I don’t normally watch hockey, or any sport, for that matter. But this past week, I watched four men’s hockey games during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I was watching when we got crushed by the U.S., annihilated Russia, barely beat Slovakia and – with extremely bated breath – I was watching when Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal in overtime on Feb. 28, breaking the hearts of millions of Americans (especially that of U.S. goalie Ryan Miller).
I don’t want to be accused of fake, or temporary, or crowd-induced patriotism… also known as Olympic Hockey Fever. I also hope I don’t sound like a bad feminist because I didn’t follow the women’s hockey as closely (who also won gold!). But I have to admit I got really caught up in the drama, the suspense and the excitement, before and after we won. I couldn’t help it. When Zach Parise tied the game with just seconds left, I thought I was going to cry. I nearly stopped breathing while we were in overtime. I clapped so hard I hurt my palms when I realized we won. I typed Facebook and Twitter statuses without looking away from the T.V. And then I teared up at photos of crowds cheering and celebrating in Vancouver and Toronto.
And yet, when I watched that first game against the U.S., I had to Google “power play.” I didn’t know who these players were, and I had to rely on the announcers to walk me through what was happening. What I did know, however, was that I hated Zach Parise and Ryan Miller with the passion of a thousand suns. And I knew that WE. HAD. TO. WIN.
I don’t care that I’m a tourist hockey fan. Or an Olympic sheep. I enjoyed every moment – a whole series of exhausting, terrifying, exhilarating, and proud moments – that I experienced with millions of other Canadians. I’m glad that I can tell people what I was doing and where I was when Canada won gold. Being a part of all that was worth all the stress. And there was a lot of stress. Did you see that goal that tied the game? SCREW YOU, PARISE!
And now back to my normal life.