of inadequacy. That sort of chiseling isn’t fair.

    But, from what I can remember, he’s right. It is hard to go undefeated. You can’t have an off-day. You have to want it so badly that you take the other team’s very best shot and find a way to put them down. Being undefeated isn’t the end all be all. Just ask Alabama. Promotion is the ultimate destination for this team. We’ll see if this loss fuels the fire for the Strikers and pushes them to another level of performance.

  2. If there’s been one area the Strikers need to clean up, it’s playing a full 90 minutes. The team is remarkably talented. Bryan Da Cruz is putting goals away like Dobie dummying beers on a Friday night. The front line is loaded and complimentary; the midfield is bruising (Now that Da Cruz, Lytton, and McKnight have relegated Bryan Archibald’s scoring opportunities to seasonal 40-yard heat-seekers, he seems to be taking out his anger on the opponents bodies); the wingers are full of skill, speed, and grit (a mix that’s interchangeable depending on what’s needed — Brooker, Coop, Paul, Stu, Whit, Ry). And then there’s Arved…er, the backline.

    Yet, too often, the Strikers seem to rely on their skill, forgetting that a complete game requires much more than that. I’d love to see this team get after the complete game mix: communication, desire, skill, poise, toughness, and killer instinct.

  3. Keerit Tauh. This guy’s hands are golden. Just ask the patients who entrust their vital organs to him. On Saturday, he was the most valuable player on the pitch for the Strikers. It wasn’t even close. He prevented numerous goals. He proved the Strikers have a bounty of riches at the keeper position.
  4. Body language. The team wasn’t down after the game. They were alert: Dobie was still smiling and searching for penises. Dave Whit was clear about his squad’s ultimate goal and where this game stood on the path of achieving that. I expect this team to build on the loss.
Is Jordan Cooper worried about being drug tested? Can I get his number? – Taylor from the supplement store
 
He should be. It looks like Jordan Cooper ate Jordan Cooper.
But, if you’ve seen him in the rain in a white Under Armour shirt, you’d know he isn’t.
Before the game, he had a moment of reflection. It wasn’t about beating the keeper to guide his team victory, but about something completely different:
Without any prompting: “Maybe I’m going about this wrong. Joe might be right about putting on 1lb. a week. It feels like I’m running around with a weighted vest on…”
 
He played the full 90. Said he felt good. And proceeded to polish off a mason jar of protein at the field.
What direction will he take? Time will tell. But, one thing we know for sure: our boy is now part of the guantlet Joe needs to run through.
You might have to stand in line for his number, Taylor. Or, you could give me $20 and I’ll give you my media badge.
What 7 Strikers would start for your Kabaddi team? – Riley from the men’s room in the London Pub
  1. Paul Viverios — he’s exotic, strategic, and angry
  2. Richard Dobie — he loves body contact, sex, and men
  3. Dave Berney — he’s probably the Bobby Fisher of this sport
  4. Dave Whitaker — Swaying seems essential to this sport — Whit’s got that down pat, he’s pregame music will bring all the girls to the yard, and he’s got length, agility, and toughness
  5. Stu Allester — no one’s better at games…if he failed, he might not return home. He’s still recovering from a Mario Kart loss from 15 years ago
  6. Kyle Hildebrandt — he’s The Cat. Is there anything else to say?
  7. Bryan Da Cruz — he’s Brazilian (read: flair), he’s marketable (the smile, the skill, the nickname), he’s a wildcard (he might forget the start time of the game, but he’ll use any means possible to get there). And, really, is there anything we’ve seen him do that he hasn’t been good at?
What happened to the redhead and the hooded characters in Gavin’s story? – Joe B. from Vancouver
 
I like to think they both got what they wanted. The hooded man got to wrestle the redhead while engorging himself on a milk-lathered purple phallus. In that moment, life was complete. Meanwhile, the redhead held the code for returning home; he didn’t share it with his companion. And, while the hooded figure was drunk off his (perceived) victory, the redhead stole away with childlike exuberance and a balloon, leaving his arch nemesis behind…forever?
What were the Strikers top 5 moments of 2018? – Savannah from Georgia
  1. Winning the Provincial Championship
  2. Going Alex Ovechkin with the celebration
  3. Going undefeated for four months — promotion is within grasp
  4. Andy Dunn’s post
  5. Jamie Allester’s glasses