Wednesday, January 07, 2009

On Junior Hockey Championships and A New Year

My urge to write here seems to have been waning over the last month or so. I have sat down to write about this or that thought a few times, but somehow they just would not congeal into a coherent bloggable topic, and I am just not one to blab away journal-style (yet).

However, here we are in 2009 now, and I find myself with a few thoughts that I would like to jot down and share.

First off, a sincere congratulations and "great job boys!!!" to our Canadian Junior Hockey team. These young men displayed some real poise and depth in facing some serious obstacles as they won Gold at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Ottawa over the holidays. Sticking together and working hard, never giving up, led to a tying goal against the Russians with only 5 seconds left in their semi-final game. Our boys went on to win the game in a shootout, where it was the goaltender's turn to shine. This team was far from a shoe-in to win, and they truly earned that Gold medal. Congratulations and thanks for the example, fellows.

I also must mention the Slovakian team. Playing with less raw talent, and a far inferior development program, that group of young men played their absolute hearts out in every game I saw them play. This effort led to their upsetting 2 teams that were considered far superior, and led to their playing for the bronze medal overall. Unfortunately they were not able to beat the Russians and went home without a medal but those young men have nothing to be ashamed about. I hope they returned home with their heads held high. Their effort was truly remarkable and perhaps an even stronger example than that given by our own Canadian team.

I really do love this tournament. The hockey is of the highest calibre and the energy is amazing. These are young men playing for the pride of their country, not for money. Every game is intense and the players chalk full of passion and focus. If it was the only hockey I could watch in a year, I think I would be satisfied.

As is often the case in this situation, I was moved by the spirit of the Canadian crowds, as they sang our anthem over the recorded music. By the time the semi and finals were reached, the music was actually turned down and the crowd sang alone, at tremendous volume. This often happens in Canadian cities during the NHL playoffs as well and is always a moving experience to me. My blood pounds and the hair stands up on my arms. However, it has begun to weigh on me, especially during this championship tournament...that we basically only come together to truly celebrate being Canadian, during these sporting events (and on Canada Day tho I do not believe to as large an extent). Now, granted, hockey is one of our greatest sources of national pride but I wish we would come together in this sort of celebration more often. I wish we would pay more heed to the words of our anthem as well, because we are no longer standing on guard for our country. Too much we are only worried about ourselves, our immediate concerns. Our nation is in danger and is hockey enough to hold us together? Should it be?

Damn, a brand new year and I am complaining already...

Personally, I am not sure it feels like a new year. Renewal isn't that simple a process to me. Sure I feel the energy of solstice and I know in my soul that nature will do it's thing. Spring will come, in some form, renewal will occur. Yet at the same time, we humans are mired in the same old status quo. We're making our guesses at what the new year will hold, we're making our resolutions (and usually breaking them shortly thereafter). We're going back to our jobs now that the holidays are over again. We had our rest time, but how many of us actually took any time to reflect on from where we have come, and to where we are headed? I think most of us bustled our way through the busy time, dreading having to return to work but knowing those christmas bills need paying.

Still, 2009 is likely to be a very difficult year. We are facing disruption on so many levels, I just don't see any rational hope of a return to "normal". Not only are we going to be dealing with escalating climate, environmental and economic catastrophe, our "leadership" seems more interested in consolidation of power than in actually trying to address some of these huge issues. More importantly, the lower and middle class seem more interested in hoping that someone will come along to put things back to "normal", than in recognising "normal" was pretty fucked up and that we ALL need to make some serious priority changes.

For myself, I am just going to take it day by day and continue to try to live responsibly and with as much awareness as I can muster. I'm just going to keep reading and initiating real conversation, and trying to strive for wisdom as well as knowledge. I'm going to keep doing my damnedest to not just give up and stick my head in the sand (or snow as the case may be). I'm going to keep trying to develop my local and sustainable business ideas and trying to bring like minded people together to form an common sense community. I'm going to keep striving for balance.

I hope we all will.

Peace to all.

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