They were a long time coming and in the end the 21st Winter Olympic Games seemed to be over in a flash of the eye.
Personally speaking, February 2010 has been the best month of my life. I have so many memories to take from the Olympics and they will be with me till my dying days. It was a great experience and I hope to continue it on just that little longer come the Paralympics next week.
I hope the paralympics are also a huge success. Those guys deserve not to just be the after party. The tickets are very affordable and I’m going to quite a few things at that and I can’t wait for that to begin now!
Vancouver was transformed and for the better. All the doom merchants have slid away back to their corners, wondering what to complain about next. Our beautiful city was showcased to the world and the city has changed for the better and hopefully for the long term as a result. Yes there will be debt left after it all, yes there will still be the homeless and other problems that existed before, but we shouldn’t dwell on the negatives. I’m glad we hosted the world.
As a non Canadian I was proud to have my friends back in my old home see what my new home was like. I know they were impressed.
So what has all this got to do with football I can sense you wondering. Why is this in our Southsiders blog?
The Canadian sporting culture, and to a certain extent the culture of the country as a whole, has often puzzled me. I know we are a proud nation. I know we are a sports mad nation. So why did we not show this to the full extent before these games? What was it that brought out this outpouring of noise, passion and fervant support? Where was it all this time?
It is ok to make a lot of noise at sporting events. It is ok to generate an electric atmosphere. These just add to your enjoyment. Sitting on your hands and resting your vocal chords detracts from the gametime experience. There is nothing wrong with wanting your team and your country to be the best in the world and to beat all comers. Hatred of rivals adds to the rivalry.
We all know that and now a lot more people across this great city and this great country know that as well.
Hopefully for those Vancouverites in attendance, the Olympics will let them see what atmosphere sporting events in the city can generate. The singing, the chanting, the cheering, the passion. That, to me, is what sport is all about. That’s what sport invokes in people and around the world, football is the sport that does this best.
There’s not many places you can go these days and yell your head off for a couple of hours and be surrounded by like minded people. Football gives you that. It’s not sterile, screen generated atmospheres telling you when to make some noise. That noise comes naturally to us.
Hockey and throwball don’t have the same fan reactions. You can see that in the crowd chants. They’re basic, they’re repetitive and predictable, they lack the terracing humour. Even with all the outpouring and chanting that the Olympics brought, there seemed to be a lack of variety in what to chant. The throngs wanted to let themselves go, but at times seemed like they just needed a little helping hand. They needed us in there to get things kicking off big time really.
But baby steps. The Vancouver public have now found out the joy of cheering. The fun of chanting. The passion of roaring on your team to success and beating everyone in your way. They have a taste for what football fans around the world have long known the joys of.
It’s what we have in the Southside and hopefully the Olympics will have given people a desire for more. More noise. More fervour. More passion. More fun.
If it has, then there’s only one place in the city for them to come to. They won’t get that kind of buzz a the Canucks or the Lions.
Vancouver. The Whitecaps and the Southsiders await you. Your enthusiastic passion does have a long term home in the city long after the Olympics.
Welcome to the Southside. Welcome to your new home.