Look, some of my best friends are Canadian, eh? And the fact is, nobody-but-nobody really expected the US of A to pull it off last night, right? I mean, playing Canada on their home turf, in hockey, with most of the nation right there in the arena, tickets scalped for four figures!--who could have guessed, right?
It shouldn't have happened. It's like the Hawkeyes whacking Duke in hoops, or the Dordt College Defenders going to the Big Apple and besting the Yankees, two of three. Shoot, it's like Florida beating Iowa in sweet corn, or Tucson turning out finer metwurst than Milwaukee. Not in my wildest dreams. It's a sacrilege, really, like speaking in tongues at a Wicca convention or hearing sweet things about Obama at this weekend's CPAC.
We actually felt bad for our friends when Ryan Kessler flicked that one-hander into the empty net in the last minute. And our pastor, our dear pastor, so unflinchingly maple leaf! We almost prayed for him. Much as I didn't want them to lose, that young American team really should have. I mean, really. There ought to be a law, you know? Sometimes, like King David the poet, you start to wonder who really is in charge.
Among my people--the Dutch Calvinists of North America--the Canadians hold a special place, having come to North America only since the Second World War. The day they arrived in Halifax or Toronto or Vancouver, they were already a breed apart, most of them having stood tooth-and-nail against Hitler and his jackboots for four long cold years. Hard-nosed and opinionated, driven by their convictions, full of swaggering earthiness, they made mincemeat of their North American Dutch Calvinist cousins soon after they arrived, had us for lunch. We were fighting about movies, cards, and dancing; they'd just bested the Third Reich. They knew enemies when they saw them. They were a proud bunch, still are.
And then there's the sad misfortune of having to live next door to the world's only super-power (with apologies to China). Canada is the slight kid whose older brother won Punt, Pass, Kick two years running, not to mention the Nobels. We're massive in everything, including ego; they've got to fight for every bit of pride, especially since most Americans don't know what Saskatchewan is or where on earth to find it.
To most Americans these days especially, Canadians are stupid too, not to mention sickly, having fallen for socialized medicine, which means they stand in line even if all they have is the measles. Furthermore, socialists have no backbone. They don't believe in bootstraps, don't even have 'em. Besides, all those Canadians are on welfare, at least that's what I've heard. And they're unholy--they like gays. What's more, they let anybody into that country. Toronto's like the United Nations, full of burkhas, and who knows what they're carrying under all those robes? No one's in charge up there. And what's with that silly French language all over the place?--don't they know that English is the language of free people and good Christians?
The rhetoric from down here has to have been awful for the last year, just awful. But last night, something even worse happened--Team Canada got nailed by a bunch of upstart Yankees. They lost, 5-3, even though for the last ten minutes, they should have been shooting fish a barrel. They just couldn't hit home. Just couldn't.
Last night, I wasn't so much proud to be an American as I was relieved I wasn't Canadian--imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth, imagine the Labatt's, the Molson. This is how bad it was: by late last night, city officials took a look at a crowd of over 200,000 mad Canucks and shut off the beer. I'm not kidding. That bad. Would it have killed the US to lose?
Really, we felt bad last night. Really, we did.
Goliath dodged 40-some stones, then just reached over and smacked down the shepherd boy. That kind of thing. You sort of feel bad.