What keeps us together

No, no, no, it’s not love. Sorry, The Captain and Tenille.

Well maybe it is in some cases, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. For anyone who stumbles upon this blog, I should confess that I’m not much of a sports person, although I have become a little bit more interested in sports than I was previously. I generally hate football and hockey and most sports, but I can occasionally watch a soccer game and really enjoy watching baseball.

But there’s one thing about sports that I kind of don’t mind, even if the effect is only temporary—it’s amazing how sports can bring people together.

This post was inspired by my finding out that Canada’s juniors were beaten by team USA today, ending their drive to try and win the whole tournament. A few of my friends on Facebook posted statuses every day the team played so I always knew what was going on even if I couldn’t be bothered to get up early (like 4 or 5 a.m. I think?), not that I would anyway simply to watch a hockey game.

It brought me back to 2010 during the Vancouver winter Olympics, when Canada faced the US in the gold-medal hockey match. I happened to be at work when the game was happening, and I’ll admit I was a little disappointed. What I didn’t realize was what an effect that would have on traffic there- there were a few people. but the store was so much a ghost town that my manager at the time offered to let me go home, something she had never done before or after.

I remember there was a crowd of people watching the game at the Starbucks attached to my store, and how deathly quiet they got when the US tied up the game right before it ended. And then I remember the cheering when Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal.

In all, apparently 27 million Canadians (about six million fewer than our entire population), watched that gold-medal game at some point. That stat is mind-boggling to say the least. And it was a good old hockey game that really brought everyone together. People put aside their differences (at least in theory) and joined together to root for one common goal.

Of course some other things can bring us together. One story that always astonishes me, told by Jeremy Rifkin in the opening of his book, The Empathic Civilization, is about Germans and Allied troops during World War I.

Both sides were deep in their trenches, with dead littering the No Man’s Land in between, feces and rats lining the trenches themselves. It happened to be Christmas, and the superiors of the German soldiers had sent little Christmas trees to the men. The Germans started decorating their trees and began to sing “Silent Night.” After finishing the song, American troops applauded and began singing Christmas carols back to the Germans. Eventually, thousands of Allied and German soldiers got out of the trenches, walked toward each other and began sharing photos, having cigarettes, even playing soccer.

So I guess Christmas certainly has an effect as well.


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