" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

March 02, 2010

Olympic Nationalism ... Enough Already!

Had enough of Olympic nationalism yet?
  • Remove the flag flanking your body like Superman's cape.
  • Remove the hockey jersey.
  • Remove those friggen mittens! (That means you, Gordon Campbell. Attention-seeking freak that you are!)
 I admit it. It WAS fun! I was treated like royalty by Meesh courtesy of the US State Department and I will remember the feelings of unity that spread through the crowd in the bar; a feeling I haven't felt since my highschool basketball days, as we collectively cheered, held our breath and banged our tables in unison. I really enjoyed watching THE GAME.
On average, I probably watch about three hockey games a year. No sense wasting time looking at anything but the best! Friday night's game (that I enjoyed immensely watching with my dear old dad)  and, of course, the final game on Sunday afternoon were definitely the best! Meesh and I had fun sharing the experience with two Americans, a mother and daughter from Idaho, camouflaged as Canadians, sitting next to our table in The Georgian Court bar.
When it was over we headed to Robson Square, not prepared for the outpouring of nationalistic fervour and testosterone that poured into the area. At first, it was fun but as we moved closer to Granville and more screaming, jumping, fist raising fans poured in, somewhere around the intersection of Sears, I began to get really uncomfortable and nervous.
My purse strap got wrapped around the front of Meesh and I could feel it pulling against my neck. Two guys were climbing the light standard post on the corner above us and someone had fallen on the plastic orange marker beside me to the right and he was having trouble getting up. I began to get really anxious as I could feel the energy and the movement of the crowd transporting me against my will a bit like a huge rogue wave that was going in a direction I didn't want to go. When we saw the open doors of Sears we moved step by step inching with arms and bodies pushing against us towards the door, bursting out of the crowd and into Sears with a sigh of relief. It felt as if we hadn't made that decision, we would have been caught up in that crowd for hours, without a way to reach a sidewalk shore.  It was really scary actually and I shudder to think what would have happened downtown had we lost. I've never been part of such a frenzied crowd before. Testosterone to the max!
I'm all for fun and I can appreciate where the National pride after such a rivalry comes from but I don't like nationalism or patriotism. It's an outdated mode of thinking. In today's world, borders make no sense.
One World people. That's where it's at.
I'm Canadian so the outpouring of nationalist pride made me cringe actually in the closing ceremonies and in the 12 hour freak-out of ego masquerading as joy that exploded downtown after the win. Okay, we get it!
It felt like being the host of a party, inviting the world and as the party wound down and our guests were getting ready to pack up and leave, we reminded them that they should kiss our ass because we are the king of the castle. I think it was a little rude actually.
As the closing ceremonies took place, we sat in Meesh's hotel room (thank you US State department) directly across from BC Place stadium. We could see SWAT team members with rifles on roofs around the stadium.
With the window open, we could actually hear the delay between what was happening in the stadium and the real-time broadcast of it. We could hear the crowd inside cheering. When the closing ceremonies ended, we were treated, from our hotel room to a fireworks display that few would have seen, colour bursting from around the Teflon roof of BC Place.

After it was over we wandered down to Yaletown for a meal of home made Italian fare at Amarcord and listened to the music of a blues band belting out lyrics from in front of Capones. After dinner we  wandered over to Robson Square and every inch of Granville street was packed with hockey-jersey-clad fans their shrieking and flag waving and honking punctuating the fervour.
I'd really hate to think what would have happened to downtown had we lost! 

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