Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fandom Gone Awry

Allow me to preface this post by saying:


I, too, am an Oilers fan. One who cheers when they score, swears when they get scored on, and gets pissed off at calls that are or are not made. I would wear a jersey if I owned one, I love seeing the Oiler flags on other people's cars, and I appreciate that merchants around the city have Oiler logos painted on their windows. I even get a small thrill from seeing "Go Oilers Go" flash on the front of the busses that drive by. These are all very community-friendly, unifying, and encouraging gestures meant to show the city's support for their favourite hockey (and dare I say, sports) team.

However, this is where my fandom ends. I love the Oilers and am proud of what they have accomplished, but my happiness is not dependent on their success, nor do I associate myself so closely with them that I feel a personal compulsion to "celebrate" in the most raucous way possible when they win a game. I do not bring anarchy to my community.

That's right, I went there~! The show of "fan support" has taken an entirely stupid turn in this city. Where most would normally associate fan support with team jerseys, flags, noisemakers and cheers at the game, and painted faces, this city has taken it to mean something entirely different - something far more destructive and dangerous. In our town, "fanatics" have become lunatics who take to the streets of Whyte in drunken, adrenalin/serotonin/drug-induced stupors resulting in all sorts of ridiculous behaviour. Grown men dangling from power lines, fires being started in the middle of the street, raging crowds breaking windows, women flashing their breasts, and near-rioting on the streets that have forced SWAT teams and swarms of officers to have to patrol the streets on every game night.

How do these behaviours support the Oilers? How are they encouraging our players to aspire to do better in the Stanley Cup Finals? They don't and they aren't. This near-mayhem has nothing to do with the Oilers, really. People who have nothing more exciting to do in their lives have simply made the Oiler successes an excuse to go out and act like idiots and be "justified" in their behaviour. If it was a standard Saturday night on Whyte during the hockey off-season, nobody would be dangling from power lines. Nobody would be flashing their breasts in the middle of the street. And most certainly, nobody would be foolish enough to start a bonfire or break someone's windows.

But alas, these are not standard nights on Whyte. This is the Stanley Cup Final, and whether it's because of mob mentalities or the "Limber Trigger," it will be too much to expect civility from certain populations of this city. If the Oilers win the Cup, I would hope they send in the army, because there will certainly be more fires and instances of vandalism. Likewise, heaven help us if the Oilers lose, because they may need to send in the army for that, too. We don't know what to expect when the crowds run amuck, but we do know that this has nothing to do with fandom anymore. This fandom has seriously gone awry.


Ridley Thunder said...

The cops on Whyte are totally buckling down as the Game 5 celebrations were nowhere near as bad the Sharks series wins. I truly believe nothing huge will happen if the Oilers lose/win in Whyte. I think they got that situation under control

cristina said...

This has nothing to do with your sports post :) I couldn't post on your other blog so I'm sticking it here :) This was in reference to your chinese eating adventure earlier this week:

After our talk I should have known you would create an entirely NEW blog to track your eating adventures! You may be more of a zealot that even MOI!

THIS sounds delish and you are gifted at describing yummy food. I have to say i'm somewhat saddened by the fact that I may never get to eat some of your daddy's cooking! PLEASE LEARN HOW To make as much of this great authentic stuff as you can so i can *at least* have some of your cookin ;)