Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oh, Vancouver . . .

Last night's events were saddening, horrifying, and, above all, embarrassing. One of my daughters phoned just as I heard the news that rioting had begun after Boston's win. She lives close to the stadium, was walking home from the gym and saw young men smashing a car window. Although she felt relatively safe at that moment with riot police on horses nearby, good sense prevailed and she hurried home and inside. I'm assuming the rest of the family living downtown did the same, but I did some fretting at the time.

Vancouverites on the whole are appalled by the crowd behaviour; already there are Facebook pages set up, one to help identify rioters for police and ensure prosecution, the other to organize a clean-up, to regain a sense of the city as a decent, safe, place filled with generally peaceable and helpful citizens. The sense of ourselves that we felt and represented to the world during the Olympics. I've seen comments on Facebook (from non-hockey fans, like myself) wondering what it is about hockey that incites people to violence.  My daughter was adamant last night that the offenders she saw were not really hockey fans -- rather, they were looking for an excuse for mindless bad behaviour. I suspect she's right -- certainly, of the many, many hockey fans I know, none would ever extend their frustration over a game into random destruction of other people's property.

My daughter's in-laws-to-be are visiting from the other side of the country and from another country. I'm mortified that they witnessed such a negative side of the city. But we have almost a week before the wedding to show them what we're really like, out here on the generally-laid-back coast. They arrive on our little island today, and with the garden in full bloom and the sun shining brightly, with good food and laughter, getting to know each other while toasting to our children's future together, let's see if we can't replace those disturbing images of the riot with some peaceful West Coast tranquility.

13 comments:

  1. It's disgusting to see those idiots wreak havoc on a city street.
    I feel a huge sense of shame and it's embarrassing for all BC residents.

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  2. Mater, I must tell you we were in Spain a couple of years ago when they won the World Cup Soccer. The mayhem was unbelievable. We were there for a Global Energy Conference. Transportation was affected all over Madrid. Bus drivers to and from the conference walked off the buses and left visitors stranded. Some people had to walk many miles back to hotels in the center of the city. Riot behavior is so scary. It happens all over and seems to be an adolescent male behavior. Your visitors will not condemn BC. Your graciousness will prevail. Blessings for a wonderful wedding weekend.

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  3. I am glad to know that your family is ok and wish you a wonderful weekend of festivities.

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  4. That really is so sad. As Marguerite says, you will show your in-laws-to-be what your city is really all about! P.

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  5. When I saw these headlines last night, I could not believe my eyes. DH and I visited Vancouver before the Olympics and I was very impressed by its diversity, sophistication and setting on the edge of the wilderness. I hope that is what your future in-laws see as well.

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  6. I think that sports-related violence rarely has anything to do with the sport - it's a sort of mob mentality thing, and it's very ugly. Having said that, some sports seem to have more of a culture of mob-like fans, such as soccer in the UK. I'm sure you will show your guests a much more lovely side of Vancouver!

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  7. Here in Montreal, I stopped by St Viateur bagels to buy a bag during the 3d period. Three young men were working: the cutter, with a nearly bathtub-sized piece of dough on a slab, a baker feeding them into a roaring furnace, and a cashier. Each was working without taking his eyes off the game playing on TV for one second. Each a visible minority. Marvelous sight.

    It's wonderful when sport unites and sad when it divides.

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  8. I am so excited for your upcoming wedding. Especially since my brother just got married, that part where the two families meet, and get to know eachother a bit, all under the large tent of happiness for the bride and groom. So lovely.

    Sports violence comes and goes. It didn't even really show up on the news much around here. Not to discount the distress, only to say that perhaps your guests will not carry any baggage about it.

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  9. I have to say I loathe sport mentality. It's like legitimized thuggery. And I'm so sorry to hear about what's happened to your weekend town. I was incredibly demoralized by the rioting in TO after the G20. I'm quite surprised by how quickly everything was cleaned up. I didn't imagine it would be so in the past, visually, so soon. xo

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  10. You were saddened, I, and the rest of the English press sighed a deep sigh of relief, as according to the worlds press our 'sports' fans are some of the most badly behaved in the world. But actually what your daughter witnessed is more accurate, they are really just hangers on using anything as an excuse for a punch up. You can take the caveman out of the cave....!

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  11. This is not a bad reflection on Vancouver; just a bunch of hooligans with too much testosterone! My husband viewed
    some of this turmoil from his Vancouver hotel room....glad he was safely inside!
    Enjoy a weekend of pre-wedding festivities in your
    glorious garden......your roses are simply exquisite.

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  12. I would think these things are usually started by youths looking for trouble and it is possible that some combination of excitement and testosterone, combined with whatever else is going on in people's lives and their individual tendencies to join in, or not, are what is critical. I would not be surprised that the general excitement might lead to a crowd more susceptible to succumbing to mob mentality than say a crowd of opera-goers, but I am sure it also depends on a complicated interrelationship between many factors.

    I don't think it is necessarily a poor reflection on all of Vancouver, and I am also sure your charm and good nature will offset the unpleasant background events more than handily.

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  13. They were serving large amounts of alcohol to a mob of young men watching a sport that glorifies violence (see Don Cherry). Why was this result so unexpected?

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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