Friday, February 19, 2010
The Winter Olympics in Vancouver B.C.
What do you call someone who comes from the United States? Do you call them an American? When we visited Costa Rica people there called themselves American, they said we were North Americans. Now we are in Vancouver and North American seems to include Canadians. Belgians come from Belgium, the Dutch are from the Netherlands, and Argentineans are from Argentina. So what do you call people from the U.S.?
We’ve been in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics for a few days now and it is obvious to all that the Canadians are crazy about their Olympic athletes. They are wearing all kinds of Canadian branded sports gear; sweatshirts, hockey jerseys, gloves, hats, scarves, anything with the word “Canada” on it. We’ve been watching Team Canada play hockey in sports bars and the atmosphere is almost as electric as Super Bowl Sunday. Anytime the sports announcers mention a Canadian athlete winning a medal the crowds go wild. Even the foreign tourists are sporting the Canadian gear, shoot; I would wear one of those fabulous red Maple Leaf hats if I could find one.
We finally went to our first live event, curling, tonight and it was a blast. The evening began with a group of bagpipers leading the competing athletes into the arena. I thought we were going to have to stand for “O Canada” but I was wrong, the athletes went to their places and began their games without any further ado. Even though the Canadians are fanatically patriotic, that doesn’t seem to translate to the jingoism evident in U.S. sporting events. To me, it felt refreshing and civilized.