As an adult--and a sportswriter to boot--you try to keep things in perspective. It's just a game, no cheering in the press box, play with the kids/pet the cat/hug your partner, and all that stuff.
But, at 3 a.m. Sunday morning, as I sat staring at my computer scream, empty--just empty--none of that logic stuff meant a damn thing.
Canada had lost 2-1 at home to Honduras in World Cup qualifying. It had finished its two games at home with one point.
One tiny, nearly meaningless, hopeless point.
It didn't make sense. A little more than a year ago Canada was flying high after a successful Gold Cup. It looked to easily be the third best team in CONCACAF, closer to No. 2 than No. 4, actually. With several players in the world's top leagues it looked like this would finally be the year that the Canucks would put it together.
Even when this country got the all too predictable (borderline corrupt) draw, it was easy to stay positive. The bottom line: If Canada can't beat Jamaica and Honduras it doesn't deserve to go to the World Cup.
So far Canada can't beat Honduras and Jamaica. And unlike past cycles there really isn't anyone to blame. The referee didn't screw us, the opponents didn't steal things off an ugly dive and soul sucking time wasting (yes Honduras time wasted after it got the lead. Every team in the world does it. If the officials aren't prepared to do anything about it--and they clearly aren't--Canada probably should do more of it.).
Jamaica did just enough to steal the point on the road and, after the first 15 minutes, Honduras was simply the better team.
For the 1,000 or so of us that live and mostly die with this team it's beyond crushing. It's impossible-to-describe-how-irrationally-sad-you-are crushing. Age group tournaments and Gold Cups are all we seemingly have to look forward to for four more years. It would be so much easier not to care. So, so, so much easier. After all, no one else in the country seems to.
Of course they technically haven't been eliminated. Far from it mathematically, actually. With four games to play Canada is two points back of Honduras and tied with Jamaica. Mexico is doing what it is supped to do. Forget about Mexico. To advance you must finish above the other two. For Canada to do that it is going to have to win on the road. Likely twice. It doesn't seem likely. Hell, it barely seems plausible, but that's where it's at. Having Honduras drop points to Jamaica would help too.
But, man, is it hard to get excited about things now. As an adult you know that you're not supposed to care. But, you do. And, it sucks. But, such is the life of a Canadian soccer fan.
Literary event listings: Feb. 20–26, 2017
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