Terrence Chan

follow me as I play poker and look for new ways to get punched in the face

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Ashamed in Vancouver: The city I love, and the idiots I have to share it with
terrencechan
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.

The idiots are not the city.

The idiots are currently the public face of the city, but the rioters are only a tiny percentage of the population-- few bad apples really don't represent the entire orchard. Don't be saddened by the whole city, because most of the city feels the same way you do.

I think that was very well written, thank you.
Pro sports (and some amateur situations, i do live in the land of the the Ohio State Buckeyes, semipros that they are) generates huge interest and emotion in people, and millions of them live together in close proximity. It is no great surprise that some (very small) percentage of that group would be wild and weird and destructive in this way. Too much emotion generated, too big a group statistically to NOT happen.
I wouldnt sweat it, I lived in Philadelphia for a long time, and the part of the set in that city that was violent had to be larger, and more often violent prone, than that in Vancouver. You live in a great city.
But every city has too many people, and too much emotion potential, for this type of thing to never occur.
Just a thought. and good luck this year in Vegas.

Maybe the success of the 2010 Olympics went to their heads because to me, they seemed totally unprepared.

Having been in downtown Denver after the Broncos won their first Super Bowl in '98 and the Avs Stanley Cup in 2001, my reaction then was that the cops over reacted, showing up in riot gear and tear gassing to get people off the streets. But, maybe not. Maybe shutting it down before it really gets going was the right thing to do. (And even so, I think there were a couple of cars that got burned after the Super Bowl. After the Stanley Cup, there really wasn't much negative going on except for a few people started some bonfires with the "extra" edition of the paper they handed out as you left the Pepsi Center.)

People are idiots.


Edited at 2011-06-16 05:35 pm (UTC)

boston shut it down last night before it got started. i didn't follow too closely but apparently the bruins and the garden were going to let people party there but the mayor said no, and also warned bars to stop serving in third period, and various other sanctions (just what i heard on the radio yesterday on the way home).

it is a shame that there is a large segment of population that expects this 'right' to riot after a sport championship in the their town, iwn or lose.

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2011/06/14/no-game-7-viewing-party-will-be-held-at-td-garden/

“Some people get exuberant have a few and act up, and you know, this is a sport, and a lot of families who like to watch sports bring kids, and I wouldn’t want to send the wrong message to anyone,” said Mayor Menino.

As someone who lives just a few hours south, and considered coming up for game 7, just to be in the area, as there was no way I could afford a ticket, I am certainly glad I didn't. As brutal as it was just listening to the game on the radio (while I was stuck at work), I can only imagine how bad it must have been to be up there in person watching. However, those feelings can't even compare to how bad I would feel watching a town get torn apart. The mob mentality is strong, and always so sad. Great post.

Riots in Canada

(Anonymous)

2011-06-16 05:46 pm (UTC)

Let me preface this post by saying there are idiots in all cities, mine included (L.A.).

What makes this situation interesting is the fact that most don't expect this in Vancouver, or Canada in general. Detroit, Chicago, L.A. Ok, but Canada?

However, my experience in Canada is a tale of two types of people. I first visited Canada as an adult in 98, taking son to they hockey hall of fame for his 10th birthday. It was such a great trip, the people were so nice. Over the next 3 years I took my son to hockey camps in Victoria and Edmonton. My warm feelings continued, people were great and I had nothing but respect for all Canada's people.

As my son entered midget hockey everything changed (01/02). He had teams that would travel to Canada for tournaments and were met with hostility and ill will. This was seen from Toronto to surrey. As he made his way into juniors (us juniors not major juniors) the situation only got worse. Both parents and kids were overtly hostile. At the world juniors in Vancouver the crowd was so hostile his teammates were fighting 40 year olds after the USA vs Canada game.

What I have come to realize is there are two factions in Canada. The Canadians I like and enjoy being around (these are the Canadians I have met in poker rooms) and the jocks of Canada. This ia a group that is similar to some raider fans in L.A. Unfortunetly, both groups love hockey.

So, this display of idiocy isn't really a surprise to me. I don't see this as a black mark on Vancouver. This is a group of idiots (not a small one) that makes all Canadians look bad on this stage and much smaller ones as well.

-crancspan

I think there wouldn't have been a riot if Vancouver had won, actually. Studies of football suggest that there's a big increase in violence if the hometeam suffers an upset loss, but not if they win or suffer an expected loss.

Here's a freakonomics blog post that makes that same point.

Not that this excuses anything. I'm surprised and disappointed, too. I expect that sort of thing in Boston. In Vancouver... not so much.

Of all the cities to lose the Stanley Cup, only one has rioted. That city is Vancouver.

No, I think Terrence had it right, those idiots were there to cause mayhem no matter what the outcome was.

Vancouver

(Anonymous)

2011-06-16 06:05 pm (UTC)

Just shows that a small minority of people in Vancouver are exactly the same as people all over the world. All those idiots are the same and Vancouver is not exempt from morons.

Celtics:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEqwt81wiN4

Sox:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa8zNDg7-qs

sad to see

(Anonymous)

2011-06-16 06:08 pm (UTC)

the 1 dude said I do not think there would be a riot if they won? does that justify it? geeze gimme a break

Terence, there are idiots everywhere. I believe we have taken natural selection on of the process. We keep trying to save people from themselves. We make it illegal to ride your snowmobile out on melting lake ice; don’t go on the train tracks when the gate is down. How can we expect natural selection to work if we keep the idiots from ending their live prematurely? Did you see the video of the idiot who jumped up onto a burning car and fell into the fire? Surely there is no way he should have lived to adulthood without intervention. The morons are reproducing faster that the reasonable people. It’s going to get worse. The dumbasses are going to be the majority soon.
Your city government let you down. It was going to happen, win or lose. The police should have been deployed in riot gear on every street corner and come down fast and hard on anyone who couldn’t control themselves.

My parents happened to be on their second honeymoon in Vancouver during the '94 series. They caught word about game 7 (despite not being hockey fans) and got out of town the evening beforehand. Turned out to be a good thing -- the way my dad tells it, the riot started right outside their hotel.

I recall hearing in '94 that Vancouver was the first city to riot because they lost the Stanley Cup. I think that they're still the only city to do it once, let alone twice.

For what it's worth, most of the human population can be boiled down to a few, classless traits. It doesn't matter where in the world you are -- assuming anything but the worst from a group of over 100 people is likely to be a mistake.

Still, it's that same improbability that makes it powerful when people do the right thing.

If Terrence doesn't win the WSOP Main Event I think we should all start a LiveJournal riot.

No riot if Johnny Chan doesn't win.

Wait...

Yes, very much encapsulates my feelings on the matter.

Worst part is that the city and team aren't taking responsibility. They are claiming "these are not Canucks fans they are anarchists and hooligans pretending to be Canucks fans."

Yes, but...

(Anonymous)

2011-06-18 08:17 am (UTC)

As an outsider I was def shocked by the events that occurred...hopefully people/press focus on the positive actions after the riot that I think show the true character of the city....

"By mid-morning, scores of citizen volunteers were helping city crews clean up the downtown mess, and a painted sign on a board covering a smashed window at a Hudson's Bay department store, read: "On behalf of my team and my city I'm sorry...."

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