My Summer Lair Chapter #254: Do We Need A Word To Describe The Emotion Of When Your Favourite Sports Team Loses A Big Game?
On the evening of June 15, 2011 Vancouver erupted in fire.
It all started on June 1st, 2011 with Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. The Vancouver Canucks had home ice advantage in the Finals their reward as the team that finished with the best regular season record. They were facing the Boston Bruins who went into the Finals with a 39-year Stanley Cup drought.
Quickly the Canucks won the first 2 games to go up 2-oh on the Bruins.
Then the series shifted to Boston at the TD Garden the same arena where the Celtics play. Once again the home team triumphed: in Games 3 and 4 Boston defeated Vancouver including a shutout in Game 4. Now the Finals are tied at 2.
The remaining 3 games would be played in Vancouver, Boston if need be…then a dreaded Game 7 in Vancouver.
It needed to be: once again the Canucks won at home and so did the Bruins which trigged a Game 7.
Game 7 is one of the most thrilling phrases in all of sports; as thrilling as all-day-breakfast yet as aniexity producing as an all-you-can-eat-buffet.
Yes the Canucks had home ice but history was not on their side.
The Canucks joined the national hocky league in 1970 as an expansion team along with the Buffalo Sabres. In its NHL history, the team has advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals three times: losing to the New York Islanders in 1982, the New York Rangers in 1994 and yet here in 2011 they were a Game 7 away from defeating the Boston Bruins.
History triumphed when the Vancouver Canucks not only lost Game 7 but were shut out. They didn’t even score a goal in the decisive all on the line Game 7 NHL Stanley Cup Final game.
More history happened; just like in 1994 when they lost that NHL Finals to the Rangers the city erupted in a riot.
2011 was no different; another bitter Finals loss prompted an angry outpouring of dark energy. The stark different between 1994 and 2011 was 2011…was a smart phone riot. Many participants in the riot stood and posed for photographs, with some even posting the photos on their own social media accounts. Hashtag look at me I’m rioting. Photos and videos were also taken by onlookers intent on documenting the riot. This was not 1994 anymore, this was closer to 1984.
The police were overwhelmed…the riot itself was just under 5 hours. That was quelled quickly enough. But now to sift through all the photos and videos and to tag and identify the looters and rioters was arduous work yet so fruitful. Over 300 people were successful identified and charged from this social media bounty.
This is the compelling backdrop of the 30 for 30 documentary: I’m Just Here for the Riot directed Asia Youngman and Kathleen Jayme.
The ESPN documentary chronicles the aftermath of the physical riot in Vancouver’s streets where now the mob mentality has cruelly shifted to an online presence. Despicable online hunting meant the rioters were outed, doxxed, shamed, and their lives altered forever. Some received death threats…like why? How are death threats or posting somebody’s home address justice? That’s not how justice works.
This stuff bugs me. It is one of the cruelest things we do…it is dehumanization. It’s us vs them…just like all sports, I suppose.
Here now to better unpack the themes of this 30 for 30 doc are the directors Asia Youngman and Kathleen Jayme.
Host Sammy Younan
Recorded: Tuesday, April 25, 2023 at 1:00 pm (EST)
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