Friday, June 17, 2011

Reflections on #canucks, #canucksriot and #thisismyvancouver

Oh, what a run it was. The Vancouver Canucks made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. Go Canucks Go!
What an incredible spirit. Living on the island now, I must admit I was yearning for Vancouver at times, wishing I was downtown at one of the fan zones. All I heard and saw was an amazing energy that some said surpassed the Olympics. Well, the Olympics were truly special, so it must have been pretty darn good.

Going into Game 7, the tension was unbelievable, even at our house here in sleepy little Sidney. My 89 year old mom and I were gathered before the tv waiting for the puck to drop. Snacks at hand, pizza ordered and warming up our vocal cords for the anthems. Win or lose, it was going to be a fun night. But I was so sure we were going to win..... Go Canucks Go!!!

I was even sure I was going to get a chance to cheer on my favourite player, Ryan Kesler, for a goal. That would have been so sweet!

But, alas, it wasn't to be. The Boston Bruins won. And what a game! And what a goalie! I was amazed at Tim Thomas - he was like a brick wall, nothing gets past him. Both teams played well. Congratulations to the Bruins for their win. I really feel for the Canucks team - oh, what hope they had! - and for the diehard fans, who I know were crushed. But it was fun. And it was a game.

That's the kind of stuff I expected to be posting about. But not this:

Vancouver burning. The riots. The insanity. I felt sick to my stomach.

I was concerned at the first signs of trouble, the first car on fire, but I was optimistic that the police woud be able to get things under control. But, alas, that wasn't to be either.

I am not going to spend my energy posting pics or writing a lot about the actual riots. Lots have done that. I have little to add.

But I was saddened. Truly saddened. I was surprised that I didn't spend longer in anger, but it seemed pointless. I just felt sadness. "My" city was hurting.

OK, I will post ONE riot pic, and it's not about the riots, per se, but take a look at the steamy shot below. Wow and wow. Love the photographic values: the out of focus police, the sharp focus on the couple in their 'embrace', the light - what a public private moment of passion. Oh my!

Just before I went to bed in the wee hours that night, I caught up with some tweets about a planned volunteer cleanup campaign to begin at 7am the day after. Thousands said they'd be there.

And, true to their word, they came. They came and they cleaned. Vancouverites took back their town and through their actions demonstrated what they'd been tweeting: #thisismyvancouver. The next 4 pictures are from a wonderful album by photographer Andy Fang - check it out for more.

Love this pic of the Bruins fan pitching in. Sounds like there was an amazing energy as 100's (1000's?) picked up garbage, swept up glass, washed off grafitti, and scrubbed the riot zones clean. Tweets reported that the city smelled clean. I imagine it sparkled in the day's sun.

If that wasn't enough to warm your heart, how about the free hugs movement downtown? Sweet and heartwarming.

And the messages that Vancouverites felt compelled to write to express their love for the city, their pride, their apologies an condolences.... This scene was at the Bay downtown -people wrote all sorts of messages on the plywood covering the broken windows. Check out the flags that people created and strung up....

That last message is from Mayor Gregor Robertson. Sweet.

Talking about sweet, I was really moved by this expression of gratitude. It's a police cruiser covered with messages of thanks. What a lovely reframing of the images of police cars burning. I am sure this meant a lot to the police.

I wish I had more to say, but I'm tired and emotionally exhausted. Still sad, but also heartened. I love Vancouver, miss it at times like this, and hold it in my heart tonight.

ps - I did some Canucks doodles along the way - you can check them out here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was part of the free hugs gang and I just wanted to say that it's really awesome of you to give us a shout out. Vancouver cares!