I really am ambivalent about Canada's victory over the USA hockey team. I so wanted the Americans to win; they didn't really match up well talent-wise with the Canadians, but seemed to have an endless supply of grit and determination. This was exemplified by the tying goal late in regulation time, a goal which temporarily inserted a dagger deep into the maple leaf on the Canadian team sweaters. But a lightning-fast overtime ended with a quick wrister from Sidney Crosby and Canada's relief was palpable.
The United States will survive. We have NBA basketball heading toward playoff time, major league baseball in spring training, and American Idol going strong. We are extremely proud that our team almost won the gold medal in a sport that is still something of an anamoly in the country.
Canada needed this victory much more than the U.S. I've only been north of our border twice, but each trip has convinced me that those hardy folk up there are fiercely proud of their country. One of our trips coincided with Canada Day and I must say I have never seen so many flags so ardently displayed...on houses, from buildings, street lights, and wrapped over shoulders. And nothing is imprinted on Canada's consciousness more strongly than hockey.
I guess it has something to do with the ever-present frozen ponds, cold weather, and short days, but Canada has to have something to divert their attention from the severity of life up there. That's not a knock on those fine folk. I admire them for leaving the comfort of their homes, cabins, and igloos when the wind chill is -50. There had to be something to bring joy and vigor during the long winters and hockey was it. And the hockey players they have produced are almost without fail model citizens, polite and respectful, unassuming, and tougher than an angry rattler.
So from down south, we tip our hats to the Canadian hockey team and to their devoted fans. We almost gotcha, but not quite. There's no shame in barely losing to the best. And oh, by the way, your national anthem is better than ours.