Is The Hunger Games too violent for children? As the PG-13 movie opens, that’s a question parents everywhere are struggling with. Fair warning, Mom and Dad, don’t let the kids read this week’s Mishmash, which brings you three stories of bad behavior in real-life games, all of which involve children.
UPDATE: Celebration is a Riot
European soccer stadiums may sometimes seem to have a monopoly on violent fan riots, but sports-related riots in North America are not uncommon. Think of Vancouver last year post Stanley Cup or the death of Victoria Snelgrove after Boston Red Sox’s 2004 World Series win. Phillies fans rioted when their team won the Series in 2008. Giants fans tore up Market Street in San Francisco the next year. And who could forget the so-called “Malice in the Palace,” a full-court brawl at an NBA game in 2004?
On March 31, University of Kentucky students rioted after their basketball team beat arch-rivals Louisville 69-61 in the NCAA men’s Final Four. Drunken fans spilled into the streets of Lexington, KY after the game — which was held in New Orleans — burning couches, flipping cars and battling with riot police. Twenty-seven people were arrested. No explanation yet for how or why the violence started. Authorities in Kentucky will be on high alert tonight as the Wildcats take on Kansas in the final. Tip-off is at 9:23PM EDT.
“You would have thought it was the World Cup Final”
Our first story comes from Poznan, Poland where a crowd of drunken fans disrupted an indoor youth soccer game by lighting flares and throwing toilet paper onto the court. The game had to be abandoned as the gym quickly filled with smoke and the disappointed children picked the litter of the floor. Graham Smith of the Daily Mail explains that the hooligans were supporters of Poznan’s biggest club, Lech, come to cheer on their side’s Under-8 team. But enthusiasm—and probably vodka—clearly got the better of them. It’s not a good sign for Poland, which is hosting this summer’s European Championship along with Ukraine, and has had troubles with hooliganism in the past.
Vicious Foul at Hong Kong Youth Soccer Game
In Hong Kong, it’s the kids who are the problem, not the fans. During an under-12 match between the English Schools Foundation and Kitchee Escola, a white player from ESF kicked a fallen Chinese opponent full in the face. Looking at he video, it appears deliberate. The victim was lying on the ground, having already been fouled, and the ball was rolling away in another direction. The ESF player, who is only 10, has been arrested and released on bail. The Telegraph reported that commenters on Hong Kong newspaper websites called the ESF boys “white bullies” and asked the government to stop funding the education of foreigners.
Cut the armchair analysis
Finally, an editorial in the Ottawa Citizen holds that last June’s Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver provoked a lot of useless sociology. There’s no deeper meaning behind non-political group violence: “Riots are pointless . . . Rioters riot because they can, because others are doing it, because they are stupidly drunk.” The piece goes on to discuss a completely unprovoked St. Patrick’s Day riot in London, Ontario. Led by students from Fanshawe College, nearly 1,000 drunken revelers damaged buildings, burned a television news truck, and threw bricks, bottles and two-by-fours at police. More than a dozen people have been arrested, including two 15-year-olds.