Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Who Gives a Fuck Anyway

I wrote a post after the victory. It was partly about the game, but largely about Montreal and the fans here. La Ville et Hockey and all that. It was a nice post. I rather liked it.

I got to be exuberant for a couple of hours. And then I saw the news.

Now I'm depressed and embarrassed. There are so many things wrong with last night's 'celebrations' that I don't even know where to begin. Wrong on a hockey level. Wrong on a human level.

I want to take it all back. Everything. Issue a uniform pan-blog retraction. Everything I've ever said here has been completely wrong. Consider this a place-holder until I figure out if there's anything else worth typing.

Fuck hockey.

Fuck Montreal.


olibou said...

I liked that post, personally:


That being said: "riots"? I think "Hooliganism" is more appropriate.

MathMan said...


Please don't let a bunch of stupid, senseless goons deprive us of one of my favorite hockey blogs. They're a tiny minority, and they're not worth worrying about. That's the cops' job, and with all the films taken and put all over YouTube, I don't doubt they'll get caught.


Jaybird said...

I honestly don't even think they were true fans. More interested in the havoc than the cup.

Elk said...

I couldn't agree with you more, E. No matter how small the group responsible might be, in the eyes of the rest of the world all Montrealers look like assholes today.

I do hope you keep posting, though. Your hockey writing is on a level of its own.

Habsfan1993 said...

I would like to take a page out of my wife's book and remind you that elected officials can represent a country in despicable ways. Soldiers on a battlefield can bring shame upon their nation. This does not stop us from being patriots, or at least from loving our country or caring deeply about its citizens. We still sing our national anthem (mine happens to be the Star Spangled Banner).

I hate what a few Montrealers did as well, but they are not the majority. They are not even a large minority. I will not pretend there are not Habs fans who are rotten, Habs fans who do awful things to other humans. But I am still a Habs fan. Listen to, and read what the vast majority of Habs fans are saying. They are also decrying these acts.

My friends are Bruins fans, but that does not make them bad people. There are bad people everywhere. You don't root for a team because its fans have a squeaky clean reputation--that team does not exist, actually. Cities are full of perverts, and you cannot be %100 certain that it was Canadiens fans at all (unless you have a full signed confession you want to present).

The important thing is to not slink back into the woods and let these hooligans take over. Drown out their voice with yours, with our own collected voice of reason.

Habsfan1993 said...

OK, well it was Habs "fans". At least they were dressed like Habs fans. But really, they were animals. And I want to point out that many more people in the videos are scurrying away, or looking on in disgust. Just like me. Everything else I said I still support.

Tapeleg said...

There comes a time when it can't just be a few jerks anymore. There are always a few jerks, and they will always do something wrong. They will always make decent people look bad, and the majority of them will get away with it.

That said, it wasn't you. Mind you, it wasn't just the 16 people who I saw reported arrested. But it wasn't you, and it wasn't hockey.

Want to see a riot? Make the Canadiens play the entire next series away from Montreal. It would be fitting, in a way.

DarkoV said...

Ms. E.,
Not sure if your question was rhetorical.
Being thick, I'll answer you with, "We, your readers, give a fuck."

Please forgive/forget/fuckit, but come on back to the keyboard.

Junior said...

Such violence is obviously intolerable. That is not a point with which many would wish to seriously take issue.

The question is what "we" ought to do about it. One response is to say "fuck it", walk away from the things you love and leave them to the animals who behave so outrageously. I believe that this option is a morally unsupportable choice; to the extent that we take no steps whatsoever to change the behaviour, we are ethically complicit in future incidents. I do not mean to suggest that we are as guilty as those who do the actual acts, but we nonetheless surrender the ethical high ground.

I have written a little bit about this idea in relation to the recent incident in Boston where a Habs fan was beaten very badly by Bruins supporters.

That's where you come in, Ms. e. If enough people each took some small step towards changing the portions of our culture that permit and encourage these things to happen, these incidents would be at the very least a much more rare occurrence. Do what you can do - by writing about it and engaging the problem, at the very least - to change some minds, to offer suggestions, to assist in the search for solutions.

Don't stand idly by and let it happen.

Davis said...

I'm going to jump in and second the motion of the folks above and say, don't let a few idiots stop you from writing about our wonderful sport.

I read several blogs from fans of "other" teams just to keep perspective. I must say that yours is by far the most interesting and enjoyable to read. You do such a fantastic job capturing the passion, excitement, and love for the game that so many of us have. It would be a shame if you were to stop doing so.

I must admit though, if Nashville had pulled out the upset over Detroit and something like that happened here..I would have second thoughts about putting on my Preds gear the next morning, but I would still be a fan to the core because you can't let a few hooligans change that.

Just remember that the people that were out there last night weren't true fans. True fans have more pride and respect for their team, their colors, and their city than that. Also, it's likely that they aren't the type of fans who get excited about a "meaningless" game in the middle of December or begin obsessively start watching potential playoff seedings immediately after the All-Star break. They just show up for the playoffs, and make the real fans of the team and sport look bad.

Congratulations to you and your Habs on the win last night.

nckd said...

For all the good things about sports fandom, there are parts of it which are awful and negative. There's the appreciation of the good players and good plays, there's the excitement and enthusiasm of crowds, all the things you've chronicled on this blog in one way or another.

But there's also the bad side. The racial and homophobic insults, vandalism and violence towards others, all the ways in which a community can shame, exclude, or feel entitled to misbehave. Fans beating up other fans, children ridiculed by teachers for not supporting the home team, women called dykes for picking up a hockey stick. Athletes defended for all sorts of horrible behavior because they're "special".

I wouldn't presume to say that one side outweighs the other, or that there's even a means to weigh them. I appreciate the kids lining up for 5 hours in the snow for tickets, I appreciate the Div 1 mens team cheering their lungs out for the womens side, I appreciate talking over the games with my dad or listening to my mother make the world's most obvious observations about the game we're watching. But I don't know if it makes up for the bad side, whether its sending 14 year olds halfway across the continent for the chance to feed the beast or just some idiot pouring beer on the guy who drove down from Toronto.

It's not you, it's not everybody, but while there are certain things you do, you can't change the whole culture of sports fandom all at once. So I hope you don't decide it's not worth it, because this is one of the most original sports blogs out there. But I know -- there are parts of it that just suck.

olibou said...

Come on people? The rest of the world has already forgotten, they sure didn't associate all montrealers with such an event (think the world never heard of hooligans?).

I don't hate what happened, neither do I resent it. I certainly wish it wouldn't have happened. I mean, seriously...

Ok, everyone is feeling the outrage. Fine. Now that the mandatory 24 hours of mandatory venting is running out (on earth day!), l Take a deep breath and enjoy the Flyers (ya think Chara got booed?).

Kostadis said...

Your blog is one of the best bits of writing.

please don't let a collection of delinquents who have too much free time ruin what is a thing of beauty (your blog).

If they succeed, then this win was not worth it.

Snap Wilson said...

Dear E:

While "fuck hockey" and "fuck Montreal" are potentially suitable reactions for any number of situations (and I'm sure one or both statements are providing some cathartic relief to Bruins fans right about now) the violence of the preceding night has nothing to do with the first and, at the most, very little to do with the second.

Destructive impulses don't require a cause, they just need a catalyst. If La Ville de Hockey was La Ville de Chemises and La Maisons Simons had a sale that aroused the city's passion of same, you'd see some people running around in women's undergarments overturning cars and breaking storefront windows. And what will you say, "fuck camisoles?" I think not!

You already know that this sort of behavior isn't endemic to hockey fans or Montrealers (Montrealites?), so I can only guess that you're upset to see it manifest itself so close to home, or to see it associated with something that you love. Understandable.

But let's place the blame squarely where it belongs; fuck humans, all of us, for the animals we are.

DarkoV said...

....and another thing.
Since it'll be the Phlyers v. the Habs, I'm counting on your unique perception on the game to illuminate the (I predict) 4-1 Montreal series win. The local Philly writers are way too predictable....

So, please, come on back to your pc and start plucking away.

Doogie said...

First of all, I'm sure you're aware that hooliganism is hardly the exclusive property of Montreal, hockey, or surprisingly narrow first-round defeats of eminently defeatable foes. Additionally, from what I've read, the real reason behind Monday's excitement is a twofold vicious cycle:

1) The Montreal police's tendency to violently overreact to mass gatherings as a general rule;
2) Certain minority segments of the Montreal public, seeing #1, and egged on by both alcohol and a rebellious nature, deciding to do whatever they can to "test" the cops and prove their point. This begets more of #1, which begets more of #2, ad infinitum.

The problem with this is, of course, that hockey is at best tangential, yet because it proves to be the ultimate catalyst, there's a giant CH plastered across the whole mess. It's like when a kid goes apeshit and kills another kid for bullying him on the playground, and the cops find a copy of Grand Theft Auto or Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six in the kid's computer. The video game is only tangential, and might have even been the inspiration or final catalyst, but at the end of the day, that kid was gonna snap and kill someone somewhere, regardless. Yet the video games are all the public sees, because the public "knows" that video games cause people to act out violent impulses. Just like the public "knows" that Montrealers (and Canadians in general, for that matter) riot over hockey.

The thing that drew me to this blog initially was how different it was. Here we have the ultimate juxtaposition: the brand-new hockey fan somehow finds herself cheering for the oldest continuous professional club in the sport. What caused me to stay was the eloquence of your unique insight. If it wasn't well-written, I'd probably have dismissed it as someone who "doesn't understand the game." Yet the eloquence implied intelligence, and the intelligence compelled me to consider your thoughts further before I dismissed them, and I found to my shock early on, that this girl has a point. Your insights have caused me, at times, to question my own assumptions about a sport I've grown up with all my life, and it's a wonderful thing, because "same" and "normal" are boring.

The childlike wonder that characterized the early portion of the blog have mostly dissipated, as is to be expected when something new and exciting loses its novelty and becomes a part of everyday life, but the passion is still pure and obvious, and the perspective provided by a life spent largely ignorant of hockey until about eighteen months ago, yet well-read and well-versed in many other facets of life, is something I've come to treasure, especially in your epic commentaries about different players or aspects of the game. It's always fun when a new Epic E Post comes, because I'm always curious to see what peculiarities strike you about this or that. And if one incident, in which a bunch of drunken yahoos break a bunch of shit, kills all that, it'll be a sad day indeed for the world of hockey blogging, or it will be one suddenly rendered poorer in personality and perspective.

Come back, E. We miss you.

Johinsa said...

I've only been watching hockey since the middle of last season, and your blog is one of the main things I would recommend to new fans. It has helped me enormously to begin to understand the sport, not just the actual play (though that too) but hockey culture and the way it all fits together. We need intelligent, articulate people like you. Please don't go.

olibou said...

Anybody here reads the MOntreal Gazette? Have a look at this:


Anonymous said...

For a blogger who seems to have a pretty well developed sense of humour I think you're taking this whole "riot" thing a little too seriously. I agree with the title "Who gives a Fuck Anyway"? Some drunk goofs burned some police cars.
How about the fact that Montreal is playing in the second round. Against Philly. It should be a awesome series. What do you think?

DarkoV said...

I know why you're not writing about last night's game.
As Tim Pinaccio of the Philly Inquirer wrote,"A high-stick goal by Montreal's Alex Kovalev in the second period and a dubious kneeing call on Mike Richards late in the game resulted in two Canadiens goals as the officials basically handed the game to Montreal."

Above all, you are a fair-minded person (in addition to being quite the snappy writer). I know the sheer amount of guilt you must have felt over the lame way the Habs won probably shamed you from penning anything about their comeback win.

But the next game? If Montreal wins it like real men, will you be spieling on that?

Doogie said...

Aside from the fact that the stick was at/slightly below the crossbar, and the fact that it was called "tripping," when the correct call was probably "clipping", because of how close it was to a knee-on-knee hit, yeah, that's totally accurate. General Gary totally wants a Canadian team that generates no American ratings whatsoever to go as far as possible.

In any other post, partisan bitchery (going either way) would be fair game, but it lacks taste here.