Thursday, June 16, 2011
Respect for the real losers
I kind of dreamed about this post. Like it would never come true so I might as well have thought about what I would say since it wouldn't come true and a dream is all I had. Now that it has come true, I forgot about everything I was going to say.
I am referring, of course, to the Vancouver Canucks being upset by the Boston Bruins in their own building in front of a sell out crowd inside and a rowdy sum of 100 000 outside. I often look at such instances with a skewed brow, poetically fulfilling. I'm not quite sure why I think this way at all. It is similar to when I was rooting for the NY Giants to ruin Tom Brady and his perfect season. There is a deep, raw, and curious taste to these kinds of events that I, for some reason, enjoy.
I am by no means a Bruins fan. I don't hate them, I just don't really care. The truth is that it's kind of nice that they won the Cup. They hadn't won it since 1972 and the last time they were in it I was watching it at my piano teacher's house for reasons I cannot recall. I took piano lessons for a few weeks and it is strange that I remember watching hockey on one of those evenings.
So, when the Canucks unexpectedly forgot to show up to game 7, I was at a loss for words. The fight in the dog was thrown a bone. Make no mistake, Tim Thomas was a human magnet. Unbelievable goaltending that was ultimately, but not exclusively, the reason that Canada remains cupless since 1993. The Bruins came out onto the ice and willed the cup into their hands. The Canucks stood around and watched them take it out of their own building. I actually think that they had a hand in presenting the award.
I thought that I would feel joy. They could finally take the "Canucks Cup Quest" sign off of the TSN.ca website. The 1st round comments of "Ryan Kesler being in the Conn Smythe trophy conversation" are put to bed. All of the anticipation, all of the biting and diving and whining and game 5 post-game trash talking are all whispered away in the salty Vancouver sea winds. But the feeling remained... I felt really bad for the Canuck's fans.
I'm not talking about the people in the streets with the jerseys on their backs and the weapons in their hands. I'm not talking about the thousands of bystanders who did nothing but Youtube the whole thing to death. I am talking about the Trevor Linden fans, the Cliff Ronning and Pavel Bure fans. The ones that have had to sit around and listen to Oilers and Flames fans talk about the cups they won many decades ago. These are the real losers. Well, the players are the real losers, but they get paid millions of dollars and have a nice 3 month break starting tomorrow.
And by 'losers' I don't mean 'losers'. The real 'losers' are the ones that were taking turns beating up a helpless Smart car, or the teenage girls who were trying to bash a Sears store window in. The real 'losers' will hopefully be getting punished for destroying their city.
Now, the criminals are the ones who beat up a helpless security guard, like a page out of Douglas Coupland's Hey Nostradamus!., only the security guard didn't shoot anybody. These people should actually see jail time. You'd think that with thousands of cameras circling the mob there would be ample coverage to throw a lot of these guys in the slammer.
Anyways, back to the 'losers', the true Canuck fans. The one's who watched it at home because there is no way they could pay $8000 for a ticket to a sporting event, and if they could, they would do something wiser with the money. The ones who are sad today, but not hungover and incarcerated. The ones who look forward to next season with optimism and, hoping for a few tweaks and a bit more muscle, will most certainly enjoy their own celebration within the next few years.
If there is one good thing to come out of all of this (and you really have to look for it) it would be that a lot of people that don't really like the Canucks will feel sympathy for their real fans. It will take a while before the dignity that was stolen from them will be restored. Stupid riots. Go to a country that needs more rioters and protesters because all of theirs are dead and go riot there. They need more help.
After the dust settles, for Vancouver fans, I see a fresh start rising over the nation towards the West coast. New sympathy that will hopefully lead to a mutual respect between all Canadian fans.
"Sure, I hate the Canucks but man do I feel sorry for their real fans."
Like my sister-in-law, Krista. She's been a fan since she was little. She used to have a crush on Trevor Linden, maybe she still does. She felt pretty horrible that they lost, but definitely more horrifying for her was to see the ugliness that took place in the streets. She is embarrassed for her city. She deserves better than that.
Or Jim Hughson, the CBC's "homer" announcer. You can't blame a guy for being born in a city and then cheering for that city's team, can you?
I would mention other Canuck fans here but, quite frankly, they aren't the kind of people that I regularly associate with so I can't think of any others. But for Krista and to a lesser extent, Jim, I respect you as real hockey fans.
But now that the dust is settled, I have to say that I like the Canucks a little more than I used to. Maybe it's seeing their broken hearts in the locker room, slowly pulsing away all of the hope for a championship. The tears in Luongo's and Kesler's sexy eyes. The Sedin twins showing the emotion of two Swedish robots. Or 1 Swedish robot standing at an angle next to a mirror.
Thus begin the post-playoff traditions; packing up the locker room, All of those beard shavings littering the dressing room floor, scooped up, stuffed into a commemorative pillow and sold on eBay. Sweeping up riot trash and boarding up windows. The Value Village aisles, full to the brim with $150 jerseys. People starting to pretend that they care about the CFL.
I am an Oilers fan. For me, the season has been over for at least 2 months. Actually, it's technically been over ever since Ryan Whitney went down for the season sometime in January. I listen to the games on CHED's website. They lose every freaking time! And, I come back and listen again. I'll be there again in October. The team will most definitely continue to be horrible for years to come. But cheering for a team like that somehow gives me the same feeling as cheering for the Bruins or NY Giants does. In the same way, No Country for Old Men is my favorite movie. There is something about the carnage and tension that draws me in.
I stand with the real Canuck fans because I know what it is like to be a loser.
And, if one day the good Lord and the Oilers find themselves cuddled around the Stanley Cup again, I will celebrate all of the years of heartache culminated into one sweet moment of contentment. Then, and only then, will I check the baseball scores.