According to reports, 80% of Canadians watched some part of the men’s ice hockey gold medal game on Sunday. That’s over 26 million people who tuned into watched one of the greatest hockey games the sport has ever put on.
As with such legendary games, people will remember for years to come where they were when Sidney Crosby scored the gold medal winning goal in overtime. For many people across Canada, that place was a packed bar. People got up early on Sunday morning, hours before bars even opened to line up to ensure a good seat once the game started. Some watched at LiveCity Downtown and LiveCity Yaletown, standing throughout most of the game, packed shoulder to shoulder with their Canadian brethren. Others made Robson Square their place to watch, again close to other Canadians.
I watched the game alone at my home, which surprisingly I found out later that a lot of other people did the same. The night before I had been downtown until quite late. I didn’t get to bed until 4am and the thought of getting around 9am to go line up in front of a bar did not appeal to me.
I woke up at noon. Though I was still slightly groggy, the sheer importance of the game made me nervous from the minute I opened my eyes. I immediately turned on the TV. As the players warmed-up, I brushed my teeth and washed my face.
There I sat in my PJs on my couch until the end of the first period. I only made some breakfast during the first intermission. I quickly scrambled three eggs so as to not miss any of the action. I was on edge the entire game. It felt like I was writing a university final exam again.
When the US tied it up at the end of regulation, I was disappointed but not deeply so. Of course, I only became more nervous though. I’ve watched enough hockey to know that OT goals can be scored in the most surprising and seemingly harmless ways. It could end badly on the most innocent of plays.
As it stood, Crosby ended the game in such quick fashion that I did not even comprehend what I was seeing at first. Usually, the sight of a puck entering the net tells me a goal has been scored. This time around, it was the sight of thousands of red clad fans jumping to their feet that signaled to me Crosby had scored.
As the players from Team Canada piled around each other, I instantly became thankful I was alone at this moment as I shed the first of several tears. There would be more tears over the next few minutes, especially during the playing of our national anthem. Who knew I loved hockey and my country so much?
Over the last day or so, I’ve discovered where others watched the game. Some watched in bars. Some were like me, who watched at home. No matter where anyone watched though, for that one golden moment we cheered together. I wish we could have measured the elation of the entire country at that moment.
So where did you watch the game?