Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Ugly Truth About the Vancouver Riot

Well it's the day after the Vancouver riot, and I see that just about everybody is blaming everybody but themselves.

Those weren't real hockey fans, that isn't Vancouver, hockey is Canada, and we're better than that eh?

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Yes, of course they're Canuck fans. Anyone who works for a living knows what replica jerseys cost in the real world....A great many people in the crowd throwing bottles, smashing windows and grinning happily for the cameras were happily showing off their Canucks jerseys.

"This isn't the Vancouver I know; we're better than this, I thought we had grown up in the past 17 years," was another. This could only be said by someone who keeps his eyes closed when he wanders outside: Vancouver not only has a seedy underbelly; it is right there for anyone willing to see it.

Could it happen in any other Canadian city? Yes it could. So what we really need to ask ourselves is why have we allowed our national sport to become such an ugly game. And such an unhealthy obsession.

This is the dark side of our national obsession with the game of hockey. It is our greatest source of collective pride when we win. And when we don’t, it looses our collective rage at … what, exactly?

Rather than a post-mortem on what went wrong on Wednesday — we already know that — it would be more helpful to take stock of why so many of us are so goddamned angry.

Because this was the dirtiest Stanley Cup final I have ever watched, after one of the dirtiest seasons ever. A season of cheap shots and concussions, that saw good players like Sidney Crosby mowed down by goons, while the NHL did practically nothing to stop it. Because violence SELLS.

We also really need to ask ourselves why we have allowed Con clowns like Don Cherry and Stephen Harper to weave that thuggish version of our sport into our national fabric, pump it up with cheap jingoism, conflate it with a ridiculous sense of destiny, poison it with a winner take all mentality.

And blame the riot on left-wing pinkos.

Gawd. Talk about a flaming asshole.

We also need to ask why the media whipped the Stanley Cup final into such a big Canada Vs The World contest, when it was just a contest between two cities. Why they made such a big deal about it. Why even the CBC News led its newscasts with hockey nonsense when hundreds were being massacred in Syria. And farmers in  Western Canada were drowning.

Because it's cheap, it's absurd, it makes us look like pathetic losers with an inferiority complex the size of a house. Or like a mob when we're disappointed.  

And Canada is much much more than just hockey.

But then that's our beautiful country eh? There are some truths we would rather not face. We'd rather not ask why a Stephen Harper ad looks like a hockey/beer commercial.

What it says about what we are becoming, and where it is leading us...

Because hockey is Canada !!!!!!!!! And we're number ONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh well. Until the NHL cleans up its act, until so many in this country regain their sanity, hockey will only mean one thing to me.

The great Canadian game, that we play with our friends.

Until the sun goes down.

On rinks like this one...

(Click pic to enlarge)


  1. Only saw one game all season and that was because I was trapped in room with manly men drinking beer. I stopped watching the Olympic games two years ago for the same reason. I feel no pride in poor sportsmanship. There is no pride in bragging rights. There is no pride in wrapping yourself in a flag, whether at the Olympics or in a coffin down the 401. There are only arrogant assholes and dead soldiers and there is no pride in either, just pity and sadness for the loss and what we have lost.

  2. Anonymous1:24 AM

    Another Essay to agree with. I agree with Willy as well regarding the Olympics, etc.. It is so horribly sad when a person's love of country depends on the winning or losing of a professional, commercial, sports team. So patriotic, and how many are paying attention to what is being done to the country ? The picture of that young woman in the Senate, quietly holding up her that's the kind of thing that makes me proud to be a fellow Canadian. Her parents must be so proud of her.
    BTW,I like the photo of the outdoor hockey rink. Granny

  3. Anonymous8:29 AM

    I don't know, I mean there does seem to be a little truth to the thought that many of the people at the game/involved are/were bandwagon fans, but really that is irrelevant. Was this riot really about a hockey game loss? Or could it be more a reflection of the general reflection of the overall youth of society today it seemed more like a party than a riot(to me, based soley on streaming video I viewed). Perhaps this is just a reflection of the absurdity of society;(mostly)subconsciously living vicariously...the fans didn't lose, the players lost. If the team won, did the players do anything(significant) to contribute?NO. So why so involved? I don't get it! Also, and I'm now ranting and lost in my own words, the this was not a competion between cities, it was a competiton between two teams, made up of individuals, players from various countries;many boston players are Canadian. I don't, it just seems to me this riot was less about hockey and more about partying, about being part of something. And my cynical side says the few that decided too take it to the next level, of fires and looting, just made it more exciting for those that were to cowardly to partake; or those who thought it was ok to be there as long as they 'thought is was wrong to do anything 'illegal' all feeding the fire. The few who did anything to try to stop it were surely outnumbered and looked at as 'abnormal', cause this was a party. The group mentality ruled the night, in a chaotic, but surely 'great for ratings', that the public loves, way. We are all to blame, for we are all human. Rant done.

  4. hi WILLY...I have to admit that I love the game and watched every game of the finals. And I can un derstand people getting excited and wanting to bring the cup back to Canada. But the series itself was a horror show of cheap shots, and the way it was made to sound like the most important thing in the world was absolutely appalling.
    Like you I was raised to believe that being a good loser or winner, is a good measure of your character. And I saw neither. One day when it's not summer, or it's raining, I'm going to take a longer look at how hockey has been harnessed by the right-wing to turn us into a yahoo nation, and why people around the world are calling us "ugly Canadians."
    But right now I'm too depressed, and I'm just glad the hockey season is over...

  5. hi Granny...there are many reasons to be proud to be a Canadian, but being the best hockey players in the world is right near the bottom.
    Particularly when so many people are being seriously injured, and so many fans act like drunken yahoos.
    Brigette makes me proud to be a Canadian, and the day we end poverty in this country, stop the bullying in our schools, and ensure that seniors are living in dignity, I will be out in the street beating my drum, and shouting "We are Number ONE !!!
    And I'm glad you liked the picture of our rink. This year the bay didn't freeze over like last year, so the rink was moved to the canal.
    It wasn't quite as spectacular, but at least you didn't have to worry about drowning... :)

  6. hi Kadie...thanks for that rant. It was a good one. Not that I would know eh? ;)
    But seriously you raise a lot of interesting points. One thing people should take a closer look at is the age group involved. While they certainly don't represent most young Canadians, I do know that unemployment among the 18-25 group is twice the level it is for older Canadians. So that kind of hopelessness may have played a factor.
    Not that it excuses anything, but along with the media hype, and the brilliant idea of having 100-thousand people, many of them drinking, jammed into a relatively small area, it probably should be factored into the equation.
    All it took was a small group of louts, and the mob mentality took over.
    It's scary, but also predictable, because as you say we are only human...

  7. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Some of the rioters, did come prepared with face coverings and gasoline. Perhaps the young people who were drinking, fell in with the bad boys.

    Some have learned good lessons, losing their jobs, kicked out of sports. I am sorry for them, they followed like sheep. They didn't seem to have minds of their own.

    The bad ones, probably don't have jobs, and likely don't go to school either. They don't care what they have done. The really sick part, is these people were proud of themselves. That's what is really sad.

    BC isn't a happy province anymore, since Campbell and the BC Liberals. They had their own type of riot. Campbell's theft and corrupt sale of the BCR, that goes unpunished. Campbell deliberately lied and said, the BCR wasn't for sale, which was an election lie.

    Campbell and Hansen's election lie, the HST wasn't on their radar, which Hansen finally had to admit, he lied. Throw in the small provincial deficit, which they also lied about.

    Yes, BC is a very angry province. We have students, with huge student loans, and no jobs for them. The HST has killed a great number of jobs, closed down restaurants and small businesses. Family's, seniors and low income people, are now all going to the food bank, which can't keep up with the demand. BC citizens are terribly over burdened with taxes. Nine months of a years salary's, are paid to the government in, direct and indirect taxes. We have far too little money left to live on.

    However, Christy is just as bad as Campbell. Her family's first, is a total farce of a lie. Christy puts the HST first, and the family's last. She is building on Campbell's legacy of, lies, deceit, corruption, dirty tactics, thefts and Christy too, cheats to win. She is putting on an ugly display of, cheating the BC people, with her ridiculous, stick man TV ads. Stealing our tax dollars, for such foolishness, has angered people all the more.

    And Canadians are not impressed with Harper's cheating either. Nor are some of his senate.

  8. AHHH,Simon
    You said it all
    No wonder I'm such a fan of yours.
    Really, this is not our city folks seem to overlook the gang shootings,even right there in Gregor's neighborhood, the airport murder of a Polish mother's son,the hit and run drivers,the rapes,and the disappeared women and some parts of some of the disappeared found at a pig farm in the suburbs
    I quit hockey watching decades ago altho I did catch the last part of the the men's Olympic game
    I was annoyed with CTV the hockey game night because they interrupted twice So You Think you can Dance with their breaking news about some after game fires
    causing us Canadians to miss an African dance performance and a hip hop one.
    I find it symbolic that automobiles were overturned and set fire to because for me, that is the big black blotch pasted all over Van and area,bumper to bumper traffic and in the burbs wall to wall malls