By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Not all moments in a season of professional soccer are serious and dramatic, there are some moments that turn out to be unusual, if not amusing. The 2009 Vancouver Whitecaps men's team season certainly provided memories that were on the lighter side.
In the spirit of the holiday season, the fourth and final part of our series of reviews on the 2009 season looks at the moments that brought a smile to Whitecaps fans this past year, as well as the unusual events that are sure to be talked about for many years to come. From tumbling coaches to lightning storms, the 'Caps were witness to a variety of unique experiences during the last campaign.
Thanks to the tireless and diligent work of our club staffers, we present the top five lighter moments of 2009 for your reading pleasure.
Think there was an unusual moment that should have made our list? Give us your thoughts by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whitecaps men's team - Top Five Lighter Moments of 20091.Teitur's celebratory somersault
Though his celebration might have been premature in terms of the overall outcome of the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship, men's team head coach Teitur Thordarson left his mark - albeit in the most amusing fashion possible - on a memorable night at Swangard Stadium on June 2. With the final whistle confirming the Whitecaps first-ever home win over Major League Soccer club Toronto FC, the Icelandic coach reacted to the historical victory by doing a forward somersault on to pitch. Until that moment, few would have expected the 57-year-old Thordarson to be that agile. However, his post-match reaction gave an accurate description of what 'Caps fans felt that night.
The July 25 home win over Puerto Rico Islanders will be remembered less for the 4-2 victory, as it will be for the spectacular stormy weather that turned a two-hour soccer match into a four-hour experience at Swangard. It was hard for fans not to keep an eye on the looming thunderstorm during the first half that night, and when the game was delayed because of the looming storm clouds just before halftime, the next two hours saw the most committed 'Caps fans ride out the severe thunder and lightning from the safer confines of Swangard's main grandstand before play could resume. One of the best moments of the delay was a member of the Whitecaps sales staff (…who shall remain nameless…) rousing the waiting crowd by starting an ovation to raise spirits.
3.Winger's woes with numbers
The Whitecaps water bird mascot does his best to entertain the crowd during home matches, but his struggle to clearly display the winning 50/50 ticket number was of particular amusement. Not having enough number signs to work with, 'Winger' did his best to inform fans of the 50/50 winner through with his usual flair and improvisation on the Swangard track in front of the main grandstand. Going forward, the sensible thing would be for 'Winger' to have enough number cards to complete the task in future games…but would it be as enjoyable to watch?
4.Red Patch Plastics
It's safe to say that the rivalry between the Whitecaps and Toronto FC has had its seeds sown though the Nutrilite Canadian Championship the past two seasons. The fact that Vancouver have a favourable record after four meetings with TFC is surely enough to annoy any Reds fan. Yet, the Southsiders' mocking of TFC's 'Red Patch Boys' with blow-up dolls in red shirts and a 'Red Patch Plastics' sign during the June 2 win at Swangard made soccer fans on the West Coast laugh and smile, but surely got under the skin of TFC followers, who have endured plenty during their three years of supporting Canada's first MLS club.
5.GreenZone Sustainability Kick TV adverts
Getting Whitecaps fans to recycle or compost at home games proved to be a huge success, but along the way, 'Caps players helped the effort by taking part in some amusing public service announcements. Lasting only a few seconds, the announcements gave an important message and made one laugh and smile at the same time. Whitecaps goalkeeper Jay Nolly and winger Justin Moose contributed to GreenZone Sustainability Kick program in their own unique ways (check out the Whitecaps YouTube channel to see more).