Posted: June 16, 2011 in NHL

I’m upset. I lost in a game of twenty-one last night on the driveway. It was really close but man I’m upset, I should go burn some cars.

That’s got to be the rationalization and thought process that goes through these fans’ minds when they take to the streets and lower themselves to the classless act of rioting no? Someone beat me or my team so as a result I’m going to trash my home city and attack fellow country men/women to get my anger out, right? Because for the life of me I cannot put myself in their shoes and come to a rational or logical conclusion as to what sort of anger would make me lash out like that.

Let’s back up a bit and start on a more positive note first. Congratulations to the Boston Bruins for your hard earned Stanley Cup championship last night. You deserved this win far more than the Canucks did and here is why I think this way:

1) Vancouver had home ice advantage and yet played like a beer league team on the biggest stage in hockey. Everyone dreams of scoring the goal in a game 7 and yet no one except Ryan Kesler seemed to want that goal last night.

2) In the last two wins by Boston, including game 7, they simply outworked Vancouver. They got to more pucks, were more physical all around (although I don’t condone punching in the face to entice a fight/penalty, play the game.) and as we saw in Boston scored more goals, which usually helps your cause.

3) Vancouver gave me the impression with their play that they felt they were the Miami Heat, in that they played expecting to win. As if these games were a mere formality until their moment of glory in front of a home crowd. Sorry Vancouver, now you’ve learned that nothing in sports is a guarantee and everything must be earned.

I could list more reasons but these are the few main points that come to mind that I can defend the strongest and I feel mean the most. You have to want the cup, to yearn for it; it has to be the epitome of your existence on the ice (not in real life but once those skates are on that’s what you’re thinking about). Every time you’re skating, practicing, training, the cup is why you’re doing it.

This is how I would attack it at least, but hey I’m just a purest who believes naively that the sport is about winning, whether the sport calls for you to win as an individual (tennis, golf) or to win as a team.

The Boston Bruins showed true resolve in these playoffs and my hat goes off to them. They won three, seven game series in this year’s playoffs, something that has never been done before.

Tim Thomas, whose career took him to the ECHL and Finland only to have it end with him getting his Stanley Cup win and being only the second American born player to receive the Conn Smythe trophy, also the oldest.

However it was not all glamour and sunshine in Vancouver on this night. I was extremely proud of the Vancouver fans to start off the night. They sang the Canadian anthem beautifully when called upon by Mark Donnelly as he typically does.

Then to end the night, instead of racing for the exits the Vancouver faithful stayed and cheered on their team in the final seconds, thanking them for a great season and a long playoff run.

Everything after the game made my blood boil and is one of the things I hate the most in sports, riots. They have no place in society must less over a sport result that you happen to be upset with. This has been evidenced countless times over any soccer event it seems, however they tie societal and political motives to that sometimes as well.

Last night however I saw Canucks jerseys and t-shirts committing these heinous acts of vigilante violence and it made me think back to other events that cause uncalled-for rioting. As a proud, red and white bleeding Canadian it makes me angry that some of my people put on this display and opened us up to critical, although unjust, comments from onlookers around the sports world. As a sports fan I’m just disappointed.

I saw the pictures of drunk and misguided fans challenging the police who were sent there to control the situation best they could when confronted by 100,000+ angry fans. Do you know what I saw? The fans in jerseys were challenging the police, egging them on almost begging them to attack.

This just has no place in sports, C’MON PEOPLE! Yet this is sadly not the only event I remember this happening in, but like many problems I have in the world of sports today it needs to stop.

The last two NBA championships that were won by the Los Angeles Lakers prior to this years win by Dallas provided us with another example of poor fandom. LA is notorious for riots after sports victories, probably a result of the gang population and their quest to find any excuse to engage in violence with anyone.

The city even publicized that there would be extra police protection issued in anticipation of the rioting, yet it still happened. Damage to personal property, looting, bottles thrown at police and police cars and even dumpsters set on fire in the streets.

Let us not forget the great city of Montreal, some of the best rioters in sports. Call their team a bunch of losers and it seems they’ll take to the streets, usually with the same tactics as Vancouver. They burn and flip cars, yell and throw things at the police, loot stores break windows, etc.

Why are these people so angry? It’s a game and I live for passion, believe me I feel it when my team loses or a team I hate wins. But I don’t go around breaking things in my house, which I would then have to clean up and replace.

No, I take the emotion like a man, feel upset inside, get frustrated or what have you but then its over. I’m not saying that these fans need to stop feeling emotion, but they need to learn to control it.

Did anyone during this looting stop to think that maybe instead of lashing out at people who have no control over this situation they could console each other? What did the city of Vancouver do to the people? Provide them with a great experience of cheering in the streets? For shame Vancouver city, how dare you allow your fans to gather together and cheer outside the arena and have a great experience as both a city and a sports fan.

The worst part is that this could ruin any sort of these fan gatherings for the rest of us going forward. Can you imagine in Toronto if the Leafs were ever be in a game 7 situation? The city would literally be shaking the whole day, I would be downtown myself cheering on with the 1000’s of other fans, but I would be scared if they lost.

Fans need to control themselves, if not for their own cities for all the others. You cannot conduct this kind of behaviour and feel that it is appropriate and also, not consider the repercussions that may come unto others.

When you screw up like this everyone sees it and they remember it. Now all cities again will be on alert for the next big event, this will be another chapter in the book of fan stupidity and may lead to the streets being closed to fans for similar big events.

I can only hope that amongst all the hung over depressed Canucks fans today, they’re thinking to themselves what idiots and clowns they made of themselves yesterday. There is no justification for these actions, only embarrassment and blame to be received. You didn’t deserve to win, if not for the play but for your behaviour. There is still a thing called class in sports and you have a long way to go before learning what that word means.

  1. Jeff says:

    Well said Mr. Preston.
    I liked your point on how cities will have to think twice before allowing a massive public congregation for a sporting event, at least in Vancouver, probably all of Canada, and maybe even south of the border too.

    Another thought is that with all the terrible human rights violations, freedoms being squashed, and just general injustices in Canada and worldwide, this, THIS, is what riles up people….But then again, rioting isn’t all about anger or emotion, but anonymity.

    If people want to smash something, I’m sure they have a home full of stuff that is breakable too.

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