Thursday, June 16, 2011

Before and After

It's a rare opportunity to see your local sports team play for one of the biggest trophies in professional sports - and one of the toughest to win at that. Vancouver has been abuzz for weeks and months about the Canucks and how this is going to be our year. Now, with the team having been around for forty years in and still no Cup to show for all those years of effort, just like 17 years ago, it's come down to one last shot at winning the Cup.

And, as I mentioned in the last post, I wasn't even going to get to watch the whole game. Boo, my sis, Vixen, the nieces, Stargirl and Skeletor, and I are off to Oz to see Wicked. And what a "wicked" night it turned out to be!

I'm naturally a bit behind in my postings; so, no one is going to be surprised by the news that the Canucks lost the game - and lost badly. And, again, it's no surprise to say that the City of Vancouver lost an awful lot itself - in terms of its reputation as a world class city and destination.

But that wasn't the case at the start of the evening. We had the girls come by our place for the first period of the game and for some pre-show dinner. Despite the fact that Stargirl has turned "sweet sixteen," she's still not joining us in our glasses of wine. A tad surprising, I must admit, given her mother's and both her uncles' fine appreciation of the grape. Guess that still might come in time. For the time being, however, it just meant there was more wine for us to enjoy.

I wasn't sure how much of the game we'd get to watch before we had to leave, but given it was the last game of the Finals, I figured a white and a red from our series winery, Mission Hill, would be a nice way to bring things to a close.

832. 2002 Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (VQA Okanagan Valley)

833. 2009 Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gris (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Given the nature of the evening, I'm not going into any detail about the wine except to say, "Too bad the wine was better than the game." As badly as we were all crying out for the Cup, we kind of ended up crying into our wine glasses. We managed to watch two periods of the game before we had to leave for the theatre, but the game's result was pretty much a foregone conclusion by then. Boston's shorthanded goal, making it 3-0, just before we left didn't leave us with a whole lot of hope as we hit the road. Good thing the wine had left us with a happy glow.

Boo and I had seen Wicked in NYC (in fact, I believe one of the earlier entries on the blog raved about it), but none of the girls had seen it. As much as I'd hated the fact that our tickets were on the same night as the game, it did mean that I didn't have to sit through the whole fiasco on the ice. We got to escape the sad ending to everything. In fact, we actually saw a bit of the revelry that had taken over the streets since the theatre was located right next to one of the giant screens that had been set up on a closed Georgia Street.

I mention "revelry" because the city had seen a whole lot of celebration in the streets leading up to the final game. And things didn't seem a whole lot different to us as we waited to go into the theatre. There wasn't a lot of time left in the game when we left the street for the theatre and there was no chance that the Canucks could make a comeback - but we certainly didn't know that there would be even more "wickedness" in the streets than there was on the stage.

Shortly after our show started, the now infamous Hockey Riot broke out. Indeed, before we went into the theatre, we probably weren't standing more than 20 feet from where the first truck was flipped and torched. We had no idea, however, of what was going on outside the show. Our first indication was an announcement at the intermission that the theatre was telling everyone "to stay inside for your own safety because of what was happening outside." I've never seen so many people go straight to their phones.

There were various vantage points in the lobby that gave some indication of what was going on outside - and we knew it had to be bad. We could hear the odd blast of what we assumed were tear gas canisters and we could see the smoke and fire of the two police cars that had been flipped and torched. In fact, Boo caught a picture on his cell phone. Most of the "action" must have moved on from our location though because we couldn't see a whole lot of people in the streets. My assumption is that, considering what we saw on the news afterwards, the rioters had moved over to other parts of the downtown core.

The show went on, however, and, despite rumours being bandied about before the curtain went up, we didn't have any further interruptions or indications that the problems outside were continuing. It wasn't until, at the end of the show, we were asked to remain in our seats while the theatre liaised with the police to determine our best means of escaping the bedlam, that we wondered how everything was really going to end. It was sweet to see one of the leads in the show call out to everyone in the audience, "Get home safely," as the cast finished their bows.

To make a long story short, we left the theatre in about a half and hour's time and had a very uneventful trip home on the Skytrain. We had no real idea of the gravity of the riot until we started watching it on the news when we got home.

It's enough to drive a guy to drink! There'll likely be another chance for the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup - even though it might not be as soon as next year. I'll be there when the boys hit the playoffs - with more BC wineries to showcase - but this year's was sure no Broadway happy ending.

At least the girls loved the show on the stage - if not the one in the streets.

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