As first reported on this blog, Pittsburgh likes hockey a lot. So when the Winter Olympics roll around every four years, the city doesn’t mourn the two-week break from the NHL; they embrace the wonderful hockey that ensues.
Russia v. Czech Republic. Sweden v. Finland. Slovakia v. Latvia. And of course, tonight’s marquee matchup, USA v. Canada. As my housemate and hockey buff Yogin puts it, “This is like watching the All-Star game, except the players actually care.”
Here’s the bizarre part, though. In my house there are six people. Five of us are Flyers fans, the sixth a Penguins fan. 90% of the year, we hate our opposing hockey teams. We haven’t watched a Flyers-Pens game together since freshman year, when a group viewing with the six of us plus a few of our floor-mates turned particularly contentious. (Near the end of the game, my Flyers fan buddy Matt’s comment, “Malkin? More like terrible!” rubbed the Pens fans, particularly Yogin, the wrong way even though the Pens were winning)
And yet, tonight, we’re all assembled in the living room to watch the USA-Canada game. What gives?
Team Canada features some premier Flyers (Mike Richards, Chris Pronger) and Penguins (some punk named Crosby). Yet, we’re all cheering against them. Penguin winger Brooks Orpik plays for Team USA, but even us Flyer fans are pulling for him. Huh?
In the end, even though hockey is not my favorite sport, I can appreciate a really great game of puck, which is what USA v. Canada has provided through the first two periods. For two weeks, Pens-Flyers means nothing save for an interesting backstory. It’s about pride in your country, and while it may only show for two weeks in the world of hockey, we’re all Americans 24/7. (Well, except for you international students. Didn’t mean to push you guys aside)
So in conclusion…USA! USA! USA! See you guys in a week, where I’ll return with my “Let’s Go Flyers!” chant.