Dwayne Gareau (ROI) is the next in line in my series of guest writers. His post is a little lovey-dovey for my liking so Nathan Reis and I will follow up with the much more cynical 5 Things We Hate about WCP tomorrow.
1) Rumors - There is no shortage of rumors leading up to the tournament and even throughout the tournament. The who will be playing for who rumor or will the out of town players make it down for that game rumor. The who is carrying an injury rumor. The who posted as an anonymous poster rumor. The endless amount of rumors are always entertaining.
2) The Voice/Music/Fans/Volunteers - I love walking into the center and hearing the music and energy and of course the gooooooaaaalllll announced over the loud speaker. Although drastically over used throughout the soccer world hearing it adds to the atmosphere and of course adds to the tournament. The tournament only works and has success due to the commitment and cotribution of these people. Last year for instance walking off the pitch to our drunken ROI fans giving us high fives and having them be actually happier than us after winning a match. Of course it was probably due to being so intoxicated that they were just in that happy drunk phase but none the less they were there supporting us.
3) Players Actually Feeling Like Somebody's/Celebrations - 95% of the people in this tournament have not had the chance to play in front of crowds this size and actually feeling like a somebody. It is a highlight for all types of players including the "no goods" who are just there to take in the atmosphere and enjoy feeling like a somebody in the game of soccer. Watching a "no good" score a big goal is actually something I enjoy seeing. Their celebrations are usually quite animated and usually lame but still you have to love how good they must be feeling in that moment. The chest pumping or running over to their supporters to say "ya I did".
4) Players/Teams Surprising Me - I have been an active player in Saskatchewan since I was a kid (now 31 years of age). This team allows some players to step up and surprise me. I usually already know the very good players in Saskatchewan, both young and old, but sometimes someone will come out of no where who I have not seen and I take notice. I was a strong advocate for my Huskie Alumni team to pick up Jarvis after seeing his work rate and ability to defend Korthius in the Canada vs Jamaica game last year. Jarvis did a very good job in that match and made me a believer and in turn a good addition. Also, guys like Lee Mooney stepped onto the scene potting a couple great goals while gracing everyone with his first taste of action is Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch any of the Sudan games, but apparently their physical and come out of nowhere competitiveness made them a surprise and supported by the neutral fans as everyone loves a good underdog story. (See Jeremy Lin)
5)Camaraderie - People can bicker and hate on each other as much as they like but this tournament brings a soccer community together. Sure not everyone is going to get along and be friends, but mostly everything is left on the field as it should be. For those guys/gals that allow things to carry over off the field shame on you as that is not the intentions of an event like this. It is wonderful to see after a game teams and fans gathering together upstairs or in the stands to watch another match and have some beverages as they discuss what went right or wrong and how they plan on making adjustments and such as they move forward. This tournament is unique to Regina and Saskatchewan and it is a wonderful event that continues to grow and bring together the soccer community.
6) Bahia - Kash has a new haircut and his flow will no longer be with us. He is in Edmonton but he is hopefully going to be back for a few games. I also room at the Bahia household while I am in Regina so they deserve special thanks.
7) Refs - Love them or hate them, they deserve a mention as this is easily one of the most underappreciated positions in the whole sporting world!
Good luck to everyone and enjoy the tournament.