The Canucks season has come to, by almost anyone’s expectations, a premature end. How should Canucks fans fill the evening hours in the weeks and months to come? The barely pseudonymous aidanbc examines this in a three-part SmugNation investigation: “What Am I Going To Do With My Time!?” In last week’s “Part 1: Moar Spoarts!” he suggested you get behind Vancouver’s other three pro sports teams. How does he think you should spend your time this week? Make like Dan Hamhuis and give it away.
The Canucks have been eliminated from the playoffs, and now I’ve got a date at the cop shop. No, I didn’t engage in an unpublicized riot of one, and I’m not answering any charges . Let me explain.
Different people reacted to the Canucks’ unceremonious, unexpected, and generally un-fun first round exit from the playoffs in different ways. Some swore. Some threw things. Some wrote down swear words on bits of paper and threw those bits of paper. I did something I’d been thinking about doing since Vancouver went down 3-0, and the possibility of weeks upon week of spring evenings free from Canucks hockey became very real: I went online and looked for volunteer opportunities. This is where the police station comes in: while priors and a case of the galloping consumption might be great for Doc Holliday-esque roguishness, they’re apparently not features desired in a volunteer. So as part of my application to be an event volunteer at a local complex care facility—I envision myself playing “As Time Goes By” on an out of tune piano on Movie Music Mondays—I need to get a criminal record check and a TB test.
Why was my first reaction to Jarret Stoll’s deflating wrister to look for a volunteer position? The main reason, the kind of embarrassing and not-at-all smug reason, is that despite very few actual commitments, I don’t regularly volunteer already. The absurdity and guilt of this situation is brought into sharp relief when I consider how much time I spent through the 2011-12 season on the Canucks: how many evenings were free between 7 and 9:34; and how many I expected to spend through May and—let’s face it—June. Figure in the time spent reading and now writing blogs on the team, not to mention the time spent daydreaming about who Henrik would hand the Cup off to first (in my mind, it’s always Sami. Sigh…) and you’ve got quite a few hours. Enough hours to make an actual difference in my actual community.
The second reason is that, like any righteous and persecuted Canucks fan, I am always quick to defend the team’s honour and class in the often-hostile fora of the internet, and these defenses invariably include references to the organization’s strong commitment to their community. If I admire this so much in my favourite hockey players, why don’t I follow their lead?
The third reason—not that I should need this many reasons to get out there and pitch in—is how inspired I was by the citizen-led post-riot clean-up after the team’s last season-ending loss. The riot was a classic crisitunity, and the folks at @VancouverClean and the rest of the ad hoc volunteers that day seized it with aplomb, applying a much-needed ice bag to the civic black eye. But just because the Canucks were eliminated too early for the out-of-towners to book their tickets downtown doesn’t mean there aren’t still great reasons to pitch in once again.
As I’ve found out in the last week or so, finding the right volunteer opportunity can be a little bit tricky, but there are some great resources out there to help you along. I used the database at http://www.volunteervictoria.bc.ca/ to find my opportunity with the care home. There are plenty of other sites out there, such as volweb.ca and govolunteer.ca. If you’re not sure you can commit long-term to a volunteer position, you should be able to find opportunities by looking up just about any community event. Fun runs, street markets, music festivals: many of these couldn’t exist without the help of volunteers.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of tracking down an organization or event in need and going through the screening process, here’s a ready-made event our Vancouver readers might be interested in: Keep Vancouver Spectacular, an annual civic cleanup held every May. As far as I know, no TB check required. All the info can be found here.
So here’s my challenge to you: find a way to donate four games’ worth of time—call it ten hours—to a worthy cause. And why not do it with the crowd you typically watch the game with? Let’s show some pride in our fanbase and our communities. After all, this is our home.
Any organizations that need volunteers—particularly during typical hockey game times—are invited to email us at sn.smugnation(at)gmail(dot)com. We will share your particulars in a later post.