What can one say that hasn't been said by everyone? In a matter of less than 12 hours it's already become a cliché to say that the events of Wednesday night were a disgraceful embarrassment. I'm deeply and incredibly saddened by my city, the city which -- no matter where I was in the world -- was the one I identified with. The city in which I was raised and that I ultimately thought that one day I would raise my family and my kids. I've always been so proud to be able to travel abroad and say that I am from Vancouver. Everyone I said it to always beamed with jealousy, saying they'd loved their trip to Vancouver or that they'd always heard it was great.
The line from the Vancouver Police Department and the politicians is that some "small number of troublemakers" were responsible for this. I was there, and it was no small number. There were thousands on the streets. Maybe not all of them were actively overturning cars, smashing windows and tossing stones, but just being in the mob at all makes you a moron.
The other line that's frequently trotted out is that "these are not hockey fans". Yet one moment of the footage stands out to me in particular, a guy in a Henrik Sedin #33 jersey smashing a burning car. Seriously, a Henrik jersey? This is a guy considered one of the classiest people in the entire NHL, a true team leader and a guy who quietly donated millions of dollars to Children's Hospital. And I just wonder about this mentality. I was in the building for Game 7 and when that 3-0 goal went in, I was emotionally done. I can't even tell you what happened in the third period because I was barely watching and pretty much just forlorn. I was fighting back tears in the second intermission talking to Adam when he summed it up: "We're grown adults. How do we let ourselves get so emotionally invested in watching guys skate up and down the ice?" I had no energy in the third period, and the prevailing mood in the arena seemed to be with me. I planned to make it through the presentation of the Stanley Cup, but I decided I didn't have it in me to watch the Bruins skate it around, and left early. And thus I was one of the first people in my group to see the fire and clouds of smoke first emerging from near the Canada Post building on Georgia Street.
I just didn't get it because I wasn't angry. There was nothing to be angry about. Boston was clearly the better hockey team. Better goaltending, better defensive coverage, and scoring contributions from everyone when they needed them. We got outplayed, what's there to be angry about? I was just sad, because once again Lucy pulled the football away when I came running up to kick it. Where do these guys find the energy to riot? And why are they so happy? I mean these guys are wearing Canucks gear, why aren't they as devastated as I am? How does lighting a car on fire make them feel better? I was watching these guys and there is nothing but pure joy in their faces as they wantonly vandalize and destroy the property of others.
As I talked about in my last post being a pro sports fan doesn't really make sense. As Adam and I watched the riot on television, Adam tweeted that we should lose our team for this. He explained further to Spencer and I that he is just angry, because he doesn't want to be a fan of the same team these people are fans of. He wants to hate what they like. And of course that doesn't make any sense, but it's totally understandable. We are a joke. I watched the news and saw Boston celebrate their win in a positive way. They mentioned that there were just 7 arrests in Boston. As badly as they treated us in Boston, they ended up being orders of magnitude more classy than us. And it has nothing to do with winning versus losing. These people in Vancouver would have done this whether it was 4-0 Boston, 2-1 Boston or 12-0 Vancouver. It's just an absolute joke and I'm embarrassed to be a Vancouverite. I'm sick to my stomach that I don't get to wear my pride in being from here on my sleeve any more. After tonight, we don't deserve to be proud.
I was only 13 in 1994, so I asked Adam whether 2011 was worse, and he said that it definitely was. All I'd heard going into Game 6 and Game 7 was that the police were ready and they did not expect a repeat of '94. Maybe the success of the 2010 Olympics went to their heads because to me, they seemed totally unprepared. The first cops on the scene did not have riot gear. They were not in formation. They were badly outnumbered and it could have gone very bad in that period where they were awaiting reinforcements from other cities. Speaking of which, why were those reinforcements only called in after shit went bad? They should have had riot police from other Canadian cities ready to go. There should have been a big show of force as a deterrent. Someone should get fired for this because it was easily preventable and they fucked up.
But in the end it's not about the cops, it's about the idiots. I mean what can you say about this guy, for just one example. This tosses aside any idea that us Canadians are better, or that our west-coasters are laid-back hippies. When you get enough of us together, we're as fucked up as anyone else, and we don't even have a good reason. We live in a beautiful city with a consistently solid economy and high standard of living. While I have no love for their politics, at least when the left-anarchists smash things up at G7 and G20 summits they are doing it for a reason, misguided as it may be. These retards are overturning cars and lighting them on fire just so they can yell "wooooohoooooo!" like it's an awesome party. Adam says he doesn't want to cheer for the same team as these people. I don't even want to be from the same city as them.
I could go on for a while and I had a few more thoughts, but my flight to Vegas is boarding, and never have I been so glad to get out of this city. Every year when I leave for the WSOP it's always bittersweet because Vancouver is so awesome this time of year. This year I can't get out of here fast enough.
- Ashamed in Vancouver: The city I love, and the idiots I have to share it with