Hockey and Riots

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Last June, the Vancouver Canucks lost in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at home to the Boston Bruins. The fans left, dejected and disappointed after failing to claim Lord Stanley's cup at a time all believed it would be done. Some left for the bars, many left for home. However, many were not prepared to accept the failure and stuck around downtown Vancouver to voice their disappointment. 2 hours after the game, mass hysteria was thriving. Cars on fire, buildings with busted windows, injured people everywhere (4 stabbed), and a couple kissing on the ground. All for a hockey championship that slipped through the grasp of a proud hockey town. Mass hysteria- the spontaneous manifestation of the same hysterical actions of more than one person. This fits that criteria. The people of Vancouver banded together to create one of the many emotions that come with the sport of hockey: passion. So passionate, in fact, that together they created over 4.2 million dollars worth of damage. "All for a game," one might shockingly say. But to hysterical fans, it was more than a game, and their actions showed it. Society can wrap itself in hysteria, like rising gas prices or the potential of nuclear warfare. Mass hysteria is like a domino, a few people get the ball rolling and a mass of people join in, hiding their individual actions amongst the group. What happened that night in Vancouver is not a solitary incident in sports, not even in hockey. In fact, our own university participated when we won the NCAA titles in hockey in 2002 and 2003, however, that was out of victory. Strange how the same mass hysteria can be used to exemplify joy, exuberance, and happiness, while also being capable of anger, disappointment, and downright passion.
Vancouver_riot_kissing_couple.jpg

6 Comments

Mass hysteria is definitely not something to mess with. As your post pointed out, mobs of people can cause some serious damage! What I find interesting is that mass hysteria can also happen on a much smaller scale. After a hard exam, an entire class of strangers can all of a sudden come together and complain about how unfair the exam was, how there should be a massive curve, or even about how horrible the professor is. In high school I played several sports, and I often experienced episodes "mini mass hysteria". For example, if someone on the team got injured, if someone forgot their uniform at home, or if the judges/refs were being biased, all hell would break loose. Then, my team would not perform as well as it could have due to the hysteria of an unexpected incident.

I was hoping this would happen Dinkytown this year if the Gophers won the cup, but that's another story. Mass hysteria is easily started when you have thousands of angry people running around the streets. It shows how when some people start acting out, others will conform with them to cause much more of a problem. I know that if I was at a hockey game and they lost like that, I probably wouldn't do anything. But, if everyone else was going crazy, I'd be much more likely to join in.

Good post! I remember hearing about the hockey rights in the newspaper, but connecting it to the material we're learning about in psychology makes me able to understand why it happened. As opposed to thinking, what crazy Canadians! Huge riots really happen anywhere and everywhere, whether its in the Arab spring or a concert.

As I was reading your well written blog post I thought about the recent events of Jerry Sandusky when all the students rioted when he was fired for the sexual charges. All the students went berserk and a new reporter actually was injured in the mayhem. A car or two were flipped over. This mass hysteria over Jerry Sandusky being fired. Granted he was a good coach but the crime he committed was reasonable ground to be fired. This blind rage for the football coach caused property damage. I don't personally believe that the Penn State students should have gone into a mass hysteria state because it just looked like they favored a wrong cause. Your post was very nicely written and it's crazy what a group of people with a similar mind set can do.

To correct my previous comment it was Joe Paterno who was the football coach. Not Jerry Sandusky altough he was apart of that fiasco.

Its intriguing how the same reaction can be caused by two completely opposite extreme emotions, and how people resort to destruction as an expression of emotion that they apparently feel is appropriate for the situation. In regards to the comments about Penn State, the hysteria did not only reach the streets, but the internet as well. In the weeks following the scandals, every third facebook profile picture, post, or status was a reference to Penn State or a tribute to Paterno. People close to the action got so caught up in sharing it with the world, that it just became annoying and exhausting for those on the outside.

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This page contains a single entry by wiggi065 published on April 23, 2012 1:49 PM.

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