I'll try to keep this short, because my analysis isn't going to add much at this point. But I'm sufficiently jazzed for the gold medal game that I feel compelled to write anyway, so here I am, after enjoying the Finland-Slovakia bronze game. (Which, incidentally, is the best game I've seen Sex Panther play. Guess country means more to Olli than the Flaming C. Guess that makes sense.)
The thing I'm most excited about, honestly, is being excited. Hockey brings out every best emotion in me and, as usual, the Winter Olympics are pretty much the most enjoyable thing in sports, so having my country in the gold medal game of my favourite sport, in my favourite sporting event, couldn't be better. I do, absolutely, remember exactly where I was in 2002 for that win: Kamloops, fairly new to town, watching in a co-worker's basement. I remember Bob Cole's Jeooooo SAKIC! like it was yesterday, and not just because it's been replayed every day of these Olympics. I think I've been more excited about a hockey victory only four other times: The Flames' wins over the Oilers in '86, the Habs in '89, and the Canucks and Red Wings in '04. (The Sharks win just filled me with dread at the potential for forthcoming disappointment, which obviously turned out to be prescient.)
Over the past two weeks, I've really come to like this Canada team, but I've also liked watching pretty much every game in the tournament; International hockey at its highest level is so pure, so much about the game.
But it's been especially fun seeing so much of my personal elation at Canada's success reflected in so many people around me. It hasn't always been perfect, but it's been close, even when Canada's lost. Watching Finland and Slovakia just now, I found myself rooting for Slovakia because they'd never medalled, but happy for Finland because it meant so much to them, to win a bronze medal.
If that makes me a sucker, getting excited watching rich hockey guys get excited about winning, I'll be happy to be a sucker. If Canada loses tomorrow, I'll be happy for the Americans, just like I was when the U.S. won at the world juniors in January.
But if Canada wins? Well, I'll never forget where I was.
Let's have some fun.