This is a fairly fascinating article examining how the way we view Deep Time has changed over the years which I will now summarise by means of a limerick.
We used to think time was immense
Compared to our own present tense
But now we perceive
That the data we leave
Makes us immortal (in a sense)
In other words the mid-twentieth century perception of humanity occupying an essentially ephemeral period within the “life” of the earth has given way to the acknowledgment that almost everything we do (from fuel usage to the enormous amounts of data we accumulate) will have effects on the world for eons to come no matter whether we as a species are still around or not.
But it certainly doesn’t feel as though we are living in a Deep Time era. Not when every breaking news story swings an election one way or the other and it certainly doesn’t feel that way when it comers to sports either.
Coaches are judged by a measurement of games rather than seasons and games are judged by a measurement of individual results rather than performance or progress.
So with that in mind the first round of the MLS playoffs could not have gone any worse for fans of the Whitecaps and, by extension, the people who hold the purse strings of the club.
The big spending LA Galaxy beat the less big spending Colorado Rapids, the very big spending Toronto FC beat the very big spending NYCFC, the big spending Montreal Impact beat the not big spending New York Red Bulls and the very big spending Seattle Sounders but the not big spending FC Dallas.
There may still be a second game to play in each of these contests but the instant narrative to be gleaned from all this is that spending money equals success in the post-season.
And that goes directly in contradiction to how the Whitecaps Front Office have spun their reaction to the disappointing 2016 season with the Rapids, Dallas and Portland being held up as examples of how to succeed in MLS without breaking the bank.
If things do turn around in the second leg then that line of defence may still hold some water but if Seattle, LA, Montreal and Toronto make it through (Two fellow Canadian teams, a Cascadian rival and the very incarnation of the MLS big name DP strategy) then the off-season will definitely be more uncomfortable in terms of PR initiatives.
None of this means the Front Office are necessarily wrong of course; taking such a small sample size to extrapolate a fully formed theory is foolhardy at best.
But narrative is such a powerful decider in sport that anything which contributes to that narrative is automatically imbued with an authority no matter what the merit.
My own take is that the people who have been less than successful at recruiting mid-range DPs probably shouldn’t be handed the keys to the safe and told to go out there to get whoever they want no matter what the price and that one badly thought through expensive signing could do more damage to the team (in any number of ways) than three badly recruited mid-range signings.
But the trajectory of the post-season is making that big name acquisition look more and more like the wise (and maybe even necessary) business move.
That article I cited ends with the words “we are conjuring ourselves as ghosts that will haunt the very deep future” which I think is meant to be heavy with portent but which I find oddly reassuring for some reason.
Let’s just hope that whoever the Whitecaps do sign in the next few months won’t come back to haunt them for years to come (Memo to self: Well done at finding a link back to the article. Genuinely didn’t think you could do it).