One of my many pet peeves with the mittenstringers is when they make the story about themselves. Rather than write about why something is happening or using their access to give their readers a better understanding of an issue they'll inject themselves into a story. Usually it's a complaint about lack of access or some perceived difficulty in getting their story (ie "the press box is so small! LOLLERS!"). In this case, I guess I am part of the story and I think it's pretty interesting although probably moreso for the locals that are politically inclined or TFC fans.
Anyway, back to the beginning: Saturday night BMO Field was host to a men's soccer friendly against Peru so I went with my dad. Since it's not a TFC game it was easy to get tickets in the South End. This will likely be the last time we head down to sit with the tourists. Naturally, as is always the case for Canadian soccer, the open sections of the stadium were filled with Peruvians (fair enough) and Canadians cheering for Peru (frustrating) with a minority of Canadians supporting Canada.
The game itself wasn't anything to write home about. Canada's team was close to full strength but still has some glaring weaknesses. Paul Stalteri is definitely at the end of his career as the Peruvian left winger carved him apart all game and the first goal came courtesy of his poor defending. Rob Friend did a passable job as the target man but the wingers, including Will Johnson who did not stop driftng into the centre, were terrible at giving the team width. The problem was amplified by Stalteri and Jamie Peters, who entered after Marcel De Jong was injured, made no concerted effort to provide width.
The fairly even first half gave way to a second in which Peru was clearly in the ascendancy. The first goal came as a result of isolating a weak link in Stalteri and the second was a beautiful passing play through the very heart of the Canucks' defence. But the game is really incidental to what happened in the stands.
There was a group of four guys that are the epitome of the tourists that the South End gets. These masters of wit, in between beers, regaled the crowd with genius chants of "Let's go Blue Jays!" but didn't seem to be getting up to any trouble of note. Around the 75th minute I heard some swearing and saw that the group seated in front of our retrobates had turned around and there was quite a bit of insults flying back and forth. Normally, I'd focus on the game and ignore it but Toronto's Mayor David Miller was trying to moderate the language (THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!). The groups came together once and seemed to have split when one of the douchebags pushed one of the girls away and tried to punch one of the guys in the group.
The confrontation had seemed to calm down when the head jerk yelled "I am not afraid to hit a girl" at the girl he had pushed. She promptly gave him what could only be termed to be a love tap. Now, I've seen girls hit guys before and I have seen guys control themselves and recognise that the proper course of action is to disengage. Not this piece of shit. He unloaded on the girl and was starting to pummel her and his douchebag in crime (sporting a Manchester United shirt and a New York Yankees hat in what seems like the official douchebag uniform) jumped into the melee on top of not just the girl that got decked but her small friend. The guys accompanying the girls were outnumbered and, on instinct, I ran down my aisle to help.
Now, in retrospect, I likely should not have grabbed the biggest guy in the pile. But these are the thing you realise after you've pulled him out of the pile, wrestled down three rows of seats, broken a seat with your back, and gotten your nose broken by the hardest punch you've ever felt. Thankfully, I like to think that that reaction was what gave the typically late to the scene (and useless!) BMO Field security forces to arrive and corral the womanbeater. By the time my dad (who for a 56 year old giving away even more inches and pounds than me to the United Yankees POS) corralled him the police finally arrived on the scene.
Now, you'll remember that I mentioned that Toronto's Mayor had been trying to play peacekeeper. What happened to him? Well, like any good politician, he realised that there was no value to sticking around and he bailed. He made no effort to deal with the police or with the victims of the assault or the guy who had his heart in the right place (although not his nose). The best part is that his quick departure is all on video:
The good news is that the story has a happy ending. The girl that got beat on was seemingly no worse for wear, her small friend was okay despite getting her neck and hand stepped on during the commotion, and I popped my nose back into place after a cop said it looked like a seven (surprisingly, it didn't hurt even though the crack was pretty loud). Statements were given to the police and hopefully a litany of assault charges are headed the scum's way. The paramedics did a great job and the police were helpful after the fact.
Oh, and the maniac that punched the girl? Well, he 'resisted arrest' and tried to hit a cop and was promptly 'restrained' by four or five officers. Seeing his entire right eyebrow split open, his mouth and nose bloodied, and in cuffs brought a smile to my face. Surprisingly, the police didn't take too kindly to the womanbeater telling them that he was going to kill them. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the police station when they dropped him off. The most frustrating thing is that, having spoken with the principals, the entire problem arose because the big United asshole and the husband of the woman that got popped, also a United fan, were chirping the maniac who is an Arsenal fan. Yeah, sounds about right.
The entire incident really highlights the issues with BMO security and the police presence in the South End which have existed every season since TFC started. This year is no different and if you talk to any member of the supporters groups you'll hear numerous stories of different issues arising from an ineptsecurity force. You'd think that they would have ironed out the details four seasons in but they haven't. The frustrating thing is that earlier in the game my dad had some colourful words for the referee (consistently awful as all CONCACAF refs must be to remain employed) and a security guard was right there to ask him to watch his language because of kids. But I guess it's good for kids to see a scrap.