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In the film Green Street Hooligans, protagonist Elijah Wood finds himself ensconced in the underground world of “Futbol Firms” (Read: Gangs that identify themselves with soccer teams). The movie itself is fine. It’s enjoyable, has some “roller-coaster stomach feeling” moments (always a good thing), and features Wood being a bad-ass (which in-of-itself is uproarious because, well, it’s Frodo from Lord of the Rings trying to be tough. High Comedy).
The overall theme of the movie is that although there is a concession it’s stupid to take fandom to a crazed level, the camaraderie and misguided sense of “honor” spawned from the crass behaviour is a priceless intangible gain. And, even though the characters fail to come to terms with this logic, the “firms” fighting with one another goes beyond their affiliation with their team. The team becomes something of an underlying agent. It’s just sort of there through the chaos.
My interpretation of the lack of disparity between “soccer gang” and “gang” brings me to the Vancouver riots that took place following the Canucks ignominious defeat to our beloved Boston Bruins.
You see, I consciously ignored the “What-the-EFFF-were-the-people-of-Vancouver-thinking?!” subplot until now. Why? Partly because Boston won the cup, and that’s what I cared about. Partly because the spurious thought process of, “We lost! Boston SUCKS! So let’s destroy our city” is certainly novel to an extent, but more-so boorish.
So I waited. I waited because I wanted to enjoy watching the millions (and as “The Rock” would say) ANDDDD Millions of fans gather in the heart of Boston for yet another convivial parade.
After soaking in the victory, I went onto YouTube and watched the mayhem that was. And, somehow, this seemed dumber than the plot of GSH. I was told Vancouver rioted because of the Game 7 loss. Uh, no.
They rioted because a couple of teenagers saw Fight Club one to many times. They rioted because Game 7 was an avenue to incite irrational action. The game was not a catharsis that led to these shameful events. The participants were obstinate, and determined to raze their own city. I think the media initially struggled with the developing story.
Vancouver riots after loss.
It should have read, Vancouver riots. Win, lose, or draw this was going to happen. I think the media had issues with this notion due to empirical evidence showing sports have the power to bring people together.
People are quick to lambaste the sentiment. I feel differently, because I’ve seen it, and more importantly I’ve felt it.
I remember smiling, ever-so-subtly, when the Yankees rallied dramatically against BJ Kim and the Diamondbacks shortly after the 9/11 attacks. That’s right. A Red Sox fan acknowledging and partly (just a small fraction) rooting for the hated New York Yankees. Just like I remember the conspicuous irony behind the Patriots winning their first Super Bowl months later.
Unfortunately the footage of the transgressions in Vancouver, on the surface, showed otherwise. For one night, it appeared sports had created the inverse effect. However, like I said before, that thought process is a fallacy.
Do I think Canuck fans participated and exacerbated the situation? Of course, but as Michael Caine says in The Dark Knight, “Some people just want to watch the world burn.”