Yesterday I produced the notes from my regular Saturday morning trip to see my analyst. Today, with his permission, I’ve added his own contemporaneous notations.
Due to circumstances beyond my control there will be no review of the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 tie with the Chicago Fire on Friday evening.
So, instead, I’ve decided to post the notes from the regular Saturday morning trip to see my incredibly expensive analyst.
Analyst: And how are we feeling this morning?
(As if I need to ask. The patient is clearly in an agitated frame of mind. But what will it be this time? MLS officiating, the Whitecaps inability to get a midfielder into an attacking position or, please no, a return to his debilitating obsession with Robbo).
Analyst: Oh dear, what’s the matter now?
Analyst: (sighing heavily) What’s happened this time?
Me: Well, the Whitecaps were winning 1-0 with about five minutes to go when, out of nowhere, the referee or the VAR official or somebody gave Chicago a penalty out of nothing. Then I spent the rest of the evening arguing with people on Twitter about whether it was a PK, what “clear and obvious” really means and the definition of a “missed incident”.
Analyst: We’ve spoken about this kind of behaviour before haven’t we?
(I find his search for answers and clarity within the confines of the world of Social Media both touching and bizarre. Why will he never go to his nice place?).
Me: Yes, yes yes.
Analyst: And what are you supposed to do in those situations?
Me: Go to my nice place.
Analyst: So why didn’t you?
Me: It’s weird because the vagaries of normal refereeing decisions don’t bother me. “Part of the game” and all that. But every VAR decision that’s even a little bit contentious sends me into paroxysms of incandescent fury.
Analyst: Why do you think that is?
Me: Well, I don’t know if I told you but I was against VAR even before it was introduced…
Analyst: Yes you did mention it (Looks at notes). That was in sessions fifty eight through eighty three.
(And what tedium those sessions brought upon me. Hour after hour of “What if?” scenarios until the patient began to twist himself into knots of internal logic. I had hoped that the introduction of VAR would have eased these thoughts but instead it appears to have accelerated them).
Me: Right. So I think there’s a part of me that feels a kind of vindication. I just want to shout “I told you this would happen!” at everything and everybody. But I think it goes deeper than that really.
Analyst: How so?
Me: I think VAR represents just one more way in which we as a society are getting our priorities wrong and looking for all the wrong answers in all the wrong places. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, it matters not one jot whether Doneil Henry handled the ball but we waste time and energy and resources on deciphering exactly that. But genuine miscarriages of justice that destroy people’s lives barely register with us at all.
Analyst: So you think VAR is as a symptom of a sick society?
Me: No, I think VAR is the cause.
Analyst: That’s insane.
Me: Should you be using words like that?
(I probably shouldn’t but who cares? He is insane if he thinks that. I think I will tell him so and see how he reacts).
Analyst: If you think video review has created all the ills in society then I’m perfectly entitled to use such a word.
Me: Fair point.
(That went better than I thought it would).
Analyst: So what about the rest of the game? Talk to me about that.
Me: Well that’s kind of the point. The Caps didn’t really deserve the win. They were pretty awful, didn’t really look like creating anything from open play and the midfield was, once again, bereft of any creativity. I mean, I don’t think Russell Teibert has ever seen a back pass he didn’t immediately fall head over heels in love with.
(And always he comes back to Teibert’s passing. My working theory is that it has come to represent the patient’s own inability to move forward in his life and so every backward pass made by Teibert is a sharp sting of recognition toward the patient’s own failures).
Analyst: What have we said before about Teibert’s passing?
Me: (sighing). To let it go, to accept it.
Analyst: And with acceptance comes?
Analyst: Very good. So who played well?
Me: Nobody really. I guess they were defensively sound, but only because they sat so deep. And I don’t get why In-Beom is being played out wide. Or rather I do get it but it isn’t working. Asking him to drift inside to become an occasional number ten is nice in theory but we need him there all the time offering some kind of attacking threat because right now the opposition defenders only have Fredy Montero to worry about and he’s nowhere near his best form.
(He’s right about Montero but he’s so wrong about In-Beom. He needs to be playing as a central box to box midfielder not as a creative number ten).
Analyst: Still, a point on the road isn’t bad is it?
Me: I guess not, but it still feels like one step forward and one step back right now.
Analyst: Oh well, let’s hope they do better against LAFC on Wednesday evening.
Analyst: Right. That’s your time up I’m afraid. I think we made progress today. I’m sensing that you’re beginning to come to terms with your mistrust of VAR and with that comes acceptance.
Me: I don’t want to accept it!
Analyst: Yeah well tough luck because your time is up. Goodbye. Oh, but just before you go.
Analyst: Could you give me the Soccer Shorts player ratings?
(Always fascinating to see the patient judge others far harsher than he ever judges himself. I will be surprised if Teibert even gets above four).
Crepeau- 6*, Sutter-5.5, Adnan-5.5, Godoy-5.5, Henry-5.5, Teibert-4, Felipe-4, Erice 4.5, Reyna-4, In-Beom-4, Montero-3.5