I was flipping through some old articles I've written, and I found one I did asking why in June of 2011 did the Stanley Cup hockey riot in Vancouver occur. I wanted to write it off as a bunch of drunk a-holes, but the reality was more sinister.
|Exhibit A - A is for Asshole. Ironic he's wearing a superman shirt.|
This incident is part of a long history of sport related riots. All share some similar patterns: lots of people, too much partying, and the bizarre personal ownership that people take on of their teams. It's nuts in my opinion, but crazy stuff makes interesting history!
|A charioteer, the football stars of the 500s. Hot with that helmet!|
At the same time a chariot race was going on at the Hippodrome, organised by the green and blues to raise support for overthrowing the emperor. People began to shout ‘Nika’ meaning victory or conquer in Greek. But Justinian ordered the army to stop the riots. The rioters were trapped inside the Hippodrome and it is estimated between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed. And that's why sports and politics shouldn't mix.
|Saskatchewan Rough Riders fan at a Canadian Football League game. Do you want these guys in politics?|
|One of the few pictures of a cricket riot in the 1920s, cause you know it's cricket!|
Which brings me back to my original question: why do people riot at sporting events? It varies but the psychology of it is interesting. When we're less accountable and anonymous, we tend to behave in ways we wouldn't. Also that fan identification with sports teams is psychologically important for many people, particularly in our increasingly transient and insular society. While alcohol is also often cited for its role in such incidents, these two reasons above are deemed much more important.
|Remember that next time you riot, cricket fans!|