Whither the Whitecaps?

Economist Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of “Creative Destruction” posits that Capitalism consistently revolutionizes itself from within.

Mutating by destroying what was once powerful and emerging into something new.

The horse and carriage becomes the car. Cable TV becomes the streaming platform. The telegraph becomes the rotary dial phone becomes the smartphone.

Those who prospered from the former are cast aside in place of the new lords of the latter.

And so on and so on and so on.

But the destruction we are living through now isn’t “creative” at all. It’s a vandal breaking into an art gallery and taking a hammer to all the paintings.

And what some politicians like to call a war is really a hostage situation that pays no heed to Schumpeter’s bleakly optimistic view of how society functions.

None of us really know what our worlds will look like when this is over, what will return and what will fade away. Nor do we know what will then seem important and what will not.

After all, at this exact moment it seems inconceivable that anybody will ever again call for the defunding of a public health service, or object to paying the taxes that keep that service in robust health or even shrug with indifference at the multi-million dollar corporations that treat evading tax with ill disguised indifference.

At this exact moment it seems inconceivable that the workers who have helped keep the skeleton economy going will be granted less acknowledgement and respect than those who make their living through brand name endorsements and YouTube followers.

The social good over the social influence?

Yet, in Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, his account of the Bubonic Plague sweeping through London in 1665, when the curfew is lifted he writes

“I can go no farther here. I should be counted censorious, and perhaps unjust, if I should enter into the unpleasing work of reflecting, whatever cause there was for it, upon the unthankfulness and return of all manner of wickedness among us, which I was so much an eye-witness of myself.”

People will always go back to being people.

But will sport go back to being sport? Will soccer go back to being soccer? And will the Whitecaps go back to being the Whitecaps?

It seems curiously typical of the Whitecaps that, at the very moment they seem to find a degree of competence in how the club is run, the world dissolves around them. But perhaps they got there just in time?

Their communications throughout have been on point and on tone (Imagine a Black Mirror world in which the old regime were dealing with this crisis and shudder).

And so, for the first time in a long time, it feels as if the club is moving in the right direction.

Yet perhaps it feels flippant to be speaking of such things in such serious times?

But if the last few weeks have taught us anything it’s that we need distractions. Be it a man with a mullet wrestling with tigers and with his inner demons, TikTok’s of dogs in the bath, or simply piling on celebrities who genuinely believe we want to see them earnestly singing very bad songs.

Mindfulness is admirable. But a full mind can sometimes become a heavy mind with a need to be emptied.

So, when our doors open again, sport will continue to be important because it isn’t important. Soccer will continue to be relevant because of its irrelevance and the Whitecaps will continue to matter because they don’t really matter at all.


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