America's Cup: Why Hockey Rules in Canada (and why we just don't get it)

Hey America, Venuist here. You still ballin’? Thought so. Catch that Canada/Team USA cage, err, grudge, err, championship match last weekend at the Olympics? Same here. It was pretty awesome.

And here’s why you thought it was awesome, because for around 70 minutes, the best players in the world of hockey (if there is, indeed, such a place — and such a place isn’t simply known as “Canada”) decided to pitch a battle where wits, sweat, blood, and high-sticking were all called upon in the name of country of origin and pride. No one gets paid to potentially blow out there ACL or break their wrist in an Olympic contest. If Sidney Crosby had blown out his back diving for the puck he’d have to explain it to the good people of Pittsburgh and Super-Mario Lemieux. Yet he did all the same. Because, it meant something. Something.

But what is that something? And what captivated an underwhelming roster of American second-linesmen to maraud their way through Olympic competition en route to a showdown at Canada Hockey Place or Palace or Palais or Chez Hockey or whatever they call it?

Beats the hell out of me.

That said, what I felt, both as an American and fair-weather NHL fan was a sense of blood-lust and fascination. It went something like this:

Holy crap holy crap holy crap holy crap. We — the US — might just beat the Canadians. The effing Candians. And not only that. In the Olympics. THE OLYMPICS. Wait, the Olympics are being played in Vancouver right now. VANCOUVER IS IN CANADA! Holy crap! We are going toe-to-toe with the Canadians in CANADA and hockey, wait, yeah, hockey is the national sport. Hell, from what I understand hockey is considered the national sport, bird, flowering vine, and beer of the month in Canada. It’s like what baseball-football-basketball-NASCAR and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ are for Americans, except all those rolled into one and timesed by like, eleventy-million for Canadians. And we. Are. Beating. The. Canadians. Maybe. Oh my God Holy Crap Oh MY GOD. I should call my Dad right now and say “oh, my God we might beat Canada” to him right now.

And then one’s mind begins to wander. Wooah, wait — if we beat the Canadians, what is going to happen? Are the Canucks going to tear down Chez Hockey and the Olympic Stadium brick by brick, log by log, in an act of terrifying rebellion? Will we hear Martin Brodeur utter the words “let them eat Curling Gold” and watch, aghast, as those words echo with infamy down the corridors of time?

Fortunately, the Gold Medal title bout ended in a win for Team Canada and a 70 minute infomercial for the NHL. Let’s see if the shine clings to the NHL as well as it does for the Gold. And so, a crisis of epic proportions — really, a potential crisis of faith for an entire country (of sorts) — was averted and the rightful order of the hockey universe was restored (if there is, indeed, such a place — and such a place isn’t simply known as “Canada”)

T*B*C: “WHY Soccer Rules the World (and why we just don’t get it)

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