By Debra Scott
Last Sunday I promised my daughter we'd go skating. There was laundry to do, bathrooms and a kitchen clean and vacuuming to be done. I was exhausted after doing everything that needed to be done and I asked her if we could maybe go another day. Her answer was "you promised". Fair enough. So we got ourselves ready to go just as the big hockey game was starting.
My husband is the big hockey fan in the family. I'd watched quite a bit of the Olympics and well, I wasn't broken up about missing the game. Off we went to the rink.
The streets were empty but we could hear some cheers from the houses as we walked past them. The ice rink was empty. We skated around a few times. The sun was still high at 4:30 and it was warm. The lake was lovely. A monumental game was being played but there we were enjoying our own monumental mother daughter moment - which are fewer and farther between since the baby was born.
Then the most wonderful thing happened. The rink was flooded with kids. It was a birthday party and about 20 kids turned up with a few parents supervising. Then a couple turned up. A few other parents and their kids showed up and the rink was bustling. It was fabulous. One of the moms at the birthday party was getting updates about the game from her husband and was telling everyone on the rink what was happening.
When the Americans tied up the game with only 24 seconds left in the third period the entire rink screamed "NO". Strangers talked like long time friends. We all chatted about the game and about the records we would break as a nation if we won, about the devastation we would feel if we lost. I felt connected to my fellow skaters.
The party goers had to go home. The rink was closing and we all parted ways while the game was in overtime. The woman who was giving out the updates had gone and I was excited to get home and find out if we won or lost. A game, I had only a passing interest in, all of a sudden became very important to me.
My daughter, however, wanted to climb on the climbing tree and build a snowman.
So she climbed and we built a snow man with crazy stick hair and a snow dog and then we dawdled home.
Then we heard it. The 'whoop whoop'ing and the horn blowing from Queen street. I had no idea how much I cared about this game until I heard those cheers. The entire walk home people were smiling. Strangers were cheering "Go Canada Go" at each other. My daughter kept asking me "mommy do you know those people?"
"No honey, I don't"
"Then why are you talking to them?"
"Because honey, we are all Canadian and today we are very proud."