Monday, March 1, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games: I Believe in Canada!

I believe, Canada!  I believe!

I've never really been a big sports fan - except for hockey; it's a rite of passage for all Canadians, really.  So with the Olympic Games ending in sweet victory with Team Canada taking the gold medal for men's hockey, it had turned into an overwhelming swell of pride that we, as a nation, take our passions seriously and with dignity. 

Yes, sweet indeed.  But merely a jewel in the crown that was the presentation of the Olympic Games in Vancouver.  We, as Canadians, proved ourselves worthy hosts to the world, shattering the presumption that we are a reserved, quiet people with hesitation of our place in the world.  The Opening Ceremonies showed the poetry of the vast wheat fields in the Prairies, the relentless energy of the Eastern Coast fiddlers, the passion in performance of our greatest artists and musicians, the youth of our nation that step on their soapboxes with a mission to change what the world knows about our incredible country.  Our Opening Ceremonies gave way to conversation about what the world thought they knew about us as a people, and I think they now understand us a little better.

This may seem biased after Canada's success in Vancouver, but medal counts and competition came second to me when it came to these Games.  The representation of the culture and spirit of the host country's people and beliefs can be a tricky script to write, especially for a country as diverse as ours.  What would we tell the world about us?  With a country as huge as ours, where would we start?  The "Canadian Dream" is something that isn't unobtainable or indescribable, but more of a symbiotic relationship that makes us appreciate each other even more.  Our West Coast is much different from our East Coast, but Newfoundland loves the Rockies as much as Vancouverites love their lobster.  Yes, our differences can cause strife and friction, and that's what happens in a family.  I would be very worried if I ever met a family that didn't have disagreements. 

And with this in mind, I felt the most important element of our culture was tremendously performed with the most classic Canadian trait: the ability to laugh at ourselves.  The faulty indoor Olympic Cauldron during the Opening Ceremonies was a little bit of a rub for us watching it live in our homes, but, as true Canadians are, we overcame and carried on.  What a beautifully quirky moment to see a Cirque-esque mechanic pop out of the Cauldron's faulty hydraulic arm, and inviting Catriona Le May Doan back to relight the flame, since her opportunity was missed because of the technical malfunction during the Opening Ceremonies.  What followed was nothing more than pure Canadian mischief, complete with what could have been a Macy's Day Parade if we took it over.  I couldn't help but giggle and cheer all throughout the Closing Ceremonies, enjoying the fact that what I was watching was a great performance by a country that has a sense of humour and a lot of dignity. 

We've witness to many heroes and champions, many triumphs and tribulations, and so much heartbreak and grief, when the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili shocked the world, merely hours before the Games were to officially open.  His teammates, who surely will return home with a heroes' welcome, stayed to compete in his honour.  Nodar's memory will be honoured in his home country with the construction of a training centre to prepare future Olympians for their glory.  Although the world felt the despair of these athletes, as well as the many others who had experienced their own personal loss, we do hope that the Canadian people could provide you with comfort that will provide you with stronger days to come.

These Olympic Games made me truly proud to be Canadian, and I think this is exactly what this country needed to break out of its shell.  We may have been perceived as polite, mild-mannered peacekeepers.  Now, we are seen as humble champions, a nation of hospitality, and a proud people of heritage, ingenuity and a strong vision for the future.

Now, where's that maple syrup for my back bacon?  Oh!  And save me a beaver tail!  While you're at it, swing by Timmie's and grab me a triple-triple, would ya?

Thank you, world, for letting us show you who we really are, and having a sense of humour with us.  We couldn't have done it without you.

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