So proud to be Canadian

Yesterday (Sunday) morning I got up early to watch the Gold Medal Game for men’s hockey at the Sochi Olympics.  While it wasn’t the greatest game ever (that award would go to the Canadian women winning the gold medal in hockey), I loved the fact that I was up with Canadians from literally all over the world watching the game.  How do I describe Canadians passion for hockey?  Having lived a lot of different places I think the only thing I can compare it to is the rest of the world’s passion for football/soccer or in India and Pakistan cricket.

Men win hockey gold

Men win hockey gold

Women will hockey gold

Women will hockey gold

The roads in Toronto were literally empty early Sunday morning.  The bars were full and Tim Horton’s was empty.  Not the usual state of affairs.  Yes, we won the gold but if truth is to be stated our real gold game was when we played the Americans in the semi final and won.

Empty highway in Toronto during gold medal game.

Empty highway in Toronto during gold medal game.

This has been an amazing Olympics.  Our Canadian athletes did a wonderful job.  Yes, there were disappointments.  There always are.  Those who seem to be guaranteed a medal see it slip away.  That is the name of the game in sports and why I love it so much.  Watching that is – not participating.  I am the ultimate fan.  I think my whole extended family is as we communicated on Facebook during so much of what was happening.

The medals were wonderful and there is nothing like seeing the Maple Leaf raised and the Canadian national anthem played.  But there were so many that tried their best and came in fourth, ninth, twenty first or last.  They will always be Olympians.  Dreams are over in a split second.  Dreams that have driven a person for years can disappear.  Watching the 4 man bobsled flip over and then holding my breath while these men slid all the way down the track not knowing if they were going to be OK.  They were and because they crossed the finish line they were not eliminated and got to do the third run the next day.  They didn’t have to show up.  There was no hope to move up to the top 20 and race one more time.  No hope for a medal.  But show up they did and ran a terrific race.  The fans from all over the world were cheering them on.

Canadian speed skater Gilmore Junio who gave up his spot for his team mate Denny Morrison because he felt Denny had a better chance.  He deserves recognition and a medal for character.  Denny Morrison went on to win two medals for Canada.

The curling golds.  Jennifer Jones leading her team to an undefeated Olympics.  The first women’s curling team to ever reach that pinnacle. I was worried about the men after two losses but they came roaring back and took gold.

The X Games sports that I love and fear.  Memories of Sarah Burke 1606851_10153794625565368_508435610_nand how hard she worked to bring these incredible sports and athletes to the Olympics.  Incredible results, falls, dreams made and hearts broken.  So glad they are now part of the Olympics.

Kallie and Heather as they roared down the bobsled track and repeated their gold medal performance from Vancouver

Canadian Bobsledders

Canadian Bobsledders

……they ended up our flag bearers for the closing ceremonies.  Ladies, never apologize for who you are…..strong, confident, talented women.

Moments when our hearts stopped when the puck hit the goal post and didn’t go in during the gold medal game.  It would have all been over for the women except for a 2 inch piece of steel.

Maybe it was the fact that I am in Guatemala and it was the first Olympic games I have been able to see completely thanks to the incredible setup that CBC provided that I have such strong feelings about what I observed.  The sheer joy of being an athlete representing Canada was expressed over and over.  I loved realizing that my friends in Peru, Bangkok, Australia, India, Switzerland and every place in between were all there with me thanks to social media.

I know there is so much I haven’t written about but that may come later.  Regardless of all the political issues athletes came together in Sochi for two weeks of incredible competition.  Joy, heartbreak, tears of happiness and distress all blended together to show the world that nations that politically do not share the same ideology can share a passion for their country, competition and comradeship.  This is the lesson that should be taught to our students everyday.

What I knew before the games and I know even more now is I AM CANADIAN and so proud of it.

Entering the stadium at the closing ceremonies

Entering the stadium at the closing ceremonies

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