The kiss seen ’round the world

The unfortunate thing about having a Tuesday deadline is that if my favourite hockey team plays in the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, a game that ends with a riot that makes headlines around the world, I can’t write a column about it for another week and a half. But so what? It’s not like I’ve never been late to a party before.

Being late is actually the story of my life. That, and forgetting stuff. Like the fact that it was Father’s Day last week which would have been a far more relevant and timely topic for me to write about rather than my weird problem with staying awake. (Thanks to all the people who wrote to me about that, by the way. Apparently falling asleep at the drop of a hat isn’t normal and I’ll be checking in with a doctor now.)

So, getting back to the disappointing hockey game and the ensuing Vancouver riot. I watched the game at a restaurant with a group of friends and felt nervous for the Canucks. I desperately hoped they would win, but felt that same anxiety that I did in 1994 when they were playing in game seven against the New York Rangers.

From the beginning, when our national anthem was played and I saw the Green Men waving the Canadian flag with fans singing along with excitement and pride, I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. There were a few other times during the game that my eyes welled up a little, especially at the end when they lost. But it was hours later when I turned the news on that the tears actually streamed down my cheeks as I watched what was going on in the beautiful city where I was born and raised.

Even though a riot broke out back in 1994 when we lost the Stanley Cup to New York, I felt shocked all over again at the sheer destruction that was taking place and prayed that no one would be hurt or killed in the process.

The next morning I woke up to the following email message from my friend from Boston: Fires and riots in Vancouver last night? Unbelievable. Makes you feel like they didn’t deserve to see their team win after all.

He was right about those particular hooligans not deserving to see their team win, but I was quick to point out that they were not a good illustration of the majority of peaceful Vancouver residents and Canucks fans who were just as horrified as we were.

I later turned on the TV and saw that the Vancouver riots were the leading story on almost every network, including the talk show, The View.

For Vancouver to make headlines this way was devastating. But amid all the photos and videos that circulated at warp speed around the world thanks to the phenomena of social media, there was one stunning shot of a couple kissing that I loved immediately.

Of all the pictures out there, I hope this is the one everyone will remember most about the Vancouver Riot of 2011. For it is love and peace, not war and destruction, that is a more accurate representation of Vancouver and Canada and its beautiful people.

Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. To watch her Daily Dose videos or to contact her, visit OnaBrighterNote.ca

Winners either way

Back in the 70’s my parents were huge fans of their city’s new hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks.  My little brother and I were not.

As Mom and Dad hooted and hollered at the TV in the living room, Jeremie and I would play in our bedroom. It didn’t matter to us if our folks seemed happy or distressed about what was going on with the game, our interest wasn’t piqued until the intermission, when Peter Puck made his appearance. At that point we’d run out and watch the short cartoon with delight and then retreat back to our room when it was over.

And then one hockey season the unexpected happened: my brother walked into the living room and never came back. Two and half years younger, Jeremie had started playing hockey himself and became an even bigger Canucks fan than our parents.

Now, as my entire family cheered on their favorite team for countless games each season, I was left to play on my own. I would have attempted to join in on their fun but I simply couldn’t muster up any kind of interest in what they were watching. For the life of me I couldn’t understand what was exciting about trying to follow a little black puck up and down the ice in the hopes of it ending up in the other team’s net.

In 1994, I finally understood.

I was working at a newspaper in Vancouver at the time and the Canucks were playing well. After unexpectedly witnessing an exciting first round culminating in an overtime win in game seven, I became swept up in the fan frenzy.

I went to every home game they played in rounds two, three and four and was devastated when they lost to the New York Rangers by one goal in game seven. If a brand new fan like me could feel such disappointment, I could only imagine what the longtime fans must be feeling, let alone the players themselves.

17 years later the Canucks are playing once again in the Stanley Cup Finals and at the time of writing this column, the outcome of the series between Vancouver and Boston is not yet known. What is known is that while I’m hoping the Canucks will win, my cartoonist Jim Hunt is hoping they don’t.

“I’ve been waiting just as long as you have for my team to win the Stanley Cup,” he told me about his home team after learning we’d never won it.  “We haven’t won the cup since the early ‘70s.”

With him and his family on the East Coast cheering for the Boston Bruins and me and my family on the West Coast cheering for the Vancouver Canucks, we talked about how the series could go either way. But no matter what happens, there’s a huge sense of pride for both of us that our home teams have made it all the way to the last round of the Stanley Cup Finals.

As disappointing as it will be for the city who comes in second, the pride in its home team’s tremendous accomplishment should never be forgotten and their amazing efforts should always be applauded. Champions or runners up – the Canucks will have my respect. Here’s hoping they’ll also have the Stanley Cup.

To view Lola and Liza’s Daily Dose or contact Lori, CLICK HERE.