My family has watched the Vancouver Canucks for years. My grandpa has always been really into it, and my mom recently got into it as well. For a long time, I had the hardest time even watching the game. Very quickly, I'd end up staring at the screen, not processing any of the information I was looking at, and goals would be scored in front of me that I would not see. It's like my brain switched to hibernate mode and all I would see was a screen on which humans were running around on a white background carrying sticks. I'd know a goal was scored sooner by hearing my family's cheers than seeing it because I'd have to wait until the instant replay was aired.
When a game was on, that was my cue to go do something else, to go talk to a friend or boyfriend, or edit photos, or play the piano, or pick my nose. I honestly did not care one bit. I only cared about the score in the end, so I could say, "Yay! We won!" That was the extent of my support, which is more than others'.
During the Olympics, I tried my best to actually watch-watch the hockey games. After all, this wasn't just the Canucks playing, this was CANADA. My country. Well, the country I just so happened to be born in. Even so, that one connection - the ability to say, "I identify as Canadian" - was enough for me to root for them. It was so nice to see so many people get together for that one event, and it was nice to see it happen again for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
I loved being able to see people wearing their Canuck jerseys with pride, and see the streets decorated with Canuck logos, and cars with flags bigger than the vehicles themselves, even just around little Victoria. It was nice to see people uniting, even if for many it was just a bandwagon. We were able to get together and say, "I identify as a Vancouver Canuck fan." We watched them together, wide-eyed, on the edge of our seats, biting our fingernails, and our cheers rang in the air as one, as did our sighs with the prevention of each of our goals or the opposing team's most recent score.
Together, we saw the Canucks work hard. We saw them fight, but also saw them give up. They had to play the game physically as well as mentally, and in sports, focusing strictly on the physical is not as easy as it sounds. We saw them go through series after series, always making it out on top. We saw some justice, and a lot of injustice. We saw good hits and bad hits, and an unbelievable number of bad calls against us compared to the number of ridiculously obvious should-have-been-but-were-not-penalties for the opposing teams. We were not only playing hockey games against worthy competitors, we were playing against the referees.
We made it to the play-offs. We made it to the final. We made it to game 7. We could not have been more worthy of second place, even if it doesn't sound as good as first place. We deserved to win, too, but we didn't have the luck, and the Bruins had a Tim Thomas.
This is why it's so hard for me to understand people's mentality when one day they're Canucks fans, but the moment the Canucks lose, they abandon the team. I understand that it can be rough when we may not win the Stanley Cup even after years of trying, but there is only one cup, and there are many teams fighting for it. I don't think we should only look at the product of the boys' hard work, but rather at what it took for them to get to where they are. To those who say the Canucks suck, I'd like to see you do better. They've said that they're exhausted and burnt out, and I saw Ryan Kesler get pretty emotional about the loss. And you know what? Emotions are okay. If our team members cry, it's because they're human, with human emotions, and I don't think they were playing against a pack of robots (although that Chara...).
I have always been a fan, however minor at times, and I always will be one. A true fan is always a fan, no matter what. (Just look at Jon Stewart and the Mets!) I was born in Vancouver, I love Vancouver, and I do identify as a Vancouver Canucks Fan.
A hundred-thousand Canucks fans were invited to watch game 7 downtown yesterday. You know what I'm about to say, just as you and everyone else knew what was going to happen last night - with a win or a loss. I just want to make it clear, because I've been reading stupid and hateful comments on Facebook and news reports that say otherwise, that the riot in no way reflects the Vancouver Canucks team, its fans, or the city. It was started by a small group of idiots who went downtown organized and prepared to cause mayhem and destruction whether the Canucks won or lost. They may not have even been Vancouverites or Canucks fans.
Most people went home. A lot of people, for whatever stupid reason, just wanted to stick around and watch and get their picture taken. Canucks fans are not sore losers, Vancouverites are not sore losers, because this would have happened:
A) If the Canucks won
B) In any other city in Canada or the US
Because there are idiots everywhere. And the best part is the idiots have been photographed and videotaped, and the evidence uploaded to the internet. It saddens me to see what childish, criminal buffoons deem acceptable and what they have done to our city, and I am embarrassed by it only because some will think this is how we all are, and we're not. Do not box me, or any other Vancouverite/Canucks fan, in with these criminals, especially since many rioters do not even fall into either of those categories.
The last thing I want to say about this is to please stop spreading rumours about things not yet confirmed by the authorities, as it really only makes matters worse. "I heard this, I heard this too, and I heard that..." is not reliable, and it is not helpful. Some injuries, no deaths reported.
All we can do now is say, "Yeah, we had a great season," give the Canucks the credit they deserve, be glad that we were not caught up in the mess downtown, be content in knowing that we have nothing in common with the rioters, and move on.
Vancouver Canucks, you did your best, and I thank you for that. You'll always be my favourite. <3