Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Whither supporterdom

Let me begin with a story:

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One of the few things apart from soccer that I do tend to obsess about is cycling. Not spandex/Lance Armstrong/Tour de France style road cycling, though that would be fun if I had the money. Rather, cycling is a mode (my only mode) of transportation. I like it because I am cheap (poor) and it is a convenient form of exercise as well.

Last night, the weather gods in Winnipeg were so kind as to assent to a calm evening without rain, a rare commodity in these parts this season. No better time for a ride, I thought.

There are plenty of better places, though. Allow me to describe Winnipeg from the wheels of a cyclist:
  • the only hills are old garbage dumps and overpasses
  • curb lanes of most roads look like the Kabul - Kandahar highway (scratch that: I just googled some images of that roadway and the tarmac is pretty pristine. Maybe they look more like this).
  • where recreational paths exist, they are clogged with wide women walking three-wide, and seniors crusing on bikes at 5kph
Even still, I seem to manage. The lack of topography, and the dangers posed by the roads to bicycles are the reason I've been getting around on old ten-speeds with the gears stripped off. They do the trick, and every so often I'll pass a group riding in spandex. And last night, I wanted to make the best of it.

So I enjoyed a nice cruise of a dozen or so kilometres through one of the few nice locales in the city, and beyond, and then turned around.

That's when it all started to feel a little off.

First, a little clicking noise, loud enough to ring through the music on my ipod.

Then, I navigated through a minefield of windshield glass in the middle of a bike-only path (don't ask me how it got there!).

Finally, as I took a corner, my rear wheel started to bump around far more than it should have. Turns out I must have picked up a wood staple somewhere a little bit earlier, and this probably was the source of the erstwhile clicking noise.

A flat. 10k from home. No tools or patches.

Needless to say, I didn't enjoy the next couple of hours. While riding the streets of Winnipeg is pleasurable merely due to lack of alternatives, pushing a bike down those self-same streets is a real bore. If it weren't for the dry wit of a certain Karl P. on the old ipod, I might have ditched my bike in the river in a fit of anger and carjacked someone.

C'est la vie.

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I tell this story by way of analogy. To me, yesterday evening perfectly encapsulates in but a few hours the feeling of being a Canadian soccer supporter, especially in a place like Winnipeg, far removed from any sort of flirtation with pro soccer.

The over-arching theme: Even when you're trying to make the best of a bad situation, it all goes to shit.

I'll leave it to the readers to connect the rest of the dots.



So when I read a post like squizz's excellent entry on what the future holds for Jonathan de Guzman, I kick myself for even thinking of being hopeful.

But really, in these dark days with no matches on the horizon, and no pro team within 800 kilometres (hello Minnesota Thunder!) there isn't much else to get excited about.

1 comment:

squizz said...

Yeah, I really have got to get out of this new "optimism" phase I'm in -- it's only going to end up hurting me and the people around me.

Also, sorry for not having a new podcast this week, which may have lightened your travels somewhat (or made them even more unbearable...)