Vancouver 2010: Day 17 – Gold medal hockey at Robson Square and the closing ceremonies

Vancouver 2010: Day 16 It already seems like the last day of the Olympics were months ago, and it barely seems like the greatest hockey game that I have ever seen yet alone been in such close proximity to. This was probably one of the single, biggest days in this country’s history, and I was in the midst of it all.

And truth be told, I took the photo of this sign the day before this day. It really should have been a sign of what was about to come.

Many people probably know about how the USA had a hockey game with Canada for the gold medal. If not, read this.

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Square, Men's Gold Medal Hockey Game

What many people in the U.S. probably don’t understand is that this game isn’t a matter of bragging rights. While that can and most likely will happen, it goes beyond that. This game was the cherry on top of the Canadian pride that has come out of hiding and been embraced like I’ve never seen before.

And when Crosby scored the game winner…

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Square, Men's Gold Medal Hockey Game

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Square, Men's Gold Medal Hockey Game

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Square, Men's Gold Medal Hockey Game

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Square, Men's Gold Medal Hockey Game

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Square, Men's Gold Medal Hockey Game

Was I conflicted? Of course I was. I was resigned to watching Canada win before the game started, but pushing the game into overtime made the spirit of competition take over and pull for the boys in blue. At the same time, I wanted Vancouver to have this party. Canada needed this win to put the icing on the cake.

That and I don’t want to see Luongo look bad. As a Canucks fan, it was thrilling to see him stamp that world class goalie label firmly on his resume. Say what you want, but even he got a hearty mention in the closing ceremonies.

By the way, watching the ceremonies from home that night, it was really hard to see the flame go out. Rebecca and I came up with the analogy that it’s a lot like the difference between watching a break-up and having someone break-up with you. After years of watching it come and go from Olympic city to another, the Olympics came here, we fell in love with the spirit of the games, and now we’re just trying to be friends. Emo enough for you?

But this party wasn’t like this in just Robson Square though. Heading down Robson, towards the west end, the party was everywhere, and it went on long into the hours of the day after.

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

If you watched the closing ceremonies on TV like we did, understand that all of this was going on outside the whole time.

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

It wasn’t just like this in Vancouver. Celebrations were reported all across Canada like this, most notably in Toronto when the crowds shut down streets in the downtown core.

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Probably the funniest thing to happen was on a walk home from the store later that night. A group of people were walking the opposite direction while some other folks had a cigarette outside nearby.

This guy had a few in him, so he plainly said, with slowness and a subtle slur, “Isn’t Canada just the greatest. It’s ridiculous.”

After all the other yeah’s, woo’s, car horns, and woo’s, this was the most profound statement of Canadian pride. Period.

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Hi-fives and hugs. For blocks and blocks in every direction, this is was you saw.

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Vancouver 2010: Day 17 - Robson Street after Canada wins gold in men's hockey

Shani Davis mentioned it in an interview at one point, and I had to agree with him. We have pride for our country in the states, but you don’t see it like this. This level, this sustained, and this well embraced, from coast to coast, is unbelievable, intoxicating, and inspiring, all at the same time.

This profound love for one’s country and being proud enough to have “Oh, Canada” break out spontaneously anywhere and at anytime is to be commended, if not envied.

You can see all of my pictures from this day in this flickr set, Vancouver 2010: Day 17.

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