Olympic Pride

Wow.  In the middle of doing homework tonight, I turned around and flipped on the TV to see what was on.  I quickly found the US/Canada Ice-Hockey game and was immediately transfixed.  I caught the game in the 1st period when the US led 2-1.  I knew pretty quickly that any hopes for me finishing my homework in a timely manner were just that: hopes.

I’m really not a big sports fan.  The only sport I follow very much is Baseball, and even then my team of choice is the Chicago Cubs.  As someone who follows current events, I knew the Olympics were on, but they didn’t become the center of my attention.  While at night I’ve been casually flipping through the channels and watching some of the events, I would hardly qualify as someone who has been extremely involved.  For some reason, that all faded away as I watched the back and forth intensity of the hockey game.

It was clear early-on that the game was going to be intense.  Both teams were 2-0, the Canadians were on home-turf, and the US were the underdogs.  After a minute, I put my pencil down and devoted my full attention to the TV. 

Calling the game “gripping” doesn’t do it justice.  Both teams were clearly fighting with every last ounce of their energy.  The US was leading 4-2 heading into the 3rd period until the Canadians were able to score on a power-play.  With minutes left in the game, the score was 4-3; the Canadians only needed one more point to tie the game and push it into overtime.  The US goalie had blocked shot after relentless shot from the Canadians, but they were relentless.  I had no doubt that the Canadians were capable of making another goal in the short time left.  With a minute left, the Canadian goalie returned to the bench and they sent out another player to go on the offensive.  And then out of nowhere, Ryan Kesler from the United States got the puck and seemingly sprouted rocket engines as he sped down toward the Canadian end of the rink.

There was a minute left in the game, their net was unguarded, and there was a Canadian defender right behind him.  I don’t think I’ve ever been as transfixed to a sports game as I was in that moment.  Suddenly the Canadian defender was on top of him and it seemed like Kesler wouldn’t be able to make the shot.  And then he made a one-handed shot from his opposite hand and I watched it sail across the ice and into the Canadian net.  5-3 for the US with seconds left in the game.

It was a sight to behold.  The US staged an upset on the Canadian’s home-turf.  It wasn’t quite the miracle on ice that happened 30 years ago, but it was still a sight to behold.  It seems that divisiveness has been the theme of current events for the past few months.  When Chicago lost the bid to host the 2016 Olympics, there was video of people cheering because it the loss was seen as a blow to President Obama who had personally flown to Copenhagen to campaign on Chicago’s behalf.  I didn’t see it as a loss for President Obama, but a loss for all Americans.

I’m an eternal optimist, even in the face of insurmountable odds.  It certainly does lead to disappointment at times, but I manage.  With the country seemingly polarized between being a radical tea-partier right-winger or a socialist leftist commie, perhaps an underdog victory in ice-hockey could help to unite us, even if it is for a few short days.  Regardless of the likelihood, I’ll be rooting for the US ice-hockey team till the end (be it by victory or defeat.)  I hope that people can take timeout and root alongside me, regardless how they feel about homosexuality, abortion, or taxation.  Above all else we are Americans.  (And boy, do we have a kick ass ice-hockey team.)

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