The Vancouver riots: a backlash against the backlash

True confession time: I still have not told my mother that I was sent to the principal’s office back in Grade Six. The only reason for this is that our principal, Mr. Devine, let me and my friend Sheila off with a stern lecture about whatever minor school rule we had just violated. But Mr. Devine wasn’t the worst threat to our mental and physical health on that day as the two of us stood weeping hysterically outside his office. The real threat would have been facing our parents back home, along with the terrifyingly certain consequences that “causing trouble at school” would bring.

Back then, the concept of logical consequences was perfectly understood by all of us. Everybody – our parents, teachers, friends, neighbours – knew and accepted (along with all physicists since Newton) that for every action, there would inevitably be an equal and opposite reaction. And that parental reaction would be far more painful than anything Mr. Devine could dish out. No exceptions, no excuses, no getting off easy.

That was all part of making sure that we would not grow up and one day decide to set fire to police cars in downtown Vancouver.

So when watching hours of live news footage of thugs terrorizing the streets of Vancouver during last week’s Stanley Cup riots, I couldn’t help but sadly ask myself if we have somehow raised an entire generation of spoiled brats who have never had to grasp the foreign concept of facing logical consequences of their actions?  Continue reading

Do-it-yourself psychotherapy for suffering hockey playoff fans

Here on the West Coast, our own Vancouver Canucks made it into the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs for the 2011 season as the #1 seed, a monumental accomplishment whose significance is easy to understand, even for non-hockey fans (and we’ve heard that these do exist). Since 1952, when the legendary Foster Hewitt started broadcasting live play-by-play of NHL games on television, generations of us have grown up watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday and cheering our hometown teams. Ironically, more hockey teams from California made it into the 2011 playoffs than from Canada.

And by the way – no Canadian would ever call this game “ice hockey”.

During the February 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver,  almost 17 million Canadians – well over half our population – watched Canada beat the U.S.A. in the men’s hockey gold medal final. Compare that to barely 7 million of us who watched that year’s Super Bowl XLV. We are a hockey-mad country indeed. Go Canada!

But getting too excited about our Canucks in the playoffs could actually be psychologically and physically damaging. A new UCLA study warns that a loss by the hometown team in an important game can lead to “increased deaths in both men and women, and especially older patients.” Continue reading