Using their 'Caps Card Loyalty Rewards points, Whitecaps FC Season Ticket Holders Sally Aitken and Jack Woods won a draw to be "reporters for a day" at the June 25 match vs. Montreal Impact. Below is their blog detailing the experience.
While Vancouver goes soccer-crazy during the World Cup, we Whitecaps FC Season Ticket Holders smugly revel in the knowledge that we are perennial fans of the beautiful game. Along with some 21,000 others, we trek to BC Place for home games decked out in blue and white.
Whether winning or losing we cheer for our boys while the loudest supporter groups (Curva Collective and Southsiders) deafen and harangue the opponents, keeping the spirits of our players lifted and holding the referees to nothing but the highest of standards.
We are big Whitecaps FC fans, holding season tickets since the ‘Caps joined the MLS, and sitting in the front row of section 210. Our supporters group-of-two has serious rules, including biking to the games (thanks, Bike Valet!), cheering for our players under all circumstances, not letting a loss dampen our enjoyment, and remembering that the other team and their fans, despite holding incorrect allegiances, are nonetheless worthy of a friendly welcome. We also, out of respect for other fans, don’t attempt to sing (except for O Canada and the Whitecaps FC anthem).
As fans, we always focus on the players and on coach Carl Robinson. We track the club’s ups and downs through social media and the press. Sally is excited when her path crosses that of first-team players at UBC (where they train and she works). She constantly encourages her students to catch a game downtown, or to watch a free U23-game at Thunderbird Stadium.
Meanwhile, Jack pours over league and team statistics. Rarely, though, do we think about the large organization it takes to run the club and to get the starting 11 onto the field in front of 21,000 fans, with carefully timed TV and radio coverage.
Much to our surprise, we recently got a call from Josh Nanavaty from Whitecaps Fan Services to say we had won a draw to be “Reporters for a Day” for the home game against Montreal Impact. The inside look at the organization that puts on these games was fascinating.
Josh won man-of-the-match for his excellent tour, and willingness to answer all questions. For every first-team player we see on the pitch or on the bench, there are four or five other Whitecaps FC staff members working to keep the organization and game running.
We learned a great deal about what goes on behind the scenes of the ‘Caps and of the MLS – how the complexities of salary cap and allocation dollars work, and how players are drafted and salaries determined.
We saw the mass of equipment required for broadcasts, and the dozens of reporters and technical staff that deliver the games and game results to a wide audience. We also talked with the people that deliver all the images and sound on schedule to the huge stadium screen.
During the game, we sat high above centre pitch in the press box, next to the three Whitecaps FC statisticians. Nearby, print journalists and Whitecaps FC communications staff typed furiously. It was a fascinating look at the game machinery in action. The hardest part was that press-box etiquette did not allow us to cheer when our team did something positive on the pitch.
It was pretty clear that the vast majority of people putting on the game from behind the scenes are big Whitecaps FC fans, but come gameday, they have a job to do. Like parents at a birthday party for 10-year-olds, the fans cheer wildly while the staff attentively do their jobs. Many of them, like Josh, have to wait until later to watch a replay of the game as there’s no time during the match.
Following the game, we were led through the bowels of BC Place to a concrete-walled room where Carl Robinson fielded questions in a press conference. The modest surroundings of the room are not evident in the TV and video coverage, but coach Carl’s twinkle and careful choice of words helped him skillfully spar with the reporters about what was not one of the ‘Caps better games.
We gained a new appreciation of the depth and scale of the organization behind the team and games, but we also realized that we want to simply enjoy the games, read the statistics, complain about the marginal calls, and behave like children at the over-sized party.
All the work except cheering is done by others and we like it that way. Our ‘Caps are one of the enjoyable parts of our lives where we put our work aside, let our hair down (what little is left), and have fun.
We appreciate the club, the people behind the scenes, and most of all the efforts of the talented, diverse and hard-working players, but we prefer to relax and enjoy the games and to leave that hard work to others.
We’ll be the faithful fans cheering loudly in Section 210, seeking simplicity and thrills from the beautiful game.
Many thanks to Josh and all the Whitecaps staff for this great inside experience!
Are you a Season Ticket Holder? Have you been collecting 'Caps Points? Well make sure to cash them in by logging on to your 'Caps Card page every Wednesday starting at 12 p.m. as unique experiences and prizes become available.
Do you want the opportunity to take part in these unique experiences and prizes? Become a Whitecaps FC Season Ticket Holder! Whitecaps FC season tickets remain available at a prorated price. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.