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Notes from the Stands – Toronto v Vancouver

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Waking the Red's forum for the sharing of the match day experience, kick-starting the conversation with some observations from another night at BMO Field

Jermain Defoe had some fun at BMO on Wednesday, did you?
Jermain Defoe had some fun at BMO on Wednesday, did you?
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Figures

A week after having a bumper crop of off-field observations, enough to spur the formation of a whole new segment, Wednesday’s match provided very little fodder.

The whole match, in fact, was wildly disappointing; perhaps hopes of a raucous midweek affair, given the difficult time of year, schedule wise, was a bit too optimistic.

And so, this match’s accoutrements…

Indy Time

Indy preparation days are a weird time for TFC matches – one must climb over race obstacles, weaving around long meandering pathways to arrive at the stadium, where once simple straight-lines sufficed.

One of the few smiles of the night came when one of the stewards, instructed with ushering the crowd leaving the stadium in the proper direction, appealed, to no one in particular, to not smoke as they walked past what will presumably be part of the trailer area of the Indy.

When queried as to why, with an utterance of the word, gas; she replied, yes.

Honestly, it is difficult to believe that to be true – one suspects she just didn’t want people smoking as they passed – but if so, why the heck would they be storing gas there with such large crowds of people walking by, seems stupidly risky.

One of the more awesome sights was a moderately-sized dirt patch that had been set up in the parking lot adjacent the East Stand, with a bold banner that read something to the effect of, "Training the Drivers of the Future", leaving one to surmise that kids would be allowed to drive some sort of Power Wheel-esqe contraption around said dirt, a surefire way to invite a lawsuit – surely all would agree that such a pre-match attraction should be kept in place year round.

Pasta & Some Guy Named Ford

Reportedly, upon reaching our to the rest of the Waking the Red staff (well, one of them at least), there was a pasta giveaway at the North End, that made the walk to the GO train, well, crunchier than usual, but strangely those exiting through the South were not similarly rewarded for their attendance.

The pasta does get a little messy, but no where near as disturbing/hilarious as when they handed out moisturizer (for men, because: sports), prompting folks to help themselves to a box full and more than a few juvenilely-inclined to discover the sheer enjoyment of stomping on a tube – many a car caught moist shrapnel on that dark night.

Also, apparently Rob Ford was in the house, one assumes having gotten caught up in World Cup fever-stupor – or mistakenly thinking the Argos had already moved into the ground.

But that is probably enough about that.

Strange Things Afoot in the Stands

One of the joys of the frigid early season games is that, more or less, those who trek out are committed to the game and/or excited for the new season. But as the season wears on, and the rest of summer ushers in options, things change.

A new character comes over the crowd – the drunken loudies behind, are replaced by tantruming-children and their over-tired parents, who assume the crowd noise washes away the howls and the seat-kicking.

Rather than prattle on about personal grievances, one thing that did strike as noteworthy, was a surfeit of Vancouver fans spread around the stands. Now, of course, North America is not, and likely never will be, the old countries, where fans must be separated at all costs by fences, wires, and, on the rare occasion, moats.

Presumably these brave, proud souls are Vancouver natives who happen to find themselves far from home on these cruel geographic shores, and their presence is more than welcome, as this did open the possibility of a little bit of friendly banter, which was quite enjoyable – this one fellow, who has only been seen at Vancouver matches, was full of boast sporting his jersey proudly through the opening 15 minutes, until an older gentlemen gave a little back in mocking tone. All in good fun.

According to Duncan, there was a more odious smog hanging around other vantage points in the ground:

‘Over in the south stand, at the top of 117 next to where the Vocal Minority Podcast crew hangs out, there's a bunch of seats that generally go unfilled, presumably scalper tickets that go unpurchased - quite handily for those of the VMP crew that don't have tickets there.

Not this game though, it was a full on brofest. A lot of not paying attention, multiple selfies, many trips to get beer, one of them made their first-ever Instagram post to much ironic excitement all round.

In some ways night games are more fun than others, but when you end up next to those who treat it like some sort of club, it all gets very annoying.’

Duncan did have some kind words for section 119, who "seems to go from strength to strength in the terms of chanting and all that" – always great when more fans are getting engaged.

And provided a bit of love to go-getter, Daniel Lovitz, from VMP’s location one "gets to watch the subs warm up and can't help but notice that Dan Lovitz is way more keen than all the others. They'll all come out and do some of your basic stretching and running, then go sit down. Lovitz will be out there on his own doing more stretching, as if trying to impress Nelsen, all very endearing."

Lovitz has indeed been a solid, unheralded addition to the club – no one, when his name was announced at the draft, proudly proclaimed anything other than mild surprise (and no doubt many figured, like so many draft-picks before, he’d never see a minute).

But plucky Lovitz has proven his worth, even if he seems to frustrate Jermain Defoe to no end.

Please share your observations from the match day experience in the comments section below – and check out this excellent post from KicksFromAfar with Notes from My Couch.

Any unexpected kits on display – other than Vancouver? Any witty banter from other sections? Any grievances about unruly section mates to get off one’s chest? This is definitely the forum for that. Any interest in a rant about the design of the underground parking complex? Figured that may be a niche line of thought, so it was left on the editing floor.