Listen, there’s a lot to detest about the Olympics, and we’ve covered most of those topics over the last two weeks.
Corrupt institutions, archaic rules, terrible judging, jerks, political bullshit–the list goes on.
But there’s a reason we’re captivated by them. The spectacle they afford, behind the veil of nationalist overtones we secretly embrace, is unique.
Embracing strangers on the street is normally grounds for senseless violence, but not when the Olympics are on. It’s cool.
Canada and the United States played for gold in women’s hockey for the fourth time in five tournaments.
Canada and the United States treated us to one of the best hockey games we’ve seen in recent memory.
Canada and the United States have a curious relationship that is friendly on the surface, but troubled underneath. Canadians resent America’s penchant for ignoring them. Americans resent Canada’s standing as ‘not abhorrent clowns’ on the international stage.
We’re neighbors in every sense of the word. We can be friendly at times, but seriously get your garbage off my lawn.
The Americans controlled the game through two periods, employing a defensive style that rendered Canada to the outside, away from the scoring zones. The Canadians outshot the Americans, but in terms of quality chances, the Yanks ran the show.
Up 2-0 late in the third period it appeared the States were about to do something they hadn’t done since 1998. Win Olympic gold. Cleaning up at the world championships was one thing, but gold at the games was the pinnacle.
Canada cut the lead to one with just over three minutes left. A fortunate bounce off the referee nearly resulted in an American empty netter, but the puck hit the post.
Marie-Philip Poulin tied the game five minutes into the final minute. Overtime was just as wild, with 4-on-4 leaving the players, and the people watching at home, exhausted. Both teams exchanged penalties before Hillary Knight was called for cross checking Canada’s Haley Wickenheiser. Was it a cross check? No. Did Knight make contact with the Canadian? Yes.
Poulin was the hero, scoring 8:10 into the extra frame. Heartbreak for the U.S, joy for Canada.
I have only my experiences to go on, but I’m comfortable making this claim: we love the Olympics because it gives us something to connect over. There’s a reason reaction videos on Youtube are so beloved.
For Canadians it was a time to celebrate. Strangers gathered on the streets of Toronto embraced like long lost friends. Offices around the country erupted as dollars were lost due to a severe lack of productivity. Terrible jokes were re-tweeted on Twitter because they won? It was 2-0 and somehow, they won.
For the Americans it was the same, albeit under different circumstances. Sad texts were exchanged. Dark humor and the ability to shake it off and laugh were expressed by media and fans alike. It sucks, but wasn’t that fun?
Wasn’t it fun to care about something so much, with so many people, for that long?
It doesn’t happen that often. Four years can feel like an eternity.