Today, I awoke just after 6 AM, and came downstairs to see if Canada had won any more medals overnight – a routine I’ve been following throughout these Sochi Olympics. The 12 hour time difference with the west coast has made it just about impossible to watch many events live.
To my surprise, the Women’s Curling final was on and I sat down to cheer on Jennifer Jones who was poised to win Curling Gold for the ladies for the first time since Sandra Schmirler brought home the gold in 1998.
With the game tied 3-3 at the end of 7 ends, I knew what I had to do. First I hit the pause button on the PVR, then I quietly tip-toed upstairs and grabbed my 2010 Canadian Olympic Hockey sweater – the one I had been wearing when Sidney Crosby scored his golden goal to beat the U.S in Vancouver.
Pulling it over my head as I came back downstairs I smiled inwardly at the silly superstitious rituals we all secretly believe in, but are rarely willing to admit out loud.
Armed with my second cup of Yorkshire tea, I released the pause button and sat back to watch.
Of course events unfolded exactly as they should now that I had the magic sweater on. Jones’ Team Canada scored 1 in the 8th frame, 2 more in the 9th, and after that it was all over.
Having a TV buy to work on, I left the family room and handed the remote to Mary so she and some friends could watch the U.S-Canada Women’s hockey gold medal game I toiled away at the dining room table with one ear directed at the TV set, and most of my attention on the work at hand. Near the end of the second period, I heard groans, an exasperated sigh, and a “few non girl guide words” uttered from the crowd that were watching in the other room. 1-0 U.S.
I continued to work away at the dining room table and then mid-way through the third period, there came louder groans, and a few more cuss-words from the family room – words that reminded of my late mother and how annoyed she would get when the Habs would score against our beloved Leafs, especially when as she called him “that damn Richard” would pot one against Johnny Bower or Terry Sawchuck. Another U.S goal, a 2-0 lead and hopes were beginning to fade. It was time to put the sweater to work. With 5 minutes left in regulation I got up from the table and plugged in the kettle. Another cup of tea was called for.
As I waited for the kettle to boil and watched the clock tick down to a little less than 4 minutes to go, the sweater began to work it’s magic. A rush down the wing, a shot on net, and with the help of a deflection off the U.S defenceman, Team Canada had pulled to within one.
Drifting into the family room with my tea, I watched as Canada called a time out and pulled the goalie. 6 on 5. Less than two minutes to go. Nail-biting time for anyone not aware of the power of the sweater. A scramble at the U.S. blue line, and an attempt to clear the puck down the ice goes off the linesman and heads toward the yawning open net. The puck hits the post and stays out.
Mary turns to my daughter Jennifer who is over at the house and says “you know that’s a good omen”. Sure enough seconds later, with an extra attacker on the ice, the Canadian women tie up the game, and we’re headed for overtime.
We yelled and screamed about our good fortune, and listened to Don Cherry talk about Canadian heart. Don, it’s all about the sweater I thought to myself and chuckled inwardly.
Overtime begins and the U.S. get 3 scoring chances right off the bat but are stoned in their attempt to beat the sweater.
Finally, at 8:10 of overtime, Marie Philip Poulin completed the comeback and just as she had done in Vancouver four years ago, she had delivered the winning goal for Team Canada, and a fourth straight gold medal.
I whooped and hollered, and then I shed a few tears as I watched the women wearing their Canadian sweaters celebrate. I looked down at my sweater knowingly. Good job I thought.
Now it’s 3 hours after the game, and knowing there is still work to be done – Olympic work that is, I’m giving the sweater a rest. After all, Sidney might need some help tomorrow when the men face-off against the U.S. in their semi-final match-up.
Now if only my Leaf sweater had the same magic in it…….