Tag Archives: olympics

2010 Olympic Hangover: Hockey IS Canada’s game!

Wow, what a party. Over the past two weeks, the city of Vancouver has been bursting at the seams with an incredible positive energy, and it has been amazing to witness. For months (years, really) it built up slowly, crawling across red tape and protests and innumerable concerns and hopes among the populace who wondered if it would all be worth it. Well, I think it was.

post-game celebration downtown ~ photo by nofutureface

During the Olympics, I wasn’t just watching the games, I was also watching the people. I saw great displays of sportsmanship and comeraderie, not only among the athletes but also among the fans. There were a few sour grapes and some nasty attitudes about who won which medal, but that was mainly among those who believe that “second is the first loser,” and well, that’s not how everybody looks at it.

The media (yes, CTV, I’m talking to you) was for a while complaining about the dissapointment of not “owning the podium” but my how they changed their tune when Canada won all that gold. They’re so fickle, those newsmongers. For myself, I can say I was proud of every great performance I saw. To every athlete who gave their best, laid it all on the ice (or snow), and came in 4th or 10th or dead last, you should be proud. You should be really proud of yourselves, because I’m really proud of you.

Truth be told, the Olympics are just another competition, albeit a REALLY significant one. If you’re going to pick a time to shine, do it when the world is watching. These athletes have been training day after day—with a conviction and dedication I have never achieved myself—suffering injury and pushing forward through rehab, overcoming their fears and self-doubts, perfecting their techniques, so they can bring them to all of us and let us share a little part of their “thrill of victory, agony of defeat.” And I am fortunate enough to live in one of the cities that brought such a spectacle to life.

And on the last day, I watched the game of a lifetime. Two nations that hold my heart met to compete for hockey gold. No lie, I wanted Canada to win, but I wanted a good game, and I got a GREAT game. It wasn’t lopsided, and it was a real nail-biter. Oh, Luongo, I’m glad you were minding the net, but I think Sid the Kid had a little hockey angel on his shoulder that day.

high fivin' on the streets ~ photo by Michael F. McCarthy

After the game, Canada literally poured into the streets to celebrate, and I did something I never thought I’d do. Well, a couple of things, actually. I walked across the Burrard Street bridge, and I drank a Canadian beer. I’m afraid of heights, and I don’t like beer, but under the circumstances, how could I resist?

There was red and white everywhere. Flags were waving, fans were wooing, horns were honking, and people were high-fiving right and left. The atmosphere was electric and incredibly friendly. Here and there you’d see an American flag and a Canadian flag hugging it out. It wasn’t an “in your face” victory, at least not where I was standing. I watched a crowd of people pass by a group of US fans, and there were handshakes and high-fives and “good game” comments passing between them. We were all just happy. And the US team looked really pretty in silver, even with a few sour pusses in the picture.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics reminded me a lot of Burning Man. Being a part of this was like being on the playa, except with a lot less dust and a few less naked people. I have to say, kudos to the Vancouver Police Department for providing a security presence that was effective without being oppressive. Shutting down the booze markets early was a smart thing to do. It kept the crowds a little more family-friendly.

Sochi Mascot = Cutest thing ever! ~ by Duncan Rawlinson

I will remember you, stranger who took a bite of my pizza. I will remember you, the girl who gave me a Go Canada bracelet. I will remember you, Alice Cooper impersonator and Sochi mascot and crazy balloon-hat guy. I will remember you, too, smiling faces from far away places.

The Olympics are done, but the Paralympic games begin when the cauldron is relit on March 12th, and we’ll get to see a whole new kind of incredible. In the meantime, I really need to do some cooking and have a nice long nap.

P.S. HUGE THANKS to the people who shared their Olympic moments via Flickr Creative Commons so I could share them with you. My poor little camera is currently being held together by masking tape—no kiddin!

Flickr Creative Commons
nofutureface
Michael Francis McCarthy
Duncan Rawlinson @ The Last Minute Blog

Olympic Curling: Hurry Hard Canada!

Canadian Men’s Curling Team wins opener vs. Norway Harlequins!

Fans rockin' the Norway pants! ~ photo by kennymatic @ Flickr

Really, you must have a look at the pants made by ~ Loudmouth Golf ~ I am very fond of the Shagadelic pattern, but the Norwegian Curling Team’s uniforms are just the bee’s knees!

Yesterday I was roving downtown, watching the people walk by dressed in the colours of their particular countries. So much red and white and blue, and the occasional splash of yellow, green, orange. Stripes and dots and swirls and sparkles, and all these great patterns go walking by, sometimes with sparkles and feathers and balloon hats. There’s music in the air from concerts along the Yaletown stroll, featuring local Vancouver artists. Woo and Yeah are out in record numbers, and the Canadian National Anthem, I Believe, and that “like a waving flag” song are invading my dreams. And everybody is having a good time. It’s like an enormous street festival from one end of town to the other.

Hockey fans sporting Puckheads at the Torino Olympics (by A tee but no e @ Flickr)

While I was literally watching the world go by, here came a man wearing a curling stone hat. It even had a little handle on the top! It’s like a Puckhead, only it’s a curling thing. My sister is a big fan of curling. I’m still trying to figure it out. Curling has a huge following across Canada, and it’s been fun watching the coverage of the games.

According to the Olympic Curling info from VANOC, the game was invented some 500 years ago by people living around frozen lochs in Scotland, where life before TV was hard and there wasn’t a lot of fun to be had unless you made it yourself. I suspect the invention of this game was instigated by one ice fisherman who said to another, “I bet you can’t hit that ice hole with a rock.”

The playing field is called a sheet, and at one end of the sheet is a target area of concentric circles known as the house. Play is reminiscent of bocce (lawn bowling) or shuffleboard, as the object is to get your rocks in the house (i.e. on the target, preferably on the bull’s eye) and knock your opponent’s rocks out. One game is divided up into 10 ends (kinda like how baseball has 9 innings). During each end, each team has 8 rocks to throw, and each person on a team of four gets to throw two rocks.

Once a team member throws a rock, his (or her) team members can use their brooms to sweep the path in front of the sliding rock to change its direction and speed, making it “curl” so that it gets as close as possible to the middle of the target (the center of the rings at the other end of the sheet). You’ll hear the skip (team captain) yelling “Hurry!” or “Hurry hard!” to tell the sweepers to get a move on. “Woah!” means stop sweeping.

~ 2010 Olympic Curling Schedule and Results ~

Tonight we’re watching women’s curling (Canada vs China) and a movie called Men With Brooms. The other day we watched men’s figure skating and Blades of Glory. I haven’t cooked anything but cereal in two days. But it’s been a great party so far!

Curling Terminology

VANOC has a useful glossary of curling terms. There are strange names for just about everything related to the game; it’s funny that the stick used to measure rock distances is simply called a “measuring stick.”

Rock ~ the big ice puck with the handle.

Hammer ~ It’s good to have the hammer. It means you get the last shot in the end.

Skip ~ The team boss. Does a lot of yelling at the sweepers and usually throws the last two rocks for the team in each end.

House ~ The target area of circles, divided into quadrants. The center ring is the button (aka bullseye). The more stones you have in the house, the more points you get.

Hack ~ The bar used to push off when a player slides a rock.

Hog Line ~ A player has to release the rock before they get to this line on the sheet.

~ GO CANADA GO ~

Flickr Creative Commons
Loud and Proud by kennymatic
Puckheads by A tee but no e