I had to go to work today and, I’ll be honest, I was a little grumpy about it. It really made it feel like the holidays wrapped up rather quickly. I’ve only got two work days ahead of me and then I’m off for a week, but still. Lame.
The holidays also felt a little rushed because Kevin went back to work yesterday. Not to his office job, but to the work he does at Rogers Arena. They’re hosting the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships or World Juniors for short. It’s an eleven day tournament featuring ten teams from around the world. It starts every year on Boxing Day and is hosted around the world, though it is more often held in North America than in other countries. Every year, when this time rolls around, skeptics (myself included) harp on the fact that they call it a world championship, but only Canada and the USA actually care about it.
As I lean further into my own personal commandments of happiness, particularly Be Carly, one of my most satisfying moments has been articulating and accepting the realization that patriotism/nationalism is a real turn off for me. I don’t like listening to anthems and I really don’t enjoy competitions that pit countries and against each other. I don’t like the separation that it produces in people and I find the nation-based rah-rah vibe to be incredibly ugly in large doses. So I remove myself from it.
Kevin is the opposite of me. He loves the World Juniors and he was thrilled to hear that it was coming to BC this year, partly because he found it exciting and especially because he would get to be a part of it through his work. It’s a win-win situation for us because he gets to see every game without having to drag me to any of them and I don’t have to see any of them if I don’t want to.
Leading up to the World Juniors, I had a few friends ask if I wanted to go to the games. On this, I felt conflicted. Another thing I’ve learned about myself is that I tend to underestimate my own interest about things in the early stages, but get carried away with the excitement of others as time passes. At the same time, I like to check out events especially when I’ve never tried them before. I considered committing to some games, but I kept being reminded of how gross I feel in crowds of flag wearers. Until it hit me and I texted one of my friends:
I’ll go, but I don’t want to see Canada or the USA.
He laughed, called me the opposite of a homer and said okay. Then he caught me in a weak moment yesterday, a day I’d planned to enjoy quietly and solitarily, when at 11am, he texted:
Get dressed. Let’s go to the game at 1pm.
Switzerland vs Czech Republic, the opening game of the Group A tournament. Shrug. Okay.
And away we went.
It was a good time and sure, there were people there cheering for both sides, but they smiled and waved flags and didn’t treat their patriotism like it was a spear they wanted to shove down their opponents’ throats. And I like that.
The game went into overtime and we got a taste of my favourite hockey: 3 on 3. The Czechs scored less than a minute into OT.
If you like hockey and you get the chance, do go to a game. And if you’re like me and are looking for something lower key, just stick to the lesser known teams.