Saturday, June 11, 2011

Confessions Of A Closeted Canadian Supporter

... Or, Duane Made Me Do It.

I like Canada. Really. I like the music, I like the beaver tails, I like the health care system, and I like lululemon.

Recently, I also started to like the Men’s National Team (I’ve always liked the Women’s).

Now, the internal struggle that came with this new relationship has not been easy. It isn’t so much that I didn’t want to like CMNT, it was more so that I didn’t want to feel like I had to like it. I mean, I get it, really, I do. I Am Canadian. Just like the shite beer tells me. I live here, I pay taxes here, and I sure as hell vote here. I am not denying my Canadianessism. But, I didn’t like the fact that I have to support the National Team. Forget it, I’m a rebel.

But then, I actually went to a game.

Let’s start from the beginning. There’s a story that goes with it, which involves my father (this blog has just basically become “Stories About My Dad,” but to be fair, he does have a lot of stories).

It happened on a regular day in May:

Dad: Canada is playing.
Me: You mean the Ecuador game?
Dad: Yeah, yeah, Ecuador.
Me: Yeah, I know. I have tickets (Editor’s Note: thanks for that, by the way).
Dad: Who are you going with?
Me: Whomever I can convince. Or trick.
Dad: So you’re not going with anyone?
Me: As of right now, no.
Dad: I want to go.
Me: (Panic sets in in my mind. Wait, what? He wants to go? Is he dying? Is this his attempt to spend his last few days with me? Oh God. Will he tell me? Oh God! What do I do? Couldn’t he have picked a better game? OH GOD!) Sure Daddy, you can come.
Dad: Okay.
Me: Okay.

And we don’t talk about it again until the day before the game, as we have to work out our schedules. We plan to meet at Exhibition just after six and have a healthy dinner of pulled pork and beer.

Well, it turns out he’s not dying and genuinely wanted to go to the game. I know, right? Anyway, to my surprise he even showed up in a red golf shirt. He WANTED to support Canada.

For the record, I showed up wearing these:

 (still a little unsure if these were necessary). 

There is no need for pictures of the actual day.

The game got off to a bit of a slow start, but once Canada scored their first goal, he (and, I) were hooked. “What a piece of shit!” and “they’re garbage, Sonja, garbage!” changed to “that was a world class shot!” and “that was a Champions League shot!”

But then, then Canada went down 1 – 2 and a funny thing happened. He became the dad of my sports-ridden childhood. He started to scream again how much they sucked, how they were a piece of shit, how they were garbage, but in a different way. Flashbacks to every baseball, basketball, those God awful tennis lessons, etc. came flooding back: he was screaming, belittling, and probably making players cry if they could hear him… all because he cared! He was angry because he wanted them to do better! He was swearing because he expected them to do better! In other words, he now, and still, had faith in them.

I turned to look at him somewhere between the 75’ and the 85’ and realized that my dad was truly a CMNT fan (again, he was already a fan of the Women’s Team).

He will, however, deny it to the death.

As for me, well, even despite today’s game against Guadeloupe, I’m happy to say I support Canada.  And here are some of the reasons that convinced me:

Yes there's a lot of yellow. But keep in mind, I was on the side of the red.

In conclusion, I would proudly wear a Canadian jersey. If I could find one in Women’s. Or, failing that, Children’s. (This is where I hope Umbro sends me a shirt, despite it never working with Puma and Young Boys).  


Post script: Canada has no real equivalent to “hopp.”