Friday, February 28, 2014

#185. or, Made in Canada

  It's been almost a week since the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics, and I still find myself looking for coverage when I'm surfing the guide, looking for something to watch on the television in the evening.

  I don't really participate in sports. Nothing organized. I played pond hockey in the glow of pick-up headlights with the neighbours. But these days, I'm more of an observer than a participator. I'd have to say that I like hockey only slightly more than CFL football, but I go to the football games because they're affordable. Other than that, I spend a good deal of my weekends, this time of year, sitting in gyms, watching Jr. high school basketball.

  As I get older during winters in Canada, I find myself wishing I was some place warmer. This winter was no different. Yet, it was, because I've been on a bit of an interesting ride over the last few weeks.

  First, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a break from the ice and snow, and travel to Cuba, which was, by the way, lovely. The bad thing about leaving Canada in the winter for Cuba, is that a week away is not quite long enough, and before you're even ready for it, you're thrust, kicking and screaming, back into winter. The difference this year, was that shortly after arriving home, the winter Olympics started, and it would seem, there's nothing better at helping me embrace the climate I choose to live in, than cheering on my winter nation in competitive sport.

  While the games were on, they were the staple of my viewing, and the more Canadian athletes performed with podium achieving ability, the more I wrapped myself in the icy blanket of the "True north, strong and free!" They weren't just athletes from Canada, but somehow, they dragged my tired, un-athletic ass behind them and every achievement they made, became our moment of victory.

  When the smiling Dafor-Lapointe sisters, shared the podium with gold and silver medals, I was there with them. I was on the side of the speed skating track in my rubber suit and uncomfortable looking junk, cheering on our skaters. I was up in the wee hours of the morning, with my face pressed against the glass, screaming at the top of my lungs as first the women's hockey team, then the men's repeated gold medal performances. I would have been squished in between Kaillie  Humphries and Heather Moyse as they came from behind to win gold in the bobsled, but frankly, that shit just scares the hell out of me.

  But it wasn't just the wins. It was the spirit of the games. Like a spot given to a team mate because they had a better chance of winning, or a ski given to an athlete from an opposing country so they could cross the finish line with dignity.

  All of those those things made me relish in my Canadian-ism and when I had to go outside to feed the cows in -30C weather, it wasn't so bad at all, because after all, as the country branded us during these games, we ARE winter!

 Of course, now that the winter Olympics are over for another 4 years, I'm ready to be done with the snow and cold, and any bravado that I may have been riding on over those days has about fizzled out and I'm checking my weather app these days with more of a sigh than a fist-pump.

  .............We may be winter, but there's something to be said for not having to dress in multiple layers.





 

37 comments:

  1. Uncomfortable Looking Junk is the title of the autobiography of everyone who has ever slept with Donald Trump. I'm jealous of your Cuba trip...mainly because the Cuban sandwich is my favorite sandwich. All of my travel dreams are sandwich related.

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    1. Hey Pickleope!

      I was completely unaware of there being a Cuban sandwich, so I googled it and I think I've probably eaten those without even realizing their heritage.

      Uh, ya....the uncomfortable looking junk image. During the games, there was a whole article, somewhere on the web, about dudes and their ill-fitting speed skating suits. I think that's why they go so fast. So they can get back out of those suits. Apparently the Dutch might be effected by this more than the others, because they're damn fast on skates!

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  2. Relish in your Olympic wins while you can. ;) I don't miss those mind numbingly LONG winters at all. I'm rather enjoying the 70+ degree winters I now experience in Arizona. However, I'm NOT looking forward to the 100+ degree weather that's right around the corner.

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    1. Hi Terrye!

      I'm a bit embarrassed to say, but I was slightly extra pleased that the hockey and bobsled wins came because "we" beat the USA to do it. Sorry. ;)

      Arizona is a dry heat, you'll be fine. Plus, I think half of Canada lives in Arizona over the winter, so maybe I'll have to come down and check it out.

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  3. I missed the Olympics entirely while on vacation in Thailand, almost entirely. Three times I was in front of a TV and "Curling" was being shown. Not too much into curling.

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    1. Hi Stephen,

      Oh my god, the curling was phenomenal! Canada won gold in both the men's and the women's events! Plus the women swept the table, first women to do that, ever!

      Sorry, I like curling!

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  4. Hahahahahaha, I know EXACTLY what you mean! Winter can eff right off now that the Olympics are over, eh?

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    1. Hey Debra!

      It doesn't seem to want to let us go, does it? I'm just glad I'm not in Saskatchewan today. They had wind chills into the -60's! That'll make you put the flaps on your hat down! :)

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  5. I don't know how you guys do it. We've finally got some weather down here & I pulled on another layer, but I couldn't imagine doing it for so long!

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    1. Hi Natalie!

      We had most of our snow earlier, so I'm not at all envious of the crazy weather they're getting in the east. It is however, cold as hell, and I'm about ready for it to be over with. Oh well. :)

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  6. I live in the southern U.S. and am such a complete wuss that when we reach temperatures in the 20's I have to resort to wearing so many layers that movement becomes slow and tortured. I was forlorn over the hockey losses we suffered, but I'm certainly glad that your wins brought you such joy. And no, there's no sarcasm hidden in that remark. :-)

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    1. I really do have some sympathy for those of you experiencing snow, when it's almost a phenomenon where you live. Not sure if you qualify in that respect, but for anyone who hasn't spent a lifetime dealing with it, I feel your pain.

      You know, that women's game could have gone either way. It was probably my favourite moment of the whole Olympics. It was just too bad somebody had to lose. :)

      Thanks for reading.

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  7. I'm very sad that I didn't really pay attention to the Olympics this year. I remember it being so exciting when I was a child…now, I just don't care enough. Apathy is so disappointing.

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    1. I don't have very much interest in the summer games, for some reason. I guess it's just nice to have something to get excited about, when you can't be outside enjoying lovely weather? :)

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  8. We don't have snow where we live, so I can only take your word for the biting cold you must be going through. Hope your warmer days set in soon.

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    1. Hi Shailaja,

      Warm weather is on it's way. Or so they're telling me. :)

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  9. This winter is killing me and I am only in New Jersey! I also escaped for a week (Puerto Rico) and it was SO hard to come back to all the snow still on the ground. Plus, we're getting another foot on Sun/Mon. I have lived here 4 years and want to go home to California so badly! But I guess I should be glad I don't have to feel cows in -30. The Olympics were a great distraction!

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    1. Hi Stacie,

      I'd like to visit Puerto Rico sometime, hope it was lovely. I returned in shorts and flip flops. That stupid tunnel from the plane to the terminal is certainly a grim, cold reminder that you're back home. I think I'd like to try spend a winter some place warm, in my retirement. A ways away yet.

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  10. Haha, I meant feed cows. That was an awesome typo ;)

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    1. Feeling the cows comes in a few weeks, when calving season starts. :)

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  11. Pond hockey - yay! I grew up in Buffalo, NY, so I'm a lover of all forms of hockey. I live on the West Coast of the US now, and it's sadly lacking in that sport : (

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    1. Hey Karen!

      Our town is a minor hockey town. My kid plays on the fun team. The team, that if the opposition doesn't have enough players, you send a few of yours over to even it out. I think he has a better time, playing on the fun team. :)

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  12. Congrats on the women's and men's hockey gold!!

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    1. Thanks Tami.

      I'm a proud Canadian. :)

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  13. I am so jealous of Canada's coverage of the games. In the US, at least IMO, everything tends to be atrociously edited and US-centric. Luckily, I'm close enough to Vancouver that I could watch some of theirs.

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    1. Hi Larks,

      I tried to watch the NBC feed a few times, when I couldn't find anything I was overly interested in, on the Canadian feed. I thought there was quite a bit of flag waving going on, but I chocked it up to being a US based program, and honestly, I wondered if you guys viewed our feed as the same. Then I flipped back and watched biathlon.

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  14. This year, for the first time ever, I started to understand why people really complain about their mood in winter. Even down here in Texas, it really got to me mood-wise, and my understanding is that you get more of the darkness thing than we get down here. January pretty much sucks. Cuba must have been a great break.

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    1. Hey Katy!

      Into January, it gets light shortly after 8 in the morning, and dark again by 4. That's the worst, and to be honest, my mood takes a beating around that time. I know it sounds vain, but tanning really helps me. The fake sun seems to pick me up a bit and not having that pale zombie staring back at me from the mirror, doesn't make me feel quite so bad.

      Cuba was a fantastic break, and I wish I was fortunate enough to be able to do something like that every winter. I did write a post about Cuba, but it sort of sucked, and came across as a documentary travel log, so it's just sitting there, waiting for me to try and fix it.

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  15. I feel this bud. #weAREwinter #butthatisovernow #shit

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    1. My weather app says it's going to be raining a week from now. I'll believe that when I see it!

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  16. It's a shame the summer Olympics don't actually have the same "summer-ness" to them. Otherwise we in Australia would kick butt.

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    1. Michael D'Agostino! There's a name I haven't seen in a while! Howz things?

      Everybody kicks our butt in the summer Olympics. That's because, in the summer, Canadians focus all of their attention to wandering about asking everyone they see, "Hot enough for ya?"

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    2. Oh don't worry. We do that in Australia too.

      I've been great. I started a new blog but thought I'd get into a rhythm before I started reconnecting with the old crew :P

      In November 2012 a lot of things changed for me. I got a full time job which had me working ridiculous hours, I got a girlfriend and because of those two things (and some other reasons) I fell away with my blogging and stand-up. I'm finally getting back on track and I'm even performing at the Adelaide Fringe Festival this year :D

      What's new with you?

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    3. You've gotta go where life takes ya.

      I actually have nothing new going on. Which makes it difficult to blog about sometimes, because it's the same thing over and over.

      Best thing that's happened in a bit, is my wife quit working out, and is now helping me back at home. We work well together, and she keeps me from being lazy when I look for excuses not to do some of the jobs I need to take care of.

      I'll be on the lookout for your new blog. You might be surprised how many of the old crew don't seem to be around any more.

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    4. Helping out on a farm is a pretty good workout anyway ;)

      Yeah I noticed! I guess I'll have to seek out new internet friends...

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  17. Not even the Olympics could make me forgive this miserable winter weather. Of course, once summer comes around (as you mentioned just above) we'll all be complaining about how it's too hot. I think we just like to complain. If you think about it, there's probably only about 5 days of the year that are just right. The rest are either too hot or too cold. Bah humbug.

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    1. I don't know if there's anybody worse than farmers, when it comes to complaining about the weather? But that's the one thing I try to make a concious effort not to do, complain about hot summer weather. If somebody asks me if it's too hot, I try to remind them that 9 months of winter is far too much, and I'll take any hot days I can get. I'll just drink a couple extra cold beers in the evening.

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