Let me begin with a bit of a disclaimer – this is my first post using Windows Live Writer. I keep on hearing about the superiority of this program (over writing directly in Blog press). My apologies ahead of time if things look a little wonky!
Now back to the Olympics
Although the Fiancé and I found ourselves in Vancouver for several days we were actually there to attend one event in particular. You see, several years ago (yes – the process actually did take that long!) we put in for hockey tickets. You had to indicate what events you wanted to attend and then wait for the results of the lottery.
We ended up hitting the big time and scored tickets to one of the men’s hockey semi-finals. Since we hadn’t put in for Gold medal tickets (there was no way we were willing to pay in the thousands for tickets) we were thrilled! Back in the day we had no idea what teams we would be watching. Soon we came to learn it would be the USA side of the bracket – and given how well they were playing I totally expected them to be there. And so we packed up our Olympic gear (Canada Scarves? Check! Olympic Mittens? Multiple Pairs! VANOC Backpack? Yuppers!) and headed out to Vancouver!
The semi-final we were watching was the first of two to be played on February 26th, 2010. We got there WAY early (mostly ‘cause we feared security delays) and took in the atmosphere. Slowly the crowds started to trickle into Canada Hockey Place. Since we were in Canada most of us still chose to wear our Canada gear but there were a seriously good number of Americans (what with Vancouver practically being on the border) and Finnish peeps in the house. Little factoid – did you know that Finland in Finnish is pronounced something like “Swamee.” How in the world did we end up with Finland in English? It’s not even close!
Of course we took some pre-game pictures! We were super excited to be there and had to document the events!
Once the teams came out for their warm-up the atmosphere upped in excitement. These were the Olympic games and we were about to be treated to what would hopefully be an amazing hockey game! But what side to cheer for? I have to admit I was kind of hoping that Finland would do really well, although, in the back of my mind I knew that a Canada vs.. USA Gold Medal Game would be sweet indeed. But for that afternoon it was all about “Swamee!!
In the end it was really good that I was somewhat ambivalent of the outcome because the USA executed an absolute trouncing! In fact I think the score ended up being something like 6-1 USA! OUCH!!!
Honestly, I gave up being disappointed a couple of goals into the game. In fact at one point the announcer had yet to finish announcing what USA team member had scored the last goal when they scored ANOTHER!!! Seriously!?! I think I actually threw up my hands at this point! lol
That’s when it all became about saving face. The crowd went decidedly pro-Finland and were willing them towards a goal! When they finally scored one late in the game we all cheered and stood up!! You’d think they had just won the game! Hilarious!
All in all it was a great experience. I actually got to go to an Olympic event and I was a very happy camper! Pretty soon thereafter all thoughts of USA left our heads and it became all about finding a place to watch the Canada vs.. Slovakia semifinal. Since we were already downtown we decided to watch the game at one of the public sites with the crowds. The nearest place was LIVE City Vancouver. We got in line with everyone else hoping to watch the game on the big screens inside. At this point we were three plus hours away from the game but the atmosphere was starting to turn electric!!
While waiting in line we were entertained by a group of actors pretending to be bobsledders (see bottom picture)! They were HILARIOUS!! Their awkwardly fitting costumes and faux-accents were too much – you couldn’t help but laugh! To top it all off when they noticed you taking a picture they would all group together and say “Sexy Shot!” in a faux-Eastern European accent while attempting to cover their nipples (see top shot)! lol
It was a quick line-up and we managed to get inside the gated site after only about 15 minutes. Inside there were the Canada and Manitoba houses, a massive outdoor screen with a standing room area to view the game, and an indoor beer garden/cafeteria area with more screens. Since it was cold and drizzling we opted for the indoor area. This turned out to be a brilliant choice since later on the drizzles turned into a continuous downpour that left more than a couple of people drenched to the bone!
Since the Canada hockey game was still hours (!) away we all hunkered down and watched the Canadian women’s curling team choke win a silver medal. I have to admit that this was my first time watching any curling. At first I had no idea what was going on but the Fiancé explained the game and it turned out be pretty exciting ! Especially since it was the Gold Medal Game and the crowd was seriously amped!!! Kind of made me want to try my hand at curling in the future. But you didn’t hear it from me! lol
After hours of waiting the game finally begun. Canada vs.. Slovakia!!! Semi-Final!!! It had all come down to this!!! We couldn’t have been more excited. Any time Canada touched the puck the crowd went NUTS! Anytime Luongo remotely made a save we all said “Luuuuuuuuuu!!!!!” And any time we killed a power play we all clapped. From the cheers to the impromptu singings of “O Canada” we were having a blast!!! I only wish I could bottle that atmosphere. It was amazing. Nothing short of amazing.
And every time Canada scored it looked like this:
From the very young (there were babies in the crowd!) to the very old we were all seriously excited!!! With about 15 minutes left to go in the game (and with Canada up by a couple of goals) the crowd started to chant “WE WANT USA!!! WE WANT USA!!! WE WANT USA!!!!” Clearly the crowd thought we were a lock for the Gold Medal Game.
In the end it was way closer than any of us had wanted to see!! In the third period the Canadians came out and appeared to coast on their lead. They hung back and played defensively. Bad move considering what an incredibly strong team they were facing. In the dying seconds the score was 3-2 Canada and Slovakia kept on attacking the Canadian net. It looked like they were going to score and we were on pins and needles begging our team to hang on! And they did!!!!!!!!!!!! Cue the crazy reaction in the house!!!!
In the last seconds the crowd was on their feet and I made sure to take the video above and capture the moment for posterity’s sake! It was an amazing moment!!! And this time when the crowd chanted “WE WANT USA!! WE WANT USA!!” they said it knowing that in two days time we would all get to watch our dream hockey final!
Semi-Final day at Vancouver2010 was an awesome day for me! And I thought nothing could top it – turns out I was wrong!