The Olympics are over… finally. Really, how much partying can a city do? Not sure what it’s like in other parts of the country, but there’s talk here about the impact of the Olympics on the Canadian psyche and identity. I’m sure most of you have seen the pics, but to experience it was something else. I’ve never seen so many Canadian flags in my life… CANADA was proclaimed everywhere. I’m not used to all the patriotism, it’s actually quite nice. But it makes me wonder how a sport can form a national identity. Perhaps its akin to how cricket affected India, or baseball and America. I’m not sure if I like the idea that the Olympics helped to define Canadian identity, just as I don’t like having an identity based on what we’re not.
Don’t get me wrong, I was all into it. I postpone working on my paper and sermon to watch the gold medal match. About three-quarters of my church piled into my pastor’s house after our worship service to watch the game in their living room. My heart was pounding and I thought I was going into a seizure when the Americans scored, 24 sec left in the 3rd period. All of the sudden, memories of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals flooded in. Oh Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, they might lose. Why did I ever get my hopes up?
When Sid the Kid scored we all erupted in cheers. It was unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. We sang O Canada along with the television. And when I drove out on to street I hear cheers and honking of horns all over. One American friend thought we’ve all lost our minds, “It’s like Armageddon out there,” he said, “it’s not the Superbowl.” Well of course not, you’re in Canada my friend. Canada. Home.
I didn’t join the throngs of people, unfortunately I did have a sermon to finish off and a paper to work on. It pained me not to be able to cheer on the streets, high-five strangers, and join in spontaneous outbursts of the national anthem. But for a few hours I enjoyed the afterglow.
Then it was back to real life.
What is the Canadian identity, and what makes it so important to us? How important is it to have a national identity? And how does being a Canadian unite us as a country? Does it unite or draw boundaries? And if I break it down further for myself, I have to ask what does it mean to be a Chinese Canadian? How does this affect my interactions with other people… does it make a difference?
where were you when Canada won olympic hockey gold?
Realistically, this will be etched into the “Canadian Conscience,” it was a defining moment in some sort of way. Maybe because it was so internationally broadcasted, maybe because our collective hope was tied up with this game. Hope in what exactly? Why does it matter? Are our egos so fragile? What would have happened if we had lost?
Ehhh… don’t want to think about it. I’ve already gone through a city which lamented over losing, can’t imagine an entire country.
For now we’ll enjoy our “gold” and resume daily life once again. Commentators can duke it out over blogs and news forums while real problems of life surface again after the streets are swept clean and the budget rolls in.
O Canada, I’m a part of you but what are you? I sure hope you’re most than guys on skates, hitting a puck with sticks.