But in hosting these Olympic Games, and in winning the hockey Gold, we witnessed something else about Canada, something that has always been there, but which maybe in the States we don’t always see, or perhaps we take for granted. There is a humility about Canadians that is special and inviting. Even in winning they are understated and gracious. Sidney Crosby, perhaps the best hockey player alive today, was asked after the game if, after scoring the overtime goal, his individual play was special. His response: that play could have been made by any of my teammates.
Maybe I have a romantic view of Canada; except the people in Canada who I’ve worked with seem to reflect these same sensibilities. My kids often say that I wish I could be Canadian – well, I’m a proud American, but I’m also a proud neighbor of Canada.
In fact, I remember as a kid growing up in upstate New York, not too far from the Canadian border; it was during a time when it was easy to go back and forth between countries. Fast forward to more recent times, when I remember visiting Canada for work, and I was required to have my passport. Yes, this was post 9/11, but it seemed so out of character given the relationship between the two nations. It still feels like a violation of friendship.
I know it’s hokey (not hockey) to say that I felt great when seeing those ads during the Olympics touting the US/Canada relationship, depicting the sweeping vistas of our respective lands, reminding us of our unprecedented trading relationship, and celebrating our long and peaceful border. I don’t mean to be saccharine about all this; but, I was literally proud of the relationship between our two countries.
I have a trip planned to Ontario in May, and I am looking forward to it. Of course, I’ll have to get into a little give-and-take with my Canadian friends about the Olympic hockey game; but then I know we’ll get down to work, and the friendship between our two nations will carry on. Sometimes the (other) good guys win – and when that happens, the world seems good and right for a moment.