Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Do You Rationalize a Riot?


How can anyone rationalize reasons for a riot?

There’s no question that the behavior of some rowdy idiots further spoiled a rotten evening for Vancouver Canucks fans across the city, British Columbia and around the globe. To lose Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, no matter the fashion, is maddening enough. However, for people to react as if losing is not a proper reason to set of vandalism and violence is a major error.

There’s never a good reason to riot. Never.

Many lamented that it’s just a game; a natural reaction of course, and at its core, they’re right. Although sporting events tend to represent communities on a grandiose level, they don’t hold the gravitas or day-to-day importance of schools, hospitals, police and fire houses and political office… okay, not the last so much. They are just games, no matter the money and promotion at stake.

Yet, in saying that these folks are rioting over a game is somewhat excusing that rioting for any other reason is justified. It’s not.

Many questioned why these ‘fans’ of the losing team riot. As if doing it for winning a championship is perfectly acceptable. Any form of vandalism, even if it doesn’t lead for a full-scale riot, has grave consequences. Boston Police and Emerson College can tell you this.

For those who can comprehend a politically-charged riot over anything else; admittedly, I want to agree with you. However, there’s a problem with that train of thought. The gravity of the reason doesn’t replace damaged property. Flipping cars, looting stores or fighting other drunk fools because you’re upset about a team’s loss or a bad economy causes more pain to yourself and others than whatever you’re feeling at that very moment.

Communities are destroyed all the same. People are maimed, maybe even killed, all the same.
No matter the so-called reason, there's no justification for this.

A prominent tweeter who I respect made a drastic error in wondering why we’re surprised that this happened because the sport itself seems to foster this behavior. The idea that being allowed to fight in hockey has some direct correlation to the abhorrent behavior of a bunch of rowdy idiots is one of the most shortsighted assumptions I have ever heard.

Football – ‘pigskin’, that is – has more controlled violence with every play, but it’s still violence nonetheless. Is the game itself responsible for those few fans that decide to fight in the stands during rivalry games?

Was the heated rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants responsible for the beating of Bryan Stow back in April? [Though someone tried to say he had it coming.]Are so-called ‘brawls’ in baseball in direct correlation with any fisticuffs that may occur during and after the games?

Are any of the comically bad shove-fests in basketball an influence on those same kinds of unsavory moments between fans?

It’s easy to allude to the tweeter’s reasons for that belief, but at its base, there’s a disdain for the game of hockey. To each her or his own, right? Yet, to paint a broad stroke based on such nonsense is just that; nonsense.

This guy is just beyond dumb.

Finally, it’s hard to understand the nationalism behind all of the chatter. My fellow Americans don’t have a glowing history of being good losers and we certainly don’t know how to be good winners, either. If someone said that this is a result of almost twenty years of pent up Canadian aggression for not bring the Stanley Cup home, they’d be wrong. To think those that believe Wednesday’s rioters displayed un-Canadian behavior is even more so. It’s unbecoming of any person, regardless of geography.


It’s all a shame because for the last two months, we witnessed some outstanding games from the National Hockey League. Game 7 of this Stanley Cup Final – featuring two teams that apparently wouldn’t rate well for a championship series; a Canadian franchise and an American team with little national recognition – scored the 2nd highest-rated league game since 1974. It was the best involving a Canadian team since Montreal bested Philadelphia in six games in 1973. Not counting for the enormous viewing at bars throughout New England, many Canadian markets and true hockey depots stateside, Game 7 was the apex of the 2010-11 season as the league continues gaining tremendous momentum. It was a game – and series – that lacked the superstars outsiders to the sport demand, but not the passion and intensity that made you watch in the first place.

However, for many, it’ll be remembered for the idiocy of a few that couldn’t handle “wait until next year”.

[All images courtesy of Reuters via the Vancouver Sun]

1 comment:

Attack Ferret said...

I don't care for hockey at all, that particular game just seemed like a thinly veiled reason for brandead simpletons to go out and 'f**k the system'.

It's incredibly disheartening to see people standing around filming it with their iPhones, and it just saddens me that people can find justification without reason to just go and smash things up.

What does it honestly take for invalids to be content?

Yeah, power to you. I hope all involved get what they deserve in the long run.