The Dummies Guide to the World Cup: Part 2

The FIFA world cup is going on until the 18th of December, and no doubt it is capturing the attention of millions of Canadians as it is the first time the Canadian team has participated since 1986.

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Unfortunately, Canada doesn’t seem to have the same talent for soccer as we do for hockey, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with knowing nothing about this event.

In the first part of this series I explained how the tournament is set up; the different stages and what they entail.

And any dummy would think this is enough to know, but since you are a soccer dummy, you would be wrong.

What good is it that you know the different stages of the tournament if you don’t actually know how the game of soccer works! Newsflash: it’s no good at all.

So here is part 2 of the Dummies Guide to the World Cup: the basic rules and jargon of the game.

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I’ve picked a few of the terms I’ve found confusing, since I myself am a soccer dummy, in the hopes that they should help all you other dummies out there.

First of all, the different positions that players on each team play:

Defender: the last line of defense in front of the goal, they are there to stop the other teams forwards from scoring

Forwards: These players are the ones attacking the goal, taking most of the shots, they’re the furthest up the field

Midfielder: This sounds like the worst freaking job ever. Their job is to pass and move the ball towards the goal. They sit in the middle of the field, and boy do these guys have to do a lot of running. Like way too much. No wonder soccer players are such sissies when they get injured, they’re just way too exhausted from all the running. Can’t say I blame them.

Now a few terms related to the rules and playing of the game:

Pitch: a normal person would call this the field, but soccer fans aren’t normal. So if someone says the players are on the pitch, they mean the field.

Volley: a player kicks the ball white it’s mid-air

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Punt: The goalie drop kicks the ball

Offside: a violation that happens when a player from the offensive team is behind the defender and gets a pass from a team mate in front of the defender. Still confused?

Yellow card: If a player does something undesirable they are given a warning

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Red Card: the player receiving the red card is out of the game for breaking some rule.

Formation: how the 11 players of each team are arranged on the field. For example, if you see the numbers 4-3-3 in relation to a formation, that means four defenders, three midfielders, three forwards.

After compiling all these terms for you I have only one conclusion; I will tolerate the world cup, but I will not like it. Soccer is a weird game. But at least you understand it now (kind of).

The Dummies Guide to the World Cup

Who else is clueless when it comes to sports? It can be hard to keep up with your sport-loving, fantasy football playing friends when an event like the FIFA world cup comes around.

2018 FIFA World Cup

Even if you don’t care much for this event, this is the first time Canada has participated in the world cup since 1986, so you better show your support.

Chances are you will overhear your friends talking about it and you’ll hear it all over the news, and heck, you don’t want to look like a complete fool!

So, here’s a dummies guide to how the world cup works, coming from the biggest dummy herself.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers- SIN vs Yemen

Firs things first, what does FIFA actually stand for?

Its an acronym for the Federation of International Football Associations. It is important because it is the governing body of soccer associations around the world, and it is in charge of changing or modifying any rules in the game. And obviously, it is responsible for hosting soccer world cups as well as working with the international Olympic committee to organize championships.

Ok, now that you actually understand what FIFA is, how does this whole world cup thing actually work?

You have probably heard some confusing terms being thrown around regarding the different phases of the event, let’s break them down:

Qualifying Phase: This is the part that determines which teams will actually play in the tournament. Teams that want to participate must be members of FIFA and of one of the six continental football confederations. Once that is confirmed, they will play against other teams in a series of games.

Group Stage: This is the part of the world cup that is taking place right now. From November 20th to December 2nd the teams that have qualified will be playing against each other. They are sorted into groups, which you can see an example of in the diagram below. There are four games each day, where two members of each group will be facing off against each other. The games are spread out throughout the day so each one can be watched without any time conflicts.

Round of 16: The winning teams plus the runner-ups from the group stage will play against each other in this stage. This time, only two matches per day. This will be happening from December 3rd to December 6th.

And then we have the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals, which by now I think you get the idea. Each round the number of teams gets smaller, as the winners of each match keep going forward until they eventually reach the two last teams at the finals. Whoever wins the final wins the world cup!

I hope this guide has helped you out!

Now you can understand what the heck is going on (kind of).

Elect a Nut for Mayor

Though politics were only getting kooky in recent years? Wait until you hear what happened in Vancouver in the 70’s!

As head of the Peanut Party, Mr. Peanut ran to be mayor of Vancouver in the election of 1974.

His campaign motto was “elect a nut for mayor.”

Looking very fine in his monocle and top hat, he would perform all sorts of tricks to treat his fans. He would tap dance, hand out peanuts to people (kind of morbid, considering he is a peanut himself) and all sorts of wacky things of that kind.

He had a very sharp wit, and would attend debates as well, although he made sure never to speak a single word, his reason being that “politicians don’t have anything to say.”

Luckily, if anything did need to be said, his campaign manager would say it for him, or his group of backup dancers, the peanettes.

I say that all politicians from now on must have backup dancers. Whoever’s with me say “aye.”

He also outlined the rest of his platform with the acronym PEANUT:

P – Performance

E – Elegance

A – Art

N – Nonsense

U – Uniqueness

T – Talent

Running on that platform, I would vote for him in an instant.

 

Mr. Peanut

Now unfortunately, like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, there comes a day when we figure out that these things are not quite as real as they seem.

It would be nice to believe that Mr. Peanut ran for mayor of Vancouver out of the kindness of his heart, but he was actually a character created by an artist named Vincent Trasov, who was the man inside the Mr. Peanut suit. Sadly, modern technology still has not reached the point where we can bring peanuts to life.

Even though Mr. Peanut was meant to be a piece of art and a political statement rather than a serious candidate, he still got a sizeable chunk of the vote! 2,685 people voted for Mr. Peanut in that election, which amounted to 4% of the popular vote.

Go Mr. Peanut!

Bridging Communities with Chutzpah!

According to my good friend Google, the definition of the Yiddish word Chutzpah is to have extreme self-confidence or audacity. I could sure use some of that!

If you’re looking for some more Chutzpah in your life, you can still come check out the Chutzpah! Festival of international Jewish performing arts here in Vancouver.

The festival is running until Thursday November 24th with a range of entertainment from theatre, comedy, music, and even drag shows, many of which can be seen at the Jewish Community Centre in Vancouver.

Jewish Community Centre Entrance

Starting in 2001, this is one of Vancouver’s most well-known events. The main mission of this festival is to highlight Jewish culture and perspectives through performing arts; however, in recent years it has also become equally important for the event to foster connections with artists who are not Jewish and to bring them “into dialogue with Jewish artists and bridge communities,” according to artistic director Jessica Mann Gutteridge.

The non-Jewish Persian community is one of the cultural groups that will be collaborating with Jewish performers in this festival, with dance performances, music, and cooking classes.

A prominent star of the festival is Israeli-Iranian singer Liraz. Although raised in Israel, the recording artist revealed a deep connection to her Iranian side when she released her debut album, Naz, sung entirely in Farsi.

This gave her a lot of attention from artists in Iran, and has led to collaborations with Iranian artists on her following albums, although the names of the artists had to be kept a secret, due to the ongoing political tensions and liberation movement in the country.

You can catch Liraz perform at the Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre on November 23rd and of course there are a handful of other events to check out if you click here before the festival is over.

Baggy Clothing: It’s Back, And Why it’s Great

I am incredibly grateful for the pandemic. Thank you COVID for bringing back baggy and loose clothes. Especially pants. Thank you for finally pushing skinny jeans out of style. Thank the fashion gods!

Now, I wouldn’t say that I’m a particularly trendy person because I tend to dress in a very simple style. For me, clothes have to be functional above all else. If it isn’t comfortable and if I can’t move around without accidentally flashing someone, it’s not going in the closet. Some other girl will like you, mini-skirt, but not me.

Even though I don’t care much for trends, I am super happy that I can wear boot cut jeans and flared pants again without sticking out like a sore thumb.

Gilmore Girls on TheWB.com

So, in celebration of this miraculous turn of events in the fashion world, here are a few reasons why baggy clothes are the best

  1. Nobody can tell you just ate a huge cheeseburger for lunch

Its true that I love trailer park boys, but I don’t really want to look like Randy. The fact that oversized sweatshirts are popular right now is great, because if you happen to be on a strict cheeseburger diet, nobody will ever know. Undo the top button of your jeans and let your food baby free! (But hidden by the oversized sweatshirt, of course).

  1. You can pretend you’re in a grunge band

It’s the 90’s and you live in Seattle… ok you live in Vancouver but whatever, it’s close enough. Grunge is on the rise, have you heard of this band called Nirvana? They dress like they aren’t famous, like they don’t care. Not like those hair metal bands in the 80’ with all that tight neon spandex. Yuck. Dressing like you don’t care is cool. Playing guitar in the biggest pair of jeans you’ve ever seen is awesome.

nirvana

  1. It’s just comfortable

What is the point of torturing yourself with tight clothing when you’re working from home anyway? Yeah, your boss might want you to “look professional” on the zoom meeting, but let’s face it, you are still going to wear your favourite pair of cargo sweatpants.

So, what about it? Do you love the baggy clothing trend as much as I do?

Secret Underground Tunnels in Chinatown?

I will admit I am a somewhat of a conspiracy theorist. I think that the way the world is run is not how we have been taught to see it.

But even if you think conspiracies are ridiculous, can you deny that social conditioning is real?

We’ve all been taught to think or do certain things. We’ve all felt the pressure to conform to our culture. We’ve all fell into the trap of stereotyping other groups, trying to fit others into a box that makes sense of them from our perspective.

This is exactly what led to the conspiracy of a secret tunnel network under Vancouver’s China town.

China Town, Vancouver, BC

Say what?

Yup. And apparently, it’s the fault of Charles Dickens, you know, the old English guy who wrote a few books with minor success.

Turns out he died while he was in the middle of writing one of these books, and in the unfinished manuscript were stories of Chinese people disappearing right in their basements.

Considering the year was 1870 when this was being written, these “disappearances” fit in well with the stereotypes about Chinese people in the western world.

Chinese people were thought to be secretive and that they were hiding things from the white public, although nobody ever really specified what it was that they were trying to hide… secret family recipes for dumplings, maybe? In that case, I would understand the secretiveness, as westerners have a tendency of taking food from other cultures and watering it down.

Jokes aside, obviously this suspicion of Chinese people was unfounded and ridiculous. But nevertheless, the attitude of the day combined with Charles Dicken’s story gave the inspiration for the conspiracy that the Chinese were building underground tunnels.

Many newspapers in Vancouver during the 1900’s fanned the flames of this myth. Rumours would be would spread and published after police raids on alleged gambling dens in Chinatown would come up empty. They thought the Chinese were escaping these raids through secret tunnels.

Chinatown Vancouver

Yeah… or maybe the police just weren’t very good at their job. Or maybe they were just targeting innocent people because they were racist. Just maybe.

Even in modern times, this myth still seems to persist.

During the 2010 Olympics media visiting from other countries would often ask about the secret tunnels.

And even one of Vancouvers iconic landmarks, the Sam Kee Building, has been on the receiving end of these tunnel rumours; apparently it has a tunnel that leads to shanghai alley, and that it was used in the past as an escape from police raids on Chinese opium dens.

The World's Narrowest Building

The president of Jack W. Chow Insurance, which is the name of the company located in the building, says that there is an “areaway” under the building, but there is no tunnel that is connected to anything else.

Plus, Chinatowns location is just not suitable for amateur tunnel building. Being so close to false creek, it is likely that any tunnels would flood.

Even though this myth obviously has a racist past, today it’s become a pretty harmless story, and the conspiracy theorist in me loves to hear stories like this.

Even if its obviously not true, it does make life a little more thrilling and fun to imagine secret societies and underground networks.

What Makes a Vancouverite?

We live in a beautiful city, that much is obvious. I’m always in awe of the beauty and grandeur of the mountains and the way their snow covered slopes contrast with the brilliant blue of a sunny winter day… and then the rain comes around. And I remember how much I hate this city.

I think Vancouverites can all come together and understand the bipolar feelings we have about the state of the weather. When it’s hot we wish it were cold; when it’s cold we wish it were warm. When it’s dry we wish we had rain; when there’s rain we wish it were sunny.

But what else makes someone a true Vancouverite, other than complaining about the climate?

Here are just  a few things that make us a part of this city:

1. You never carry an umbrella

Ok, to be honest, I’m kind of a fake Vancouverite because I’m actually from Port Moody, so I’ve never understood this, but I guess it’s actually a thing. Vancouverites don’t like carrying umbrellas. Apparently it’s uncool or something? Or maybe it’s the fact that you’re probably going to get wet regardless of having an umbrella, because you know, sideways rain exists. The consensus is that you should ditch the umbrella and invest in some gore-tex. And only then can you be a true Vancouverite.

Coffee and raining season

2. You’ve waited 6 hours for a ferry

We all love the Island., it’s a great place for a quick vacation away from the bustling city. What we don’t love? The wait times for BC Ferries, especially on the long weekend. I get shivers just thinking about it. But are you really a Vancouverite if you haven’t had to wait in that line for at least 6 hours for once in your life? I don’t think so. Some may say its torture in its worst form. I say it builds character and resilience.

Riding with BC Ferries

3. You can’t drive in the snow

We can’t even drive in the rain, so who are we kidding?

4. Athleisure

Because why sacrifice comfort for style? If you dress up all fancy for a first date in Vancouver, you’re doing it wrong. Put on some Lululemon joggers, you’re gore-tex rain coat (duh!) and some white sneakers and you’re good to go.

Athleisure

What else would you add to this list?

Sedin twins, Luongo Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

It was a nostalgic Monday night for hockey fans as the hockey hall of fame inducted three beloved Canucks players. The Sedin brothers and Roberto Luongo reminisced and joked about their memories as they delivered speeches at the ceremony in Toronto yesterday evening.

The Sedin twins took playful jabs at each other during their speeches. Being called to the podium first, Daniel took the moment with a quip to remind his brother that he was also selected first for the 1999 NHL entry draft. Despite the jokes, by the end of his speech Daniel was thanking Henrik for being a “calming influence” in both his life on and off the ice. He even admitted that he thought Henrik was a better player than him!

Henrik matched his brothers jabs with a few of his own when it was his time to take the stage, telling the audience that “Henrik at 70 percent is a lot better than Daniel at 100” in reference to the fact that he was recovering from a bout of COVID.

Luongo’s speech was a bit more family focused. He recounted his formative hockey years and how being away from his family so often was strange, given that in Italian culture children often don’t leave the home until they are married. An especially heart warming moment was when he thanked his grandmother for obliging him when he was young and playing makeshift goalie so he could shoot pucks at her.

robertoluongo

All three players also took the time to thank and mention their former team mates.

Luongo shouted out his fellow Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider for being “an awesome guy” as well as Danny Sabourin who momentarily relieved him of his duties during a playoff game back in 2007 when he had some uhhh… bowel issues.

The Sedin brothers made sure to mention Alex burrows as being one of their biggest inspirations, especially early on, and highlighted that despite their language differences, their were able to intuitively communicate and coordinate on the ice.

All in all, it was a night to remember and a great opportunity for Canucks fans to rejoice and have something to celebrate. The Team may not be thriving as much as it once did, but the memories sure are. 

BC Lions Quarterback looking to find a home in the NFL

It’s not often that players from the CFL cross-over to the NFL, but Nathan Rourke, quarterback for the BC Lions, is looking to make the big leap. After ending the season with a loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Rourke is going to be trying out for NFL teams next week.

BC Lions Dance Team and Nathan Rourke

He was doing well as a starter for the lions earlier in the year, but unfortunately ended up with a foot injury that was bad enough to warrant a surgery in late August and was out for quite a while. Although he came back for the regular season finale, he failed to live up to the short-lived, although impressive performance that he put up earlier in the season.

In the Lions losing game against the Bombers, he ended the first half with a disappointing 7 of 17 passes for 87 yards, but was able to comeback somewhat in the second half with 20 of 37 for 300 yards. Still, it was not nearly good enough for the lions to advance, and it’s a shame because they definitely could have made it. Whether it was some lingering discomfort from his foot injury or just plain old nerves, it cost the team big time.

https://twitter.com/BCLions/status/1592597712402513920?s=20&t=N1WsRNJ93Bwi2XVMPzECoA

Nevertheless, the young player obviously has a lot of potential, and whatever the outcome of the season may have been, the Victoria BC native has definitely turned heads this past year, and that certainly makes his given his 78.7% completion rate in the last season. Plus, even though the Lions didn’t get to advance further in the playoffs, Rourke did help them win their first play-off game in six years.

So, I salute him, and wish him the best of luck in his hopeful NFL endeavours.

Why is Meeting People in Vancouver so Hard?

Vancouver is notorious for how crappy it is trying to date here. Or just trying to spark up any new relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic.

In one way I’m actually pretty lucky because I never had to use dating apps to find a romantic partner, but I really could use something like that to find friends.

So, why is the social culture in Vancouver like this?

I think that a big reason why a lot of people have trouble finding friends is because people are just too comfortable in the friend groups they’ve cultivated since high school.

best friends

Unlike other cities in Canada and also in the United States, a lot of students around Vancouver stay near home when they go to university and that means a lot of your high school friends end up going to the same post-secondary as you. So you just stay hanging out with the same people.

And it’s totally cool to keep up with your high school friends, but for people like me who kind of drifted away from their old friend groups it can make it harder to find a new one when people aren’t really open to welcoming new friends.

And when you do somehow meet someone who you think is kinda cool, there’s about a 80% chance the fledgling friendship will fail because both of you will keep flaking on plans or make the excuse that you are “really busy right now but maybe we can hang out in a few weeks once all may projects are over” (but you never do).

Another reason that I think this happens, and I really don’t want to be that person, but… cellphones.

We’ve gotten so comfortable interacting with people through text that when it comes to actually hanging out it just feels like too much of an effort. You’re friend lives in Burnaby and you live in Abbotsford and its pouring rain out because it’s November, so you just cancel your plans because it’s just too far to drive.

I mean, you could just call or text your friend and have the same conversation, so what’s the big deal?

texting

Well, it is a big deal. Relying on our phones to satisfy most of our social interaction means that our in-person social skills have suffered. So you end up going out less, and you become more awkward, and you meet less people.

And I’m not immune from all of this either! This is as much a criticism of myself as it is the general community.

So what can we do about it?

Well, I really think the only thing to do is just to suck it up and take some risks. After all, that’s what any good relationship takes.

We’re going to have to get out of our comfort zone and maybe start I don’t know, organizing in person meet-ups?

I think a really great way to do this is through facebook. I actually met my boyfriend this way after finding out that his family hosts a jam night at their house. I was bored and looking for some people to play music with and I came out one night and we met!

I’ve also thought that board game cafes are probably a great place to start for meeting new people. Games are a great way to bond with people because it forces you to work as a team.

saturday night board game cafe

What do you think of all this? Do you agree that Vancouvers social culture is lacking something? Or are you happy with the friends you’ve got now?