I know I’m late but you remember that hockey game, don’t you?
So I know I won’t win any timeliness awards here but I’m hoping you will all consider me for the best excuse award, as I was in downtown Vancouver Sunday night for the biggest party this country has ever thrown after already going steadily hard for 16 days straight. Plus, I drove to Grand Forks, B.C. on Monday and am ridiculously sick to boot.
However, I’m sure I’m not much different than many other Canadians in the fact I can’t seem to think about anything else but overtime goals and record-breaking gold medal figures, so I’m sure you all won’t mind me talking about it a little.
Does this country have a flare for the dramatic in hockey or what?
I don’t think there is going to be a lot of argument for where Crosby’s goal will rank among the great hockey moments of our nation’s history – Henderson in ’72, Lemieux in ’87 and Crosby in 2010 – but after seeing what I saw last night I have to believe it will become one of our greatest moments period.
The fact that after the goal I ended up in a four-man, screaming embrace on a queen-sized bed in the middle of the rain forest, followed by a trip to the bathroom to get physically sick from all the medication I was on should only solidify how special that goal really was.
I’m not sure what the NHL’s plans are for future Olympic events but I think it’s safe to say this may have been our only shot to win hockey gold on home ice, with names on the jersey backs we actually care about. Just missing that would have been devastating to this country.
Add into the equation how poor our Olympic start was and the fact louder countries (those with a plethora of media) were saying a whole whack of negative things about us, and you’ve got a real problem.
Now take all of that and make that loss to the U.S. – as much a thorn in our sides lately as they are rivals – and you’ve got a national crisis on your hands.
And with 24.4 seconds left in the third period, every single Canadian felt the weight of that disaster looming as Zach Parise slid the rebound past Roberto Luongo forcing overtime. I personally could not speak for the first 10 minutes of the intermission, which will blow away anyone who knows me even remotely.
I thought the greatest 16-day experience of my life might actually end with the toughest sporting loss in my 32 years. Canada doesn’t win every tournament – far from it – but we ALWAYS seem to win the ones meaning the most to everyone and so the aspect of losing this medal, at this time, in that city, left me completely ill.
At that moment, the Deuce looked at me and said, “We WILL win this game, don’t worry about it.” And I kid you not – ask any of the other three guys there – not five seconds after he said that, the sun started to shine through the trees for the first time in four days.
I’m not trying to get into a religious discussion right now but I do respect the will of the hockey gods – as well as the gods of golf, driving and not-making-women-mad-at-me. And on this day, the seventh day of the week, the hockey gods wanted us to win.
And when the will of the hockey gods is carried out – thanks Sid – there is nothing left to do but celebrate. But when that same will also helps Canadian athletes become the greatest representatives of the top of the podium in Winter Olympic history, you must celebrate with the biggest party of all time.
And celebrate we did.
I’m not even exaggerating when I say – though I’ll admit I’m pretty crappy at crowd estimations for a sports writer – there might have been a million people in the streets of downtown Vancouver on Sunday night. By 10:30 p.m. we couldn’t even move anymore; it was either stand there and celebrate or suffocate and be found dead Monday morning.
There were bands playing all over the place and folks of every walk of life were singing, dancing, high-fiving and hugging. I would almost guarantee I even cheered with some Leafs fans, which just proves further how much Team Canada can bring this nation together.
Even the RCMP and police were getting into it, as they were posing with fans for pictures and offering high fives to those passing by. To be honest, as crazy as it was, the boys and girls in blue probably had their easiest task of the Games on Sunday, as the crowd was never dangerous and always peaceful. Of course, I did see one little skirmish but a constable walked over and, in true Canadian fashion, tapped one of the guys on the shoulder and then quietly escorted him away.
If you weren’t hearing music or cheering, you were overhearing people discussing the winning goal. Any cars that actually got near the core of the party were laying on their horns and hanging gigantic flags out of there windows, while anyone close screamed their approval.
Oh and in case you were wondering, owners of pizza-by-the-slice businesses and hotdog vendors will all be announcing their retirement shortly, as drunk Canadians tend to forget they just ate at that other one a block ago.
And on that note, I’ll end this by showing you some videos I took while in that mob, even though they won’t come close to justice. But first, let us pray:
Our Father, who art in GM Place, hockey be thy game.
Thy will be done, GOLD to be WON on ICE as well as IN THE STANDS.
Give us this day, our hockey sticks, and forgive us our penalties, as we forgive those who crosscheck against us.
Lead us not into elimination, but deliver us to victory, in the name of the fans, CANADA, and the HOLY PUCK.
**Submitted by my cuz in Red Deer, but also on my friend’s facebook page, who lives in Red Deer, which makes me wonder if the author also lives there… and also if these two know each other and just aren’t telling me so they can make fun of me**
***And please take that little poem in the fun it was intended and not as a mockery of what I know is a very important prayer to many people***
Check back soon for my Olympic farewell, which I’ll write as soon as I wake up from my coma, drive to Lethbridge and then induce and recover from another quick coma.
Take care all!
And now for a truly Canadian moment, even though this is one lazy game of shinny…
And now for the most badass group of KIDS UNDER 16… Just watch the kid in the back with hood on from time to time. He plays a solo that doesn’t come out too well in this audio but just look at his arms and you will hopefully get an idea of crazy amazing he is…