Home > Uncategorized > 7:40 of Overtime on February 28th, 2010…

7:40 of Overtime on February 28th, 2010…

Where were you? Where were you at 7:40 of overtime on February 28th, 2010? Were you in a bar, jumping into the arms of someone you met only hours before? Were you gathered together with friends? Were you by yourself at home, preferring to experience the potential pain of defeat alone? Or perhaps you missed it all together, cruelly held to another commitment, only believing that success had been achieved by the horns and shouts from the street.

I was with family, crowded around a television in a way that struck me as entirely Canadian. Hockey has become woven into the fabric of Canadian lives, because for generations families gathered together around small, grainy televisions, the rabbit ears positioned just so… to watch “our boys” play hockey. Sure, there were no rabbit ears, the picture wasn’t grainy, and the screen wasn’t exactly small, but the visceral experience was the same.

We gathered, we ate, we bantered, we cheered, we mourned, we laughed, we (ok, perhaps just me) felt ill, and when Jerome Iginla’s pass found Sydney Crosby’s stick… we jumped. Like a jack in the box wound ever so tight, we sprang upwards, arms extended, fists pumping. I leapt onto the back of my old friend Big Sexy. I landed on his big shoulders and exalted, the queasy sensation in no rush to pass. There was time for hugs, but first there were battle worn sighs to be had, anthems to sing, and, for some, tears to shed.

The shouts of passing flag bearers, and the horns of elated car travelers, reminded us that this was not a solitary experience. There are events that freeze moments in time, uniting entire generations in a collective of “I remember where I was when”… Unfortunately, these events are usually steeped in tragedy: Pearl Harbor, President Kennedy’s Assassination, the Challenger Disaster, 9/11. Each phenomenon resonates with the public, uniting us all in a collective experience of disaster.

But, there are times when sport can fulfill that same effect of freezing a moment in time. Bringing an entire nation together, unifying us all through the superlative power of athletic achievement, is rare. However it happens for nations that win soccer’s World Cup; it happens when a minnow upsets a Lion; and it happens when world politics bring an extra element of emotion to the event. For Canada, it happened in 1972 when Paul Henderson’s goal defeated the Soviet Union. It happened in 1987 when Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux played a game of cat and mouse with the Soviet defense, and it happened in 2010 when Sid the Kid became the hero we’d all been waiting for.

This is a goal that I will see replayed again a thousand times in my life. It is a moment that I will remember thirty years from now. Jumping on Big Sexy, watching as my mother in law sprang from her chair, as the Bride and her sister leapt, hugged and squealed. Honestly, there is no number too great for me to tire of seeing that goal.

Someone asked how my life would be different if Canada lost? A question I believe that says more about the questioner, than the answerer. However, had they lost, the nuts and bolts of my life would have remained the same. I would have gone to work today; I would have eaten breakfast all the same, put on pants one leg at a time. I would still be married, but the Bride would have had to deal with a day, or twelve, of moody despairing as I mumbled incoherently about how they lost. The game would have haunted me for years. Not every day of course, but when it was brought up by circumstance. Or when my mind wandered.

Instead, today I will walk with an extra bounce in my step. Smiles will come easy to my face, and the smiles returned will have that knowing hint of shared experience. The heady, euphoric mood wont last forever, but when the game comes up by circumstance, or when my mind wanders… I will smile, I will remember family, remember leaping into the air, and remember falling into a chair thrilled, delighted, and overjoyed that a Kid named Sid found the back of the net at 7:40 of overtime on February 28th, 2010.

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