I don't watch much television, but yesterday (Saturday) I was having a mid-afternoon snack and decided to flick on the tube. After surfing through a few info-mercials, I noticed that the NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 6 was about to begin on NBC. The Edmonton Oilers were preparing to host the visiting Carolina Hurricanes--btw, this is hockey for those of you who don't know. A full house of Canadians packed the stands twirling towels in preparation for 60 minutes of their favorite past time.
As I munched on my pbj and banana, I watched the pre-game cantor march onto the ice, escorted by Canadian Troopers, and prepare to sing each country's National Anthem--as is customary in U.S. vs. Canadian competitions, first the visitor's Anthem, then the host's.
I've attended many basketball, baseball, and hockey games in the U.S. between an American team and a Canadian team, and have stood through the obligatory rendition of "O Canada" before the more familiar "Star Spangled Banner" is played. While most Americans will take off their hat for both, maybe put their hand over their heart for the Stars and Stripes, and possibly sing a few of the remaining, "and the home of the brave," words, I was truly impressed by what I witnessed on Saturday in Edmonton.
Holding tradition, the singer put the microphone to his mouth in the middle of the arena and first began singing the U.S. National Anthem. By the time he mouthed, "Oh say can you see..." the entire, and I mean entire Canadian crowd was loudly singing along with him. Not mouthing the words, not humming, but emphatically and joyously singing America's National Anthem. The exuberant participation lasted throughout the hymn and became even more enthusiastic for the subsequent, "O Canada."
I was impressed by the Canadian's show of respect to the United States, sportsmanship, and Canadian patriotism. But, I couldn't help wondering why we often struggle to demonstrate the same admiration for our northern neighbors? We Americans should all learn more about our across-the-border "cousins", and maybe learn a thing or two from them as well.
Let's see how the North Carolina fans reciprocate on Monday night in Raleigh-Durham. Edmonton won Game 6, and forced the final Game 7. You may watch the game, but I'm tuning in for the pre-game ceremonies. Hopefully, the locals will represent us well and will have brushed up on the words of "O Canada."
And, for all of you who don't know, Edmonton is the Capitol city of the province of Alberta, located in the Mountain Time Zone, about several hundred miles north of Montana.
Content Note: Ironically, Raleigh-Durham will be added to the site this week, stay tuned!