An Historic Meeting
I have always placed a premium on travel, and living in Connecticut makes it doubly easy to justify trips to leave the state. At the same time, sometimes plans overlap without my fully realizing the commitments I've made until a week or so before I've made them.
And so I found myself with tickets to the Canada-Russia World Cup of Hockey game in Toronto, which took place several days after the WCoH games in Montreal.
And so, Geneve and I packed up on Thursday night and on Friday, caught a flight to TDot for the Labour Day weekend.
Geneve's parents happened to be in Toronto, dropping her brother Ian off at the University of Toronto, where he is going into his first year.
And so, because our parents had never met, we set up a dinner rendez-vous at The Marche. I wish there was more to write, but dinner was largely uneventful, especially since I
escaped gracefully excused myself early to hit up the aforementioned hockey game at the Air Canada Centre with Arf.
The game itself was unremarkable. It seemed like only a matter of time until the Canadians control of the play would be reflected on the scoreboard, and Canada eventually imposed its will by quickly putting two pucks past the Russian goalie early in the second period.
The energy level in the ACC was pathetic compared to the Bell Centre, and I'm not sure whether that is a reflection of the fans or the scarce and thus expensive tickets, but either way, it stank. This was the twenty-two years to the day since Canada's 4-1 victory over the USSR in the 1972 Summit Series, yet it barely felt like the team was playing at home. Given that Toronto gets a lot of love from the NHL (which has its Canadian HQ here) and players alike, I expected a lot more.
One great story from the game involves a guy who was sitting in the row in front of me and wearing a Team Russia jersey. Sitting in the row in front of him were 10 or so good-natured, rambunctious Canadian fans of East Indian descent, also clad in jerseys of their team. The Canadian fans were heckling the Russian guy all game long, and the Russian guy gave as good as he got, although it became more difficult for him as the game went on and it became clear that Russia wouldn't win. In the midst of a "you suck! you suck!" chant directed towards the Russian guy near the end of the third period, the Russian guy pulls off his Team Russia jersey to reveal... a Team Canada t-shirt! The chant turned into laughter and high-fives as time ticked down, and having been away from Toronto for eight months, I was reminded of why I missed the city: one's heritage is celebrated, but not to the exclusion of love for one's country--a veritable Cultural Mosaic, indeed*.
* - Note to non-Canadian readers: Canadians are taught that the Cultural Mosaic ("a grouping of people from different cultural backgrounds that live in the same community who are proud of their heritage") is Canada's predominant ideology with regard to multiculturalism. Contrast the cultural mosaic with America's "melting pot", which is "a place where people of different backgrounds become similar in culture."