Monday, March 1, 2010
"AN ENTIRE NATION IS RELIEVED!"
The announcer declared as the team piled out on to the ice towards Sidney Crosby and Roberto Luongo. The sea of red and white in the stands became The Big Storm howling with deafening elation. Could truer words have been spoken?
What a game. As the clock ticked down the third period I was all prepared for the victory celebration, the crowd going wild, the elation that would pile out onto the streets; our red Canadian maple leaf mittens thrust thumbs up into the air, declaring “We are number one.” “Hockey is Canada’s game.” “We own it.” But memories of my father’s voice, full of mischievousness, kept cautioning me, “It’s not over till it’s over.”
How many Stanley Cup games had I shared with Dad and Mom, Uncle Lou and Aunt Helen (the Myers - relatives by choice) my brothers, sisters and an assortment of the Myers’ own 9 brood, our honorary cousins? Memories and emotions of those nights flooded back and though none of these people were present last night they might as well have been. Our little family room, inhabited by only Rod, me and Flippy was crowded and filled with the electric excitement of the past.
And then…the American player, Zach Parise, got that goal with only 25 seconds to go in the third period. Aarrgh, the agony of it all! It was going to have to go into another 20 minute period. Dad would have loved it! “A game should be close and well fought. You don’t want them to just walk away with it, what fun is that.”
My mind and emotions were flipping around all over the place. Oh God, how disappointing will it be if the US team wins (all relative of course – it would be disappointing for Canadians, not Americans). What if it goes to a shoot out? God I hate that – what a waste of all that great hockey and effort for it to come down to one guy and one goalie. If we win this we will have the most gold ever in the history of the Olympics…Canada of all countries (Canadians, stereotypically tend to be a modest, humble, polite breed. It’s acceptable for us to be good, but the best? That could challenge our concept of ourselves.)
Can I bear the intensity? Can I watch this, I asked myself. Of course whether we won or lost I would, I could, I had to. This is delicious anxiety, the kind that makes you want to ride that roller coaster and when it’s all over do it again.
And, how fitting was it that, 8 minutes into the over-time period, Cole Harbour’s Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal. The growing consensus of sports announcers across the country was that his accomplishments during these games were falling well short of expectations. And then he pulls this off. Good for him!
So there it was the puck went in and the crowd went wild…and I’m sitting there stunned in delayed reaction mode…HELLO… THE FIRST TEAM TO SCORE WINS they don’t have to play the whole 20 minutes.
The realization hit and I went nuts, yelling and throwing up my arms in victory and Flip, who moments before lay sleeping on the back of the couch by my head, flew from the back of the couch and tore out of the room.
I know, I know, in the scheme of things how important is all of this with wars and catastrophes going on in the world. But this too is life. For a moment I could let go of all the concerns, worries and sense of isolation and along with my fellow countrymen/women shout a collective hurrah for “my/our team”.
And now back to reality. Cinderella-like after the clock has struck midnight the world is doing what it does, winter grey has set in for another few weeks and all is as it is once more.