We started at the Devil's Elbow and enjoyed the chants and exhortations of members of the Curva Collective who were also imbibing at the pub, not all that far from the stadium.
Not only was this my first Whitecaps game, it was also my first visit to the new and improved BC Place. The renovations, wildly over budget, clocked in at well over $500 million, and were an impressive sight. But over $500 million of taxpayer money? Hmmm.... funny how quickly voters forget these things in this province.
My hosts have season tickets on the south-side of the stadium, and this is where the Curva Collective and the Southsiders have their seats, or rather where they choose to stand for the entire game. The Curva Collective and the Southsiders are two independent fan-based support groups for the Whitecaps. In fact, the Southsiders are the largest fan-based group of its kind in Canada with over 1200 members.
The Curva Collective is the smaller of the two groups, though more visible with their flags and banners, and probably louder with their chants and songs. The Collective, as befits their name, has adopted a more democratic model in the way they present themselves in public.
We sat nearer the Curva Collective, in fact quite near, so it was easy to get caught up in their antics. The fellow with the beard and megaphone spent the entire match with his back to the pitch, calling out the chants and willing the larger group into doing all sorts of things. Like taking off your shoes to show support, or your shirt, or wave your arms... I got tired just watching. It's all family-friendly and fun.
A highlight at Saturday's game was the Curva Collective's recognition of Uruguay's Independence Day, and the unfurling of a large banner depicting the four Uruguayan players on Whitecaps FC.
Both fan groups are open to all, including families, and both strive to be positive role models for the entire crowd of 20,000. You won't hear much negativity from these guys.
The game itself featured a win for Vancouver over Dallas, was entertaining and fast. None of the long drawn out breaks for television at an MSL game.
At the end of the game all of us were standing to salute the Whitecaps, and most of us were singing the Whitecaps song.
If you haven't been to a game, it should be considered. Join the Curva Collective. It's all great fun. Especially when our team wins. Next game is tomorrow, August 26, at BC Place, against the Montreal Impact.
Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2015 by Jim Murray.
Front-on picture of banner from Curva Collective facebook page.