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My Gonzo Vancouver Adventure

Former Champ

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PART 1: Slumming in East Van

My first mistake was buying a Hunter S. Thompson book (Songs of the Doomed) first thing Monday morning. Reading Thompson is bad for me. His style hypnotises me into believing that everyone is like him and me. I think I can blame most of the other mistakes on this reading choice.

After having a very wonderful and theraputic time in Kingston, I was really excited about the Guatemala game. I even made sure to go out a few days early so that I could meet up with some of the Southsiders before Wednesday. Going to the Belize games was like going to my Gramma's house for tea compared to Swanguard. What I wasn't ready for was Vancouver.

Vancouver has a changed a lot since I was last there. It seems over the past 10 years the crackheads have chased all the hippies across the Georgia Strait. The cities overall vibe has been affected by it and there seems to be a definite agro feel that I haven't experienced in any other part of Canada. It seems people care a little less about other people there. Everyone seemed to be on thier guard when approached by an overly friendly stranger.

Everyone except the crackheads of course. After reading just enough Thompson to alter my perceptions of the world, I bought a six pack of beer and headed into East Van to find a quite place to drink them and maybe an adventure. Not long after that I had a friend. A hot cougar wearing nothing but a bra and a pair of jeans.

After smoking some drugs in an alley and drinking the beer, we went for some coffee. I toyed with the idea of getting myself into more trouble but I had a moment of clear thought. I gave her $5 to go get us some cigarettes and then split.

I know none of those people belong to you or anything, but come on Vancouver... I mean Jesus Christ this is still Canada. I couldn't believe the human waste in that town. And the Crack Mall, where all the stolen goods are neatly laid out on the sidewalk to sell. I almsot bought an X-box for the hostel.

When I got back to the hostel, I was in for a surprise. When I checked in I met 3 Suiss guys in my room so I figured it was the 4 of us. After firing of my slumming clothes I was headed for the shower when I noticed that the person sleeping in the bed below me was a very (very) voluptuous young girl. It was then I noticed the evidence that this was in fact her room, and the most prominently displayed items were her rather sizeable bra and her birth control pills.

She was 18 and visiting from England. You could just tell that she grew up with the Spice Girls.As it turned out she was named after one of Odin's wifes from Norse mythology. The goddess of fertility who had to sleep with 7 dwarves to attain a magick sword was the legend she told proudly me.

She was also feeling under the weather and as I was trying to sleep, every now and then would come this pathetic little feminine whimper from just below me. I was already having trouble trying to sleep, but now my mantra became "Think Unsexy Thoughts...Think Unsexy Thoughts..."

I lied low on Tuesday and just didn't leave the hostel. Monday had drained me of my exuberance, and given me a hell of a sunburn (again).

I was already wondering what Wednesday was gonna bring. I knew I was going to be doing some competition level drinking, and I still had no way to get home so that kind of stress usually takes it's toll on me. I should have known then that there would be cops in my immediate future.

I was now suffering from Estrogen poisoning and that causes my blood to thicken so Tuesday also gave me one more day to fit in some training before the big game. So I bought 2 six packs of beer and sat on the patio with the other travellers and smoked ridiculously potent pot. That cheered me up.

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PART 2: The Southsiders/Voyageurs

I had met a handfull of Southsiders at the Whitecaps game on the Sunday. Very likable bunch and kind of like me they were mostly oddballs. I was surprised at their agression and general dislike of the other fans. A couple good looking girls came over to talk to us and asked about the chants, when the next chant became "South-side Bi-tches". Before I could get a word in they were gone.

The one that didn't fit was Nazz (Vancouver Fan, who I had chatted with on email for a few weeks). While the rest had varying degrees of eccentricities, he didn't fit at all. A good looking, articulate, well kept, nice guy, with a nice car and nice girlfriend. I kept my eye on him for a while at first as I tried to figure him out, but I never did. Maybe there really are still nice people out there still, or maybe he dresses up at night like Indiana Jones and goes butterfly hunting.

I don't care what any of you 'Central Canadians' think, but us Western Voyageurs are a great bunch of people. I still haven't met one I haven't liked, even though I got more than a few dirty looks on Wednesday. The more eccentric the Voyageur, the more I gravitated toward them, and believe it or not, Krammerhead is a really nice guy.

The funny thing is that I met a bunch of you Torontoians after the second Kingston game on the practice field and I haven't figured out who it was. I know that if the 2 groups every met, we would all get along, but the West Coast guys would for the most part stick out.

One thing that surprised me was that I am still, to this day the only Voyageur that smokes pot. Or at least smokes it in public. I'd roll up a big fatty to share and the have to finish it by myself. Good thing I like being really really stoned. This has happened in Kingston and Burnaby. You are all gonna see some serious pot smoking in Edmonton, because I'm bringing my buddy Master Mike.

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PART 3: GAME DAY... Pregame

Got up early because the Suisse had left and it was just me and the goddess in the room. It was too early in the morning to think unsexy thoughts so I decided to go make some breakfast. As I got up I notice she was only wearing a thong... hooray! I headed for the kitchen where I fried up the last of my eggs and peppers. I was mildly hungover, but I had a big day so I knew I needed to eat. Days for competition level drinking don't come around much anymore. I added 5 multivitimins to my meal and felf confident that I could face my day, even with all the fear and stress of running out of money and having no way home. I had a feeling I wouldn't get a ride at the game, because I wasn't planning on making a good impression on anyone who wasn't bleeding Red and White with a beer in thier hand.

I found some very strong free coffee and headed back for the patio. I had spent much of the day and all of the evening there Tuesday and thanks to the goddess, who had been staying there for a month, I was now one of the cool kids. I was in a pretty good mood as that night I had the game and a lot of relaxed strangers to take my mind off my other troubles. Talking to travellers in hostels is great because you may spend 2 hours in a really deep conversation with someone, and then never see them again.

I was already dressed for the game in my really sweet red and black Huddersfield Town jersey which has been my team Canada games kit since I found it in a drug store in Mission for dirt cheap. I was going to wear my Nomeansno t-shirt but it had got really dirty in my pack somehow. Maybe that was for the best as that shirt is white with a saluting military figure and in bright red letters says "Kill Everyone Now", with the chaos to come that would have made things a lot worse. I was also drapped in my team Canada scarf and Canada flag and now I was ready for my traditional pre-game meal of 2 coffees, 2 beers and 2 joints. It's almost like a pagan ritual for me because after that, you are pretty much ready to face anything, at least until the coffee wears off.

An English girl asked me if Canadian Soccer Hooligan wasn't an oxymoron. I stood up and gave her a drunken lear and said "What kind of moron did you call me?" After a breif uncomfortable silence we all had a laugh and the morning mood disolved. Next to me a conversation was going on between a German fellow and a Suisse guy both of whom I had made friends with the night before. I can understand a bit of German and they seemed to be talking about WWII. A very unusual conversation topic for a German. The Suisse guy was saying that Germany didn't invade Switzerland because the Suiss army was the greatest to which the German guy couldn't stop laughing. I brought up the difficulties of mountain warfare and the conversation shifted to what everyones favorite Italian invasion was. "Remember in the 1100's when they were all honeycombed in the mountain?..."

Conservatively high, I headed for Burnaby. I promised to meet Nazz at Swanguard at 2 to help with anything. I'm one of those unusual fellows that has an IQ in the top percentile, with a back like a pack mule. Therefore any banner hoistings would be right up my alley. I had also been given the honour of lighting the Bar-B-que. I ended up at Waterfront station as I never did find the Granville one and I got to the stad right on time. There was no one there yet, so I decided to head down the strip to the beer store I had found Sunday, but I quickly met Nazz. He fed me a couple beer as we picked our party spot (I didn't notice how stunningly beautiful that spot was until I saw the photos). Nazz had a Ruiz doll to hang from a tree so we made a little shrine.

The Voyageurs began trickling in and as I mentioned before there wasn't a bad apple in the bunch (oh wait... that was me). I made a dash for beer and walked in the blazing sun to get supplies. I came back and made sure to give exact change, except to Moosehead, who I gave back a $5 and said "You owe me 75 cents". I guess he didn't realize that I might need that money later. Eventually, there was a decent turnout and I got to meet a lot of people who chat on the Voyageurs board, where I occasionally like to raise hell.

We were outnumbered by the Guates, but the mood was really friendly right up til we hit the Beergarden line in the stadium. I had hoped to feed myself properly, but that plan quickly disolved in the flood of beer. I was almost sure then that there would be trouble.

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CC,We're all a bit odd otherwise we'd wouldn't be following the CMNT.

I'm a pretty simple guy really.Not hard to figure out.I'm lucky to to have a job.I have a mortgage,I pay my taxes,pay my bills and try to save as much as I can so I can support Canada.I used to smoke pot and go to watch punk bands but I'm bit too old for that anymore.

I'll take what you said as compliments as I'm sure that's how they were intended.Hope to share a couple of beers with you again in Edmonton.Only 2 weeks + a couple of hours till we do it again.

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PART 4: The Game

As we got to the Voyageur section one of our worst fears had come true and the Guatemalans were using our section as Genereal admission seating. Instead of a 2 entire rows of cheering Red and White there was a little clump here and a little clump there of the folks I had met at the tailgate and mostly tiny dirt farmers wearing blue and white. I gave the authority figures a chance as I walked over and asked for an usher to come help us out. We stood around on the edge of the field waiting to gt access to our seats and that was when we had out first encounter with the bronze. I spoke at first very articulately, at least as articulate as possible after over a dozen beers.

Then the worst possible thing happenned. The Guates scored. "Uh-oh..." I thought. Now it's gonna get ugly. My only hope from the beginning was an early Canadian goal to cheer me up. But what little I saw of the game told me that was unlikely to happen.

I refused to go to my assigned seat unless every other person in that section did the same. Where my seat was, there wasn't another Canadian around. I've never said I wasn't stubborn, so I decided to stick to my convictions. Luckily for me one of the stadium security guards took a liking to me and he continually tried to act as a go between for me in the police. In the photo of me , nolando and the cops with the scoreboard in the background, it is only the 33rd minute and the cops are already exasperated with me. They both have thier backs to me, and you can see the security guard trying to reason with me. "You know they've both said they are gonna arrest you". Or maybe it was a bad thing to do, because I have never responded to idle threats.

That big black bastard finally came back (Knight), and he was pissed. A nose to nose screaming match erupted between us and through simple intimidation, I finally, in a blind rage, took my seat. I was standing there for less than a minute when a Guate leaned over to me and said "You will only last 20 minutes." Instead of turning around and feeding whoever said that his own teeth I went right after my buddy the cop.

I tapped him on the shoulder and said "excuse me sir, may I speak with you" but he refused to even acknowledge me. What a c-unt. One of his cop buddies (the less black one) intercepted me and they didn't care at all about the threats and the knives. All they cared about were the "families that had come to the game." Let me tell ya, that P.C. thug shiut doesn't work on me so I went back to my standing spot on the edge of the field. Eventually they got me to at least stand with the rest of the Canadian fans and things cooled briefly until the end of the first half.

Now I'm drunk, really thirsty, sad, angry, drunk, stoned, angry and stressed. I checked my wallet, and I had a $10 and a $20 left. Rational thought was no longer an option so I walked over to the beer line. In a completely unusual feat for me, I just joined the really long line up at the front. I've never been a line cutter and will usually call others on it, but today I didn't care. I was drinking for my country. And I also knew 2 beers wouldn't cut it and I'd have to stand in line twice to spend that $20. Although after a Winnipeg style 'gulp....gulp...' I just went back to the cashier again without even considering the line.

The next little while is a little blurry. More fun with the cops, but by then they didn't have a prayer to get any respect from us Canadian fans. We were having a lot of fun and the chants were getting a little more racey. I remember having to sit down for a little while after the second goal and in my twisted mind it all didn't seem fair. I remember yelling at Nazz, as if it was his stadium and he had hired all these cops. Sorry, dude.

I remember seeing the trouble start out of the corner of my eye. I saw Johnny Monster, who had been leading our chants, outnumbered and in a tussel down a couple sections from us. My immediate reaction was to join the fray and even up the numbers. Me and johnny are fair sized guys, so it would take 5 or 6 of the little buggers to push us around. Then the cops were there, and that big black ****er was trying to get Johnny in a hammerlock. Having some wrestling in my background, I just kept putting my arm or hand in a location that would foil the cop, and procect J.M's arm in the event the whole pile tumbled over. That was the one instance that I really could have gone to jail, 'Interference with an officer...'

Someone pulled me out of the fray and there went J.M. My buddy the security guard came over and told me that J.M. was ok, he was just taken somewhere else for his own procection. If they'd a tried that with me, after coming as far as I did for this, there would have been massive trouble. We continued to sing and chant til the end and then it was over. 0 - 2.

After failing to round up a loonie to go with that last $10 for a consolation six-pack I told the bartender at the gay bar my story and he gave me an $11 six-pack for $10. So I went back to the hostel. The only goals for the day that I achieved was topping 20 beers and not getting arrested. We stayed out on the balcony until really late, because the owner had been there the night before and shut us down early. I felt a little better, or maybe just numb.

PART 5: The denoument

The denoument is the worst part of any sad tale. That 15 hour bus trip could have been the end of me, but I was pretty sombre. I didn't even care when the Japanese kid beside me kept using me for a pillow. For the second half of the journey he let his tiny little girlfriend sit there so I had a lot more room, and she smelled better.

After going on a good flip out there is always a period of remorse. Did I do the right thing? Did I drink too much? Will any of those people ever talk to me again? 15 hours is a long time to be trapped with you thoughts. I kept reading my book but it wasnt making me feel any better. Thompson was a somebody. He was a total lunitic, but respected by so many. Sitting on that **** bus, without enough room for my ample frame, I felt very small.

Without any sleep I arrived in Calgary at 9:30 Friday morning. Thank ****ing god all the beer stores near my house are already open. I select the Stinky Arab, because it is the closest, and I've taken a liking to their $5 six packs. My biggest bitch aboput BC Manitoba and Ontario is the antiquated liquor distribution system. You all need to start drinking more, dammit.

I got home and quickly downed one of the sixpacks. That made me feel a little better. But when I logged on to the net and read the reviews and comments of the game I felt a lot better. I really didn't do anything I wouldn't normally. I guess I'm a drama-queen that drinks heavily. I ain't afraid of no cops and now I understand that all the bad feelings were shared around the stad. It is shared experiences like this that build bonds between people and I think I have made a lot of friends in the Voyageurs.

I'm really looking forward to the next 2 games.

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quote:Originally posted by Vancouver Fan

CC,We're all a bit odd otherwise we'd wouldn't be following the CMNT.

I'll take what you said as compliments as I'm sure that's how they were intended.

I hope so...

I have also lived with the 'nice guy' monicker and it does get kinda annoying.

My love to the Southsiders.

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quote:Originally posted by Current Champ

If I miss you there, then T.O. '07.

Wel, CC buddy, I hope you make it to 2006 and 2007!

Keep on keeping on[8D], but just a friendly timely cautionary quote from the great Hunter S. hisself: "Obviously, my drug use is exaggerated or I would be long since dead."

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After a few days of reflection...

I realize that not every single little aspect of the story I told was true. Parts of the drunken tussle at the game were mildly misremembered but it was all sincere. I hope you enjoyed it. I might make it a book. 'I'm An Oxy-Moron - The Voyages of a Canadian Soccer Hooligan'

As a final postscript I remember after the game trying to collect my 75 cents from Moosehead. He looked at me very sincerly and said "Haven't you had enough?". It was very profound... touching, saddening and hilarious. My love to that guy!

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quote:As a final postscript I remember after the game trying to collect my 75 cents from Moosehead. He looked at me very sincerly and said "Haven't you had enough?". It was very profound... touching, saddening and hilarious. My love to that guy!

You didn't kill him did you? He's not been around here since that game.

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i'm alive. i enjoyed my time in vancouver. I missed the stad early on and went through the park visiting the golf course, mini sail boat pond and then the massivew huge treed forest before arriving at the small quaint stad of swanguard about 3:00 p.m. Depression set in early when Canada went down and I went to another part of the stadium to sulk. Everyone was really sweet, even Krammerhead who was good. I was expecting some bright john Mcenroe type but no just an easy going vancouvrite. evyerone one was pretty laid back in fact, except me. Gordon from Sakatchewan was another laid back knowledgeable dood.

So much excitement led to so much disappointment. too many beers and anger I was suprised i wasn't carted off by the police myself. The pitch was great but the seating wasn't, the organization wasn't.

Three cheers though to Vancouver Fan for the tickets.

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My favorite part was the Huddersfield Town jersey. Ironically I had "Songs of the Doomed" sitting less than two feet away from me as I read this even though I must admit I've only read the first 40 pages or so (I have read all of "The Great Shark Hunt" and "Generation of Swine" though). Someone really oughta do a sociological study of exactly who becomes and Oxy-Moron.


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