I’m a little ashamed to admit I’ve never really cared about the Olympics before. I never understood the hype or the significance of the event.
But this year with the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, I did a complete 360 (190? I was never good with math. I think that one puts me in a corner). I have no idea what factors exactly caused me to attach myself to the television permanently, but I figure it’s a combination of being more connected with the travel world, writing for Matador Sports, and having Canada be the host country. The world feels a lot closer these days.
Considering I’m Canadian, it’s hard to be unbiased and I’m unsure how this year’s games compare to previous games. But there’s just something about the way Canada handled these games that set my soul on fire.
I’ve never seen anything like it. The raw, pure, absolutely overwhelming displays of patriotism and happiness. The red sweaters, the maple leaf paraphernalia, even the giant flying moose in the closing ceremony (god help the person who took the ceremony seriously).
And with the gold medal count steadily increasing within the past week, the fervour just exploded. It’s all anyone talked about. It’s like the entire country had been suppressing their national pride for decades, and then just decided to erupt all at once. I would have given up my firstborn to be in the middle of it all; I found it painful watching from the other side of the country.
There was the hockey. Some people think it’s all we care about, but come on, we have a right to care. It’s the same way America cares about football and Italy cares about soccer. So the women’s team took the gold and then there was the final USA vs Canada gold medal hockey game on Sunday night.
You could literally cut the tension in the air with a knife. Even watching the excitement build on Twitter was excruciating. I decided to head over to a coworker’s house to watch the event, rather than avoid the whole thing like I had previously intended. I figured I couldn’t miss out on history.
When Crosby scored the winning goal, it was like the entire country let out its breath in one collective roar. I was gobsmacked. People poured out into the streets, waving flags, screaming, partying. No doubt we’ll remember the event forever, it was exactly what Canada needed…a record-breaking number of gold medals and total domination of hockey.
Newfoundland and Labrador was strangely quiet. I walked home to find people talking about it from their cars, or kids playing street hockey. But George Street was vacant to the point of eeriness. All I could do was sit at home alone, watching everyone else soaking up the greatest display of Canadian patriotism in history and be envious.
I’m so proud to be Canadian, to have witnessed Canadians express our uniqueness and our strength to the world with these games. And goddamn, everyone outside of Canada was amazing, so gracious and thankful. I only noticed one sore loser on Twitter after the hockey game, I figure in a sea of 700 Twitterers, that’s pretty good. I mean, how could you not feel at least a little happy for the sheer bliss on all the Canucks’ faces?
Ain’t I a sap? Thanks JoAnna, for encouraging me with your own thoughts and ideas! I am so happy to have been a part of this experience, even from the outside.