Monday, March 1, 2010
Olympics - Czech Republic vs. Latvia
“Not the Canada game, I'm going to see Czech Republic versus La-Lativa... or something.”
“That's the one.”
How do you decide which team to support if you have no stake in either? The team with the most fans? The underdog?
The Thunderbird Stadium screens proudly announce Canada's 8-2 victory. It must be embarrassing, I thought, to lose so badly to another team. There is a greater number of Czech than Latvia supporters in the crowd, judging from the number of flags, jerseys, and overall noise as the teams enter the rink for their warmup. The majority of the spectators are Canadians, and are probably a bit disappointed that their tickets had not been for the other game. After the first period, the score is 2-0 for the Czechs.
Early in the second period, Latvia scores a goal which is reviewed, but ultimately disallowed. Eager to see a comeback, some people in the crowd start rooting for Latvia, cheering when their goalie makes a save, and groaning when they miss a shot. By the end of the second period, it seems all the Canadians, myself included, are cheering for Latvia. The crowd is going full tilt at the beginning of the third period, and Latvia rallies and scores, putting themselves within striking range of the Czechs.
With only four minutes remaining in the third period, Latvia ties the game, and the crowd goes berserk. I reach for my camera to take a picture of the crowd... and the battery dies.
Five minutes into overtime, Czech scores the winning goal. The Latvian team is devastated to have lost despite their comeback. I do not cheer when the Czech team scores the goal, but I applaud once the game is over. I'd like to think that what I've seen tonight was far more exciting than Canada's 8-2 victory over Germany.