They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one speaks volumes. I've never really understood sports or sports fans or the national obsession with hockey. (I hope they won't revoke my citizenship for saying that.) But I was in the crowd down in Robson Square when we won and I get it now. I remember the energy and the noise as the final moments of the game played out. When the Americans scored with 22 seconds left to play I felt that puck land in my gut. Then I held my breath with the rest of the crowd. Sudden Death Overtime was every monster from ever movie ever made and it was coming for us. All we had were sticks and skates. It had to be enough.
I know nothing about hockey so I didn't know how long this was going to take. I didn't know if I should dare to hope or not. The flag in my hand stayed still, silent and respectful. We waited. There was movement up and down the ice but it had no meaning, it was all noise. And then it was a roar. I think I heard the crowd respond before I realized the game was ours, like an echo that travels faster than the source. In a moment I was caught up in it. WE WON! WE WON! We shouted and danced like characters in a children's story. We yelled. We gave high fives to strangers. Car horns honked everywhere but no one was upset. In Chinatown the store owners ran out to the street old men and young children banging pots with wooden spoons.
It looked just like this photo - a sea of red and white - did it stretch from sea to sea? Everything was laughter and joy, noise and movement. We were together. We were victorious. And in that moment I was, for the very first time, a hockey fan.