Bereft A Touch

Canada returned to the football World Cup after a period of 36 years in 2022. Their path to qualifying electrified the country and Canadians were captivated by the tear they went on through CONCACAF going 14 matches without a loss. The excitement ratcheted up to fever pitch leading up to their opener in Qatar against powerhouses Belgium. And then…

A few hours later…

It is easy to say Canada were fantastic today…they were! To recognize how much relentless pressure they exerted on their football-world recognized rivals…they did! And how unfazed they were from the get go in such a high pressure expectation-loaded moment…they honestly were ridiculously composed and organized all through the game given the caliber of the global giants they were facing in Belgium.

A lot will be written about (rightfully, I admit) how ragged they ran Belgium. How relentless and focused they were…they were indeed. For a team in such uncharted territory in their lives, they were so unfazed.

The missed penalty by Davies didn’t cause a blip or misstep. (Those who claim Davies was deflated after it – with all due respect, he honestly looked a tad uncooked all through. Match fitness for a turbo-charged engine like him can’t be conjured up instantly.)

Why he even took the kick and how bad it was will be discussed to death. But in the end, it just was not the reason to blame for Canada to lose the game.

They lost it in the box at Belgium’s end. They lost it to hesitant touches a split second too late, to crosses that sailed over the awaiting heads, to horribly wasted corners that wafted into nowhere land…to passes that hiccupped at the worst moment with Courtois frozen on the goal line…so many chances that evaporated after so much hard work and smart play…

Tomorrow, the narrative will be how great they were on so unfamiliar a world stage. Facing such a storied and respected opponent. How proud they did themselves and Canada by their wonderful performance. I would never begrudge this special team any of that credit.

But it is just agonizing regret I feel now in the aftermath of the match. Of how close they were. Of how much of a panic they caused in the opponents who were expected to roll over them. How many moments were squandered at the end of superb efforts. How many giveaways just one touch away from a shot on goal. The finish that never came. It just seemed out of reach…all through…

What they did today just reinforces the potential in this ridiculously young (Hutchinson aside), superbly coached and loaded with promise side. But the night still leaves me with what they missed out on…what they stumbled over at the last second…the pass that was one beat too late on rhythm…how agonizingly close they were…

Croatia will know what is coming on Sunday. Belgium certainly know what they dodged today…

All Canada needs to internalize is what Croatia and Belgium already have.

We Canadians can just relish this ride..

The Art of the Making of Meta Olympia

Meta Olympia was a dream hatched to get some crazy and incredibly talented people to plot away and create something special while all the way having a whale of a time. A project that aimed to bring art, science and sports together in a very unique way. In a meticulously constructed world far off in space, where science skewed sport, sport became art and stories emerged from the mix. It was a free thinking evolution of an idea that germinated in the fertile imagination of a very close friend of mine and developed into a gorgeous and fun exercise for everyone involved in it.

For me too.

This book is an anthology, a primer, a historical record, a wild rambling exposition, a portfolio of the gorgeous artwork and a chronicle of the contests and stories it provided. An attempt to capture the narrative and art that ran through Meta Olympia and the stories in it and behind it. In 300 stunningly laid out pages, it attempts to tell the story as it happened and what transpired.

I was lucky to be involved in it. And am honestly astonished at the gorgeous package that this book has turned out to be.

(Thanks Chris, for the ride!)

Note: Free download available as an iBook here.

Here is an excerpt from the Introduction to the book by me:

As with a lot of what Chris did and does, it was with the the infectious sense of collective creativity that he drew me in. With the gorgeous visuals and artwork adding to the excitement of it all. Meta Olympia screams of the fun every single one of us involved with it were having in that nether-worldly sports league on Mars. Artists, writers, sports nuts, fans and science freaks all scheming, plotting and conceptualizing as we worked furiously on bits and pieces of the narrative. And relishing pushing the limits of our own creativity. And having shitloads of fun.

Always fun.

 “Years have gone by and I’ve finally learned to accept myself for who I am: a beggar for good soccer. I go about the world, hand outstretched, and in the stadiums, I plead: ‘A pretty move, for the love of God.’ And when good soccer happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it.”

     -Eduardo Galeano – poet, philosopher, artiste and raconteur of soccer.

The pages that follow will show you how much fun we had. Not giving a damn which planet it was all happening on. And how pretty every single move made in Meta Olympia was.

Take a few steps off the edge of the cliff and enjoy the ride as much as we all did.

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Inspiration and photography: Caroline Dorin

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This…is how I have always imagined it should be.

Wanted it to be.

The behemoth that the MCG is as a private and bespoke performance art venue. Its scale simultaneously magnified, yet distilled into a crucible for a supine form’s languid view. The roar of the 100,000 plus trapped below in the cauldron as he lies in the sun, head propped by the crocked elbow, a trail of discarded clothing tracing the path to the edge of the roof. And you can leave your socks on…

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Those mythical 100 meters…

The earth splatters off their feet like chunks of dark chocolate. Their dirt-stained shoes and legs pumping, they glide into view; lungs straining against the prim white garments encasing their heaving chests, faces contorted with effort. Right at the edge of the cinder track, the milieu is startlingly bucolic. Green grass, heather and bramble adorned countryside stretches into the distance behind the dainty ladies and distinguished looking gentlemen lining the ropes. Grey clouds complete the picture, as if rendered meticulously by an artist’s brush than by nature. The runners advance languidly and loom larger, a pulsating symphony of strained muscles, limbs and torsos in cinematic slow motion. And oh, the music….

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