Today’s final hockey game will be last medal event and it seems fitting that Canada and the USA are competing for the Gold. I have been torn for who to root for. I started the Games writing about how proud I was being part Canadian. I was thrilled when Canada won it’s first gold and I thought I could hear the singing of O Canada on Gabriola (quite a ways from Vancouver). However, since returning back to the states and watching the hockey mostly from my computer (thanks to NBC’s strange coverage), I have not been all that proud of the Canadian fans. Watching from the computer means I get to see the running text messages beside the picture. The hatred that came from these posts towards the USA was hard to take. I realize the USA upset the Canadian dream path to hockey Gold. But I was surprised that it resulted in a meltdown. Good thing that was mostly just the fans and not the players. Team Canada seemed to have used the loss to get over their complacent ways putting together an awesome run of victories for a second chance. They actually seem to be a better team now then last week.
My discouragement got worse when a friend shared how poorly they had been treated as a fan at a curling match while wearing a USA jacket. I felt sad. I was ready to just start rooting for the USA team. I shared my pain with one of my Canadian hockey fans. He wrote back a story that balanced the scales. Apparently a radio show up in Canada was asking folks to call in and share how much they hated the USA team. A young boy called and instead of sharing his hatred, he asked the question, “Why do so many people want to hate a team that has made hockey so exciting?” I love that. My friend also shared a series of other stories like the ice dancers—USA and Canadian—who train together and hug after each performance, regardless of who won.
So now I am rooting for the best game, the one which provides the excitement the young boy spoke about. A game that somehow reflects the best of these Games.
I am not even a hockey fan. But I do appreciate how much hockey means to Canada. I also appreciate that the USA has not won the gold since Lake Placid and that was the “miracle on ice” experience. These days the players out there are professionals, very different than the college team that won back then. Still this USA team is young and passionate. The Canadian team has the nation backing it and carries the weight of expectation. It sounds like a great match-up and hopefully one that will make all of us proud!!