Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sin City

I am a very proud Canadian.

Whenever I travel, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be born and raised in this country - a country of free healthcare, friendly and humble citizens, and (thankfully) a stable government and economy that allows me many opportunities and assistance. It also helps that it's pretty darn beautiful to look at, coast to coast.

It's not often that people or events in my country waver this patriotism of mine, but in moments like this it is hard to be proud:

Via The Globe and Mail
You can read the full story here. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hearing when I turned on the news this morning. Not just rioting, but there was also word that someone was stabbed?! I was immediately disgusted and surprised. This is not the kind of image I want my beloved country to be projecting around the world.

The fact that this happened at all is completely shameful, but the fact that it happened over a hockey game is just plain ridiculous. What ever happened to sportsmanship? What ever happened to dignity and respect? I realize your team lost, but IT'S JUST A GAME. They have lost many other times and will probably lose many more times in the future. Get over it.

Now, I'm not much of a sports fan so I suppose I cannot fully understand the zeal and passion that people have for such games. But, even though I am not a proud sports fan, I am (as I mentioned) a proud Canadian, which means I am going to join every other person and their dog across the country in cheering on a Canadian team whenever they get to some kind of important event. I was as disappointed as anyone to hear that Vancouver lost - they must feel like shit - but that doesn't mean I am going to run out into my street and start lighting stuff on fire and turning cars over like the Hulk. I thought to myself "Aw, that really sucks. But good job Boston" and continued getting ready for work. It's disgusting how seriously some people take things that are so small, and how far they take their frustration when things don't go their way. I don't know why I continue to be surprised by such things, but I do.

Unfortunately, the actions of a small group reflect badly on the majority whether we like it or not. I am sure people are seeing this on the news and thinking Vancouverites (and maybe even Canadians, in turn) are a bunch of sore losing neanderthals. You can't tell me that when you watch riots in other countries on the news that you don't judge the entire country/city based on it. I hope that people around the world watching this remember that these riots were caused by a small group of people (probably mostly drunk young men - at least that's what it looks like from the photos and footage) and the majority of people in Vancouver (hockey fans and not) are also horrified over this behaviour.

The majority of people in Vancouver went home last night like normal, civilized people and did not participate in this senseless violence. I saw many people on the news this morning exclaiming their shame and embarrassment. And judging by the notes on Twitter and Facebook I have read this morning, people all over the country are shocked, shamed and embarrassed. I feel badly that the majority of people that live in Vancouver are experiencing this and have the eyes of the world on them over something so silly.

This event was posted on Facebook this morning, and it is proof of the wonderful humanity of the majority of people in Vancouver. It is really great to see the majority take the power back and refuse to let their reputations be tarnished thanks to a few drunken, angry people. It is proof that even though human beings can be enormous dick-heads sometimes, they can also be very smart and compassionate and just like groups can be rallied to commit acts of violence, they can also be rallied to help and make positive change.

Very classy, Vancouver. You rock.

So, even though early this morning I was extremely angry and disappointed with the events of last night, I am still proud - proud to see actions being taken to counteract the negativity, proud to see disgusted people speak out and condemn these events as unacceptable, proud to see people do something about it.

I didn't want to get on a soapbox about this, and I am sure I have not addressed anything here that has not already been argued and debated on other social media, but this kind of behaviour just really grinds my gears. One of the things I will never understand is how and why people cannot just act in a mature and civilized manner (one of those mysteries of life that will never be solved).

I can't help but feel connected to anything that happens in Vancouver. I was actually born there, we moved to Halifax when I was about 2 years old, so technically I am FROM there  (though when asked where "home" is I will always say Nova Scotia). I almost feel as though there is an invisible thread running from my heart, across the miles and many landscapes of my country, all the way to the opposite end, the other "bookend" of Canada, tying me to that place. And in that way, any events that happen to those people, also happens to me.

Weird (and corny) metaphor, but true.

I am not happy about what happened, but I am still happy to have this thread reaching to Vancouver, and I am still very happy to be Canadian.

In conclusion, may I suggest that those hockey fans take a little trip down to Boston? Looks like they could learn a thing or two from them about manners.


Allison Webster said...

Yeah, I was surprised to wake up to this news as well. Feels like a repeat of what happened in Toronto during the G20...damn hockey hooligans.

Let's not embarrass ourselves Canada...jeez...we're supposed to be polite! 

Sarah A Hildebrand said...

I actually think it would have been worse if they won.

 I think we almost have to address the issue that this has become the natural outcome of hockey games in Canada (well, Stanley Cup finals at least). It does not matter which Canadian (or Canadien) team was playing, it would have happened anywhere in Canada. 

Although, I do not agree with the comment: "You can't tell me that when you watch riots in other countries on the news that you don't judge the entire country/city based on it." Personally, I have always recognized the fact that the rioters are usually the minority,  as they are stupid people looking to destroy for "fun." I've never thought it was the sentiment of a country or city. Hopefully this event will have those who have not realized this about riots understand. 

Kim Humes said...

Yes you're right - I definitely think this is a trend in terms of hockey in this country and it's really silly. I suppose it's part of our national identity so people are naturally going to feel passionately about that, but there definitely are groups that go beyond passionate to obsessive and I don't really get it. Not really sure how the issue can be addressed either, but perhaps it is something that should be addressed. Hmmm, something to think about

Kim Humes said...

I know! I mean it's such a stereotype that we are all polite, but I do think there is truth behind it for the most part. I forgot about the G20 thing! That was quite messy too. It's a tricky thing bc there's not really a way to stop crowds from ever getting rowdy - it's just one of those things that will happen whether we like it or not - but on the other hand you want to think that something should be done about it...but what? Ya know?

Amanda said...

The spirit of everyone coming out to help the next day really aided in the city's healing. It was just so fucking embarrassing. I think 99% of Vancouver's residents, myself included, we just in pure shock. There are "I'm Sorry" signs all over the remnants of destruction, and messages of Peace posted all over downtown, and I snapped a couple as I waited for a bus downtown last night. I'll share 'em on the blog this weekend!

Kim Humes said...

Yay I can't wait to see those! The response of ppl in the wake of it really was heartwarming - just goes to show that most ppl thought it was ridiculous

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