Friday, June 17, 2011

The Not So Suprising Vancouver Riots

It's not like there are hasn't already been plenty written about it, but I may as well put my two cents in on the topic of the Vancouver riots.

So, last night, I thought I would turn on the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs to see who would wind being champions and subsequently heroes to legions of hockey loving people. I haven't watched hockey in at least two years, and I can't say I am a huge fan of the sport. But, because Vancouver was involved and seemingly every other Canadian was watching the game, I thought I should as well just in case the subject came up in the future while talking to fellow Canadians and I wanted to participate in the conversation.

I watched hockey for one hour. It wasn't a great game as far as I am concerned, though I admit I don't really know how to judge a good game. Anyway, it didn't really matter. The long and the short of it is that Vancouver lost and the other guys won and then all hell broke loose and I ended up watching one hour of bad hockey and three hours of top notch rioting.

You may have seen the images and the videos and the reams of analysis that have already blanketed television sets, newspapers and computers across the country. If not, then you probably don't have television, newspapers or a computer. Here is a nice little summary of events from the CBC.

Okay, with all of that out of the way, let's get to the opinion part of this. Did people really expect this not to happen? I wasn't even in the city and I expected there to be a riot, or at least some disturbances, win or lose. Why? It's hockey. Now, that may sound unfair to say. It's not like there haven't been other Stanley Cup wins and loses that haven't ended in complete anarchy. What gives? Well, sure, all out riots like this one don't happen everyday which is good. But, I don't think it is far off to say that what happened is partly related to the culture of violence associated with hockey.

We got an arrogant, big mouth, redneck on the national TV (one, Mr. Don Cherry) glorifying violence on the rink and calling those who don't fight "pansies" while hundreds of thousands lap his moronic alpha-male BS up like milk in a....I don't know...thing that milk is in. When a fight happens on the ice, the crowd goes WILD and of course it's shown on the highlight reel during the sportscast with slack jawed, gelled up, fake tanned sports announcers commenting on the "nice left shots" or whatever being used by the buffoons beating the snot out of one another. After a fight, the players head to their penalty boxes, which are more like King's throwns, where people worship at the foot of the tough, brave heroes that end up in there after trying to knock what's left of the opposing teams teeth out for whatever the frick reason.

Then, THEN, you add alcohol into the mix. Who sponsors all of this? Beer companies. Who makes millions off of this? Beer companies. What do these fans do while watching hockey? Drink beer. Drink beer and go WOOOOOO! There is a lot of of WOOOOOOing and high fiving among drunk hockey fans I have come to notice. Oh the alcohol that flows. What was the first thing that happened to trigger the riots? Beer bottles were thrown at the giant screens put in downtown Vancouver so people could watch the game. That's rather telling, isn't it?

So, then comes the finals in Vancouver, with big screen TV's and thousands upon thousands of people flooding into the city to watch the game on them. It's a beautiful night, the beer is flowing, the WOOOOOOOing is at a fever pitch and the hockey is on. And it's not JUST hockey. It's THE event of the year...the final game of the playoffs and the local team can win it all, or lose it all. And they lost it all. And that completed the creation of the perfect storm.

BOOM. The rest is history. Fans riot, burn cars, burn jerseys, burn themselves, burn others, break stuff, steal stuff, jump on stuff, drink more stuff, do a whole lot more WOOOOOOOOOOOOing, fight each other, fight police, fight dogs, fight whatever gets in their way,  drink some more, throw around some porta-potties, some newspaper boxes, some construction material, some other rioters. Oh it was a joyous night, wasn't it?

It has happened before, it happened last night, and it will happen again. Next time, try not to look so surprised.

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