Victory and vandalism connecting through sports

Lakers fans, vandalism, Championship celebration

Be it an unfavorable courtroom verdict, allegations of an officer’s use of excessive force, or a protest assembly gone wrong, nothing brings a city closer to riot conditions than a professional sports franchise winning a championship. Wherever there is a large gathering, uncertainty will preside. And though each is accompanied by fear and preparation for the worst, seldom does the worst occur. But in regard to professional sports, the probability of violence and destruction following the crowning of a new champion is more than a thought. It’s an axiom.

Once it became inevitable that the Los Angeles Lakers would win their 15th NBA title, local authorities implemented damage control, days before the damage would occur. They reached out to the public, through television, radio, and newspapers, asking for peaceful celebration to follow a future event. But for Los Angeles, like championship cities before them, the plea was ignored and violence ensued. In our society, it’s become the norm to view our sports heroes being showered by ticker tape along parade routes. And unfortunately, before championship caravans can ever start their engines, locals are being showered by bricks, bottles, and any other weapons of destruction readily available…all in the name of celebration.

It’s easy to connect vandalism to our champions, since no city or sport is immune to the foolish acts of a few.  And though sports may give a reason on the surface, the underlying intent has existed for years. There’s a difference between celebratory fans and the arsonist, thieves, and perpetrators of violence. The fan will wait patiently for years, finally exhaling and applauding with the new crown. The others wait years to inflict damage to a city, committing their crimes under the false pretenses of “celebration”, and hiding among the crowd. It is mob violence that triggers their actions, with the new champions quickly becoming an afterthought.

Los Angeles is now left with two lengthy anticipations. The San Andreas Fault hasn’t produced a tremor in more than a hundred years, and the Dodgers haven’t won a championship since 1988. Which will bring more damage to the city, when that stress is relieved?

Congratulations to USC alum, Dr. Jerry Buss, for delivering another title to Los Angeles. The Lakers will hoist their 15th championship banner at Staples this fall, which will be the ninth since Buss purchased the Los Angeles franchise in 1979. Phil Jackson now moves to the top of the coaching ranks, collecting championship No. 10. We can credit his coaching achievements to a great defensive philosophy, an array of stars, and the implementation of the “triangle offense”. The triangle was perfected by Jackson’s longtime assistant, and Trojans graduate, Tex Winter. Winter learned the system while at USC, under former Trojans basketball coach Sam Barry.

[Miami Herald]


~ by Anthony on June 15, 2009.

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