One of the best experiences of my life if not ‘the best,’ was being a part of the 2010 Winter Olympics here in Vancouver. As I walked towards the pavilions out front of Canada Hockey Place, the crowd of people became thicker and more colourful, wearing their respective country’s Olympic gear and waving their nation’s flag.
I never expected the feeling to hit me the way it did. I could feel the electricity in the air and couldn’t stop the grin on my face while goose bumps covered my body from head to toe. I was heading to my first hockey game to see Russia versus Latvia, and for a moment I realized this was not what I expected. When the Olympics were here, it just didn’t seem real until I was actually downtown. The excitement, pride, and happiness and rich spirit of people from all over the world really blew me away. The emotion would hit me again as I watched events on television, knowing that people all over the world were watching it happen too. As the camera panned over beautiful downtown Vancouver from the sky above, I couldn’t believe that it was actually happening right here where I live.
I’ve been to many Canucks games previous to the Olympics in Vancouver, but sitting in Canada Hockey Place for the Russia/Latvia game was a completely different feeling. Witnessing the pride from other fans was an experience all to itself. I couldn’t help feel the same passion for all the Russia and Latvia fans that filled the seats, cheering and shouting for their respective teams. Just knowing that these fans travelled all this way to support their country’s athletes was amazing. I’m proud to be a Canadian but that day I was just proud to be alive and felt one with the people of the world. A feeling you can’t really describe, you just had to experience it. The thought ran through my mind, how in the heck is their so much hatred and violence in the world when the Olympics could unite not only a nation, but a world of nations together.
It was hard turning down a ticket to the men’s hockey Gold Medal game that my cousin had for me, but at $1,500 a pop I just couldn’t do it. I look back on that day and without hesitation I can now say, I wish I’d paid that much to experience watching Crosby score that game-winning goal.
Our men’s hockey team this year is stacked once again with many new additions. Although this year I won’t be sitting in a pub with my buddies watching team Canada games, I’ll be getting up super early in the morning, or staying up super late at night to watch games being playing from all the way over in Sochi.
In 2010 I watched almost every single event on television and found myself getting into sports that I would never normally watch. I would work in the early morning and as soon as I got home around 10am, it was on until about 3pm then I’d head back to work. I was hooked on anything and everything to do with the Olympics that year, but the medal ceremonies topped it all. That song they played gave me goose bumps every time, and the emotion that overcame me was unexpected. This year I’m hoping to catch as much coverage as possible and I hope you do too. So get ready everyone, go buy your team Canada jersey and get ready for what I’m hoping to be another Gold Medal game with another big win from our men’s hockey team.