I’ve always loved the Winter Olympics because all of the sports are slightly insane. They are all played on blades or boards; they all revolve around challenging gravity or completely throwing oneself at its mercy; and all of the sports (let’s exclude curling) are played on such an edge that the slightest miscalculation can lead to serious injury or even death. And then, of course, there is hockey.
So when my sister Suzanne (who is a big-wig at the Hudson Bay Company and who is in charge of the design team that put together all of that groovy Canada merch that flooded the streets of Vancouver) came to me and brother Pete and said that she had an extra ticket for the Gold medal hockey game…well, Pete and I started to salivate. The decision as to who would go was decided by a coin toss….tails, I won.
What can I say…it has been a bit of a fairytale Olympics for us Canadians. We watched as a series of mishaps and one enormous tragedy caused the event to stumble out of the gate. The entire Canadian team seemed to stumble along with it, the hockey team in lock step. And then there was a slow change in momentum, gravity was defied and then gradually became our friend and we ended with such an intense, dramatic, victorious rush that I think our collective psyches have been altered forever. This narrative arc, this unbelievable journey that the Canadian Olympic Team went on over these past 17 days is not something that us Canadians are use to. (I’m not just talking about the hockey team, but their story is the story of the Games distilled for the entire Olympic team). It is the type of story that is commonplace in the history of our friends to the South, but not up here above the 49th parallel. We don’t usually find ourselves rising from the mat, struggling to our feet, the dramatic come-from-behind victory. It’s not because of a lack of will power or a lack of character, but because we rarely stick our chins out and therefore we rarely get knocked down, in the past we have preferred a victory (or a loss) “by decision”….a little bit boring, a little bit safe. Perhaps that has now changed. Perhaps now when our champions, when we, step, slide, run, jump, walk on to that world stage, in any and all fields-of-endeavour, we’ll be saying to ourselves, “shit yah, of course I can do this, of course I belong here, hell, I’m a Canadian…give me your best shot”.
And I was there to witness a small moment of that transformation…how cool is that…..LUUUUUUUUU….