About two minutes after the United States vs. Canada gold medal hockey game ended with a stellar overtime goal from Canadian and NHL superstar Sidney Crosby, I found myself walking through Saratoga Terrace where I saw someone wearing red, draped in a Canadian flag, screaming.
For a moment, I was glad for him. His team - as I assume he was Canadian - had done what it set out to do: win a gold medal. Even though I rooted for the U.S. squad, I had seen just how deserving the Canadian team was, proving itself through over three periods of intense competition. But then I got closer to him, and heard what he was screaming.
To every person that walked past him, he shouted "U.S. can suck it," and similar negative remarks, proclaiming not Canada's victory, but the ineptitude of the country his nation had beaten. As I walked by him and then onward through the terrace, his voice still prominent in the background, it was clear his intent was to become a spectacle, spewing hateful remarks regarding a country that was currently educating him.
Seeing that individual made me consider a few things. I thought about the games that had just ended and wondered what they had all meant. Did they symbolize nations trying to belittle others? Were the Olympics comprised of athletes full of the ignorant hatred that filled the crazed terrace screamer?
Ultimately, I was glad to rule that the Olympics did not consist of these things. U.S. media rallied behind Canadian bronze medal winner Joannie Rochette, whose mother died suddenly just days before her win, even though she edged out an American who came in fourth. Lugers and athletes from many countries showed their respect for the Georgian luger who died during a practice run. Also, immediately following the final hockey game, I saw jubilant Canadian players shake hands with an upset U.S. hockey team, though both sides were a class act in victory and defeat.
I guess my point here is that the Olympics are about competition - fierce competition that might not be friendly and rivalries that may not always be civil. But in the end, adversaries shake hands and congratulate or at least recognize the skill of the other.
Coming from a family that is half-Canadian myself, I am glad that the student screaming errant nonsense in the townhouses was neither representative of the Olympic spirit, nor was he an exemplar that Canada would pride. Seriously? "U.S. can suck it?" Your ignorance is showing.