Ted Jenner, is a B.C. based writer for IL Indoor. In addition, he is the play by play announcer for the Mann Cup webcast production. His comments are his thoughts, and the printing thereof on this site do not constitute an endorsement.
Shut up and Cheer
The point of the Mann Cup in any year is to showcase the two best teams in Canadian lacrosse. Give the teams and the fans a chance to celebrate their sports’ champions.
So far in 2013 both the Victoria Shamrocks and Six Nations Chiefs are putting on an unbelievable show and the fans, for the most part, are eating it up. Through three games of the best of seven series, the Shamrocks hold a 2-1 lead heading into Tuesday’s pivotal game three.
Sadly though, there are some ugly undertones beginning to form off the floor and it started during game two with a group of fans cheering their team on. It seems rather trivial, but it has started a chain of events that has people talking – and not in a good way. It turns out some fans, rather than eating up the action on the floor are more interested in serving up controversy in the stands.
As everyone knows, the game of lacrosse has roots hundreds of years deep in the First Nations culture. A culture that is a great part of this country we call Canada. It is something most lacrosse players have a deep respect for but, sadly, not everyone appears to share that respect.
During game two of the series, the Six Nations Chiefs had a much more boisterous fan base and along with them came the traditional drums. It is of note that for thirty plus years, Skip Dick has been a Victoria Shamrock fan and with every game he attends, along comes his drum, which the fans love to get behind and cheer along with.
At the game on Saturday night, some Victoria fans voiced their displeasure, going so far as to ask for their money back and they even threatened to call police due to what they were calling excessive noise. I’m pretty sure that sporting events are not the ballet or conducted in the library, so noise – loud enthusiastic supportive noise – is not only allowed but encouraged.
One of the best parts of going to a live sporting event, other than the action on the floor, is the atmosphere inside the arena. So to complain about noise from a few fans banging their drums is, in my opinion, completely off-side. This issue spilled over into game three Monday night as there was talk of Bear Mountain Arena staff actually banning the drums and the CLA asking the Shamrocks music man to tone down the volume. In a quote from the Times Colonist today, the CLA wanted the Mann Cup to be a “neutral event” and be non-partisan to either side. What?!
The Shamrocks won the right to host the Mann Cup and therefore the right to make as much noise as they want. The Chiefs, for their part, won the right to represent the Major Series Lacrosse League, and with that comes the right to have their fans in the arena supporting them just as loudly.
But as trivial as all that sounds, game three took an even uglier turn. While the drums were out in full force, the Shamrock fans were equally as loud. after it all seemed to be said and done, a post game tweet from Chiefs’ forward Cody Jamieson shocked and saddened many Victorians and lacrosse fans everywhere. Jamieson’s tweet states that while on the floor and the bench, he and his teammates were the victims of racial slurs from the crowd in attendance. It’s a sad day in 2013 to have to report that my beloved Shamrock fans would use hate-filled and racist language during what is supposed to be a fun family event.
As a former Shamrock and long time Victoria native, I realize the actions of a few do not condemn an entire city, but when racial slurs, derogatory comments and spitting on players come into play, it doesn’t look good for anyone. And, what kind of message are you sending to young sports players and fans about conduct and sportsmanship, let alone humanity.
Victoria fans are passionate and loyal to the green and white, but there’s no place for racism in the twenty-first century let alone in sports.
Finger pointing and a he-said she-said mentality will get us nowhere as a society. The point of the Mann Cup is to crown a champion of Canada, and that battle should be fought for on the floor and not in the stands.