Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Ho Lee Fuck

As I write this, Whyte Ave is a street only in theory: from 103st to 106st, there is not a car to be seen. The police have actually attempted to stop the pedestrian traffic from going down the Ave as well, an incredibly futile attempt, given the number of entry ways. 105st and Whyte Ave is a pile of people, with flags flying, people crowd surfing, chanting and honking. Traffic is backed up down 109st to the bridge (!) and I couldn't see the end the other way. A little while ago, someone started shooting fireworks. At the moment, this city could tear down the Berlin Wall.

But I must back up. Several hours ago, the Oilers came out of a first period in which they dominated all but the first shift down 1-0. On a half-luck, half-amazing talent goal by Zetterberg, we looked sort of defeated, given that we'd played more or less our best period of the series, but thanks to a strong performance by Legace, had nothing to show for it.

The second was approaching pathetic. We had exactly two shots to the Wings' 17, and looked like a team hopelessly outmatched. Roloson made some spectacular saves with some incredibly lucky ones (most notably the grab-the-crossbar stand-up job on Cleary), and we came out down only 2-0.

The third period will live as legend, though. We dominated. Utterly. Fernando Pisani probably earned himself a bronze statue on the north end (where he grew up), and Ales Hemsky found his form again. The confidence in the building just kept growing. On the other two goals, the crowd pretty much shut up right after--on Detroit's third, the chants started up right away; this wasn't going to die. They chanted throughout the video replay (I still have no idea why the goal was under review, as they only showed it once on the Jumbotron), and erupted again when it was in. I have never felt a building--a whole fucking building!--shake like Rexall did when Hemsky scored his second. No one sat down again, not for a second. When the puck was shuffled to the corner with only seconds left, everyone suddenly knew. We won. We won the fucking series. We beat Detroit. HOLY FUCK! WE WON! WE FUCKING WON!!!!!!!

Men who voted against gay marriage embraced like lovers. Hands became chapped and sore from high fives. Ushers looked like they wanted to dive over the edge of the balcony to prevent being molested with "WOOOO!! OILERS!!!!" Chants broke out from Rexall, across the LRT (at each stop), waiting for the bus, down Whyte, and in bars. I once was in Venice for the Festa del Redentore, one of the biggest celebrations in Europe (including a 45-minute firework display). The energy here right now destroys that festival. I don't know what will have to happen for us to capture this again.

A note, before I finish: after we clinched and before the playoffs began, it became slightly fashionable to hate on the Oilers, saying we had all the success we deserved with the dynasty years (I'm looking at you, Tom Benjamin, but there were plenty of others). To all of you, I can earnestly say: fuck you. I know I throw swear words around from time to time, but seriously, every last one of you can go fuck yourselves, and I mean that passionately. It has been eight years since we won a playoff series; the last time we won one in less than seven games, I was eight years old. I don't care if we had a great team in the fucking 1980s--we've endured some of the worst teams in the league (the mid-90s) and a solid decade of barely capable mediocrity (late 90s until today). This feels really fucking good. Oilers fans tend to live in the past, much to our detriment, but speaking as someone who doesn't remember the past, except through repeated watchings of The Boys on the Bus, I say we deserve this. For breaking sound records, and swallowing management tripe, and earnestly thinking that Brad Winchester is a legitimate first-line forward, we deserve this. To hell with all of you: we win. And if we want to honk and scream until three in the morning to celebrate this fact, then that's what we'll do. We care, we as a city care, more than is possibly imaginable. I'll take back all of this when I see Vancouver close down their major roads after a first-round victory. Fuck. Yeah.

To finish off, some memorable quotes from the evening:

"Hey Legace, Comrie had sex with your wife, too!"--drunk fan behind me, attempting to psyche Legace out from row 53

"How about that Zetterberg goal?" "Yeah, he pretty much raped Spacek."--a conversation outside the bathroom during the second intermission.

"It's about time he fucking shot!"--random fan behind me on Hemsky's second goal

"Hi, Steve? I won't be in tomorrow. Sick day, holiday, I don't care what you call it, I won't be in tomorrow."--fan on the LRT

"I'm Flavor Flav!"--the guy in the picture at the top of the page

"Shirts off for Samsonov!"--some random drunk dude marching outside the Black Dog (seriously)

"I feel like I could fuck a horse!"--extremely intoxicated man wearing a blue wig and face paint marching down the middle of Whyte Ave with a flag


mike w said...

Sometimes I wonder if one truly appreciates his hometown only after he moves away. For one, looking a the drunken, donair-breathed morons on the LRT (pronounced "lirt" for non-Edmontonians), it's the kind of thing that can only be charming from thousands of miles away. Then again, part of me wants to light every building on fire after a win.

eun said...

Whyte Ave. was completely, mind-shatteringly crazy. I went down after the win, and was swallowed up by the mob, who kept giving high-fives to every passing random stranger (and even random strangers in cars), honking wildly, yelling various chants about the Flames sucking, along with other chants about the Wings entering golfing season. The funny thing, really, is that it was only half-drunken. Drunken antics are one thing, but when many of the folks hit the streets, right after the victory, they were at least partially sober. I've never seen anything like it. People genuinely cared, and felt like the victory was a personal triumph. Police were absolutely everywhere, and I only saw a few bits of arrest-worthy horseplay (setting off fireworks in the crowd, running wildly through traffic, etc...). The coolest thing? A couple of guys got out their hockey sticks and a tennis ball, and started playing... in the middle of oncoming traffic. Since you all seem to appreciate profanity, let me sum it up thusly: Un. Fucking. Believable.

Also: I saw boobies!

Julian said...

Also: I saw boobies!

Thank you for answering the question we outside of Edmonton were all asking.

I don't think I've ever wanted to be in Edmonton more than last night. I mean, I've never actually been to Edmonton, nor really thought about being there, but.... well, the beer I drank in my girlfriends apartment in Toronto probably would have been alot sweeter had I actually had other fans around to share it with.

OIlers! Oilers! Oilers. said...

Conversation overheard in the Black Dog bathroom:

Stranger 1: Oilers!
Stranger 2: Oilers!
Stranger 1: Oilers.
Stranger 2: So, when the Oilers get to the final, I hope they play Ottawa.
Stranger 1: Yeah, I don't know if Ottawa will be able to make it.

Eyeris said...

The headline in today's sports section: GUSHER! (superimposed on a picture of the Hemsky's winning goal)

And that's an Edmonton Journal headline.

Anonymous said...

This blog entry was one of the funniest Ive read in awhile. FABULOUS.

Dennis said...

Just one question...how many boobies;:)?

eun said...

Sadly, not many boobies. It was a bit chilly/windy out for flashing, plus there were police EVERYWHERE.

Oh, and the police highlights package that I got today said that only three people were arrested (two for public intoxication, and one for mischief), and that other than a police car's back window getting smashed by a flying bottle, fans were mostly well-behaved.

I've heard estimates that some 30,000 people were out on Whyte for the celebration.

MikeP said...

A note, before I finish: after we clinched and before the playoffs began, it became slightly (and I don't think Tom Benjamin's half as smart as he thinks he is, and I'll leave it at that; substitute in some other hater's team if it makes you feefashionable to hate on the Oilers, saying we had all the success we deserved with the dynasty years (I'm looking at you, Tom Benjamin, but there were plenty of others).

What?! A team doesn't "deserve" success (or not), it earns it. If Edmonton's had more success than Vancouver then it's because they earned it - nothing more, nothing less. You need luck to win a playoff series, true, and you need a lot of luck to win a Cup - but you need to be good in the first place to be lucky at all.

Makes me glad I avoid the haters. Not because I prefer to be around yes-men, but because I don't like to be around no-men.

Let some other team win because they deserve it, the Oilers had their glory? That's for chumps. Fuck that for a joke.

Anonymous said...

I know I may be shunned as a Jilly-come-lately, as I have in the past admittedly fallen asleep during Oilers games chez the Covered in Oil crew.
However, in my defence, last night I initiated a rousing Oilers cancan and held one non-drunken fan's clothes, keys and wallet while he streaked for several blocks in one blue sock and I high-fived every yahoo and hooligan within arms' reach. I did it for you, fellas.