Electric Grapevine: Get the puck out
As the dust settles and bandwagoners watch the National Hockey League (NHL) training to see which team provides the best chance of redemption next year, I can look back at the season and see what is left. Well, a few less cop cars and windows for certain, but the real fans are still standing. It’s well chronicled that I’m not a hockey fan but I am a National Basketball Association (NBA) fan so I can relate to the ups and downs faced by Canucks fans. Where the difference is though, is where bandwagoners come in to play. I appreciate die hard fans of anything, as my neurotic side is evident in all my passions. Bandwagoners, however, are the lowest form of “fan” on the planet. These people make me sick. My theory is, if you can’t name each and every player on “your” team they aren’t yours okay? If you don’t know who they played on the home opener of that season, take off the knockoff jersey you bought at the Chinatown night market and turn the channel. And whatever you do, don’t zing around the term “we” under any circumstance. There is no “we” there are real fans and then you. The phrase du jour in Vancouver is now: “real Fans don’t riot.” While this is true, the inversion is not necessarily. So many people keep proclaiming that the worst offenders aren’t fans. I don’t buy this. A huge number of these idiots were sporting real jerseys worth upwards of 250 bucks and were most certainly keeping an open bar tab to whet their palate during each and every dry second period of the Stanley Cup finals. Don’t try to tell me that a sport predicated on smashing people into glass and ice, funded by the beer industry isn’t going to promote the same behaviour off the ice. BS. “The rioters were well organized anarchists.” Oh get the h…e..double hockey stick out of here. I’m so sick of this weak veil of misdirection that I engage anyone I hear spout this garbage. Did any part of that riot look to be well thought out by planning geniuses? Do you think they’re having their well-organized annual general meeting right now in anticipation of a White Caps flameout? Are they readying their riot gear in case of a meltdown by the local lacrosse team? No, they aren’t because they’re hockey fans. Face it. They aren’t the only ones who behave like this. Don’t get me wrong, European football fans (that means soccer for all you pucks) are some of the most violent fans on earth. They typically target opposing players or refs mind you. They also burn down opponents’ neighbourhoods, not their own. What they don’t do is attach themselves to a team during the conference finals. They bleed their team colours and typically do for most of a lifetime with every loss and relegation more painful than the last. My allegiance to my beloved Chicago Bulls left me disappointed this season but I didn’t don a Miami Heat jersey as the finals began. I simply rooted against them as I hate all they stand for. The Heat is the bandwagoners of the player world. This team of tin men turned their back on cities that cherished them, made them and paid them in order to seek glory in the easiest manner possible. It seemed like they had succeeded too until a team of relatively old, washed up players took them out in the finals in a gutsy performance. A heartwarming story of redemption and overcoming obstacles for sure, but not enough to make me jump ship. Sure it was weird to not have a team I like in the finals but I stayed true to the team I’ve watched since I was nine. And when my team lost I simply ranted on Facebook without feeling the need to smash windows or burn cop cars. And I’m a fan of a sport that’s supposed to consist of thugs raised by thugs, so why couldn’t hockey fans keep their cool? I realize I’m probing a sensitive spot with the majority of Canadians being hockey fans and the game seven loss still in our rear-view, so I’d like to point out that the bandwagoners caught most of my ire. That said, I expect hate mail from you passive aggressive lot so I’ve turned up my spam filter from “Luongo” to “Thomas” just in case.