The Olympics: like Aggie Game Day–on acid

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA—In the summer of 2008 I confessed in this space my addiction to the Olympic Games. Be it summer or winter, I love the competition between the athletes from countries around the globe.

I got to live the Olympic experience as I attend the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver with my husband Buck and his stepdad Chris.

Buck’s mother Robyn and Chris live in Victoria, British Columbia so after the Torino games four years ago I realized that the 2010 Winter Games were going to be in Canada and we began planning our trip.

Since then we’ve had daughter Hannah to go along with brother Bradley, so this also meant an ideal trip to visit the grandparents.

After an hour bus ride from Victoria (in which we had to be there by 5 a.m.) to the ferry at Schwarz Bay, an hour and a half ferry ride to Tsawwassen and then another hour bus ride, our trio arrived in downtown Vancouver.

The Canadian flag was everywhere—in apartment windows, painted on cars, painted on people, hanging from large cranes on construction sites. As a proud America it hurts me to say this, but the patriotism of Canadians was amazing.

With tens of thousands of people on the streets and metro lines, we decided it would be best to walk to our destinations.

First we went on a hunt for the Olympic torch. After about 45 minutes of walking in mostly the right direction we found it. It was amazing to see, yet not as big as I had imagined.

After a dozen or so photos we set out to find the Canada Hockey Place, site of our one Olympic event we’d get to see, a hockey game between Norway and Switzerland.

We finally arrived at the Olympic venue area and you could just feel the fun, lively energy in the air. There were people from literally everywhere in the world.

They best way for me to describe to feeling of the Olympics is this...Aggie Football Game Day on acid. The same energy was there inside Canada Hockey Place.

There were fans waving flags from Norway, Switzerland, Canada, United States, Finland and a few more. Some fans were even painted and in costumes. It was crazy and that’s before the first puck was dropped.

The Norway-Switzerland game went into overtime with the Swiss winning 5-4. We were pulling for the Norwegians as the Bakkens are originally from Norway.

I had never seen a hockey game live, but I will tell you this much, I am a fan of the game now. It was constant action and the game atmosphere was just so intense.

My favorite memory of the Games wasn’t on the ice, but in the stands. The venue was split into different sides for different teams, everyone was sitting everywhere.

We were 15 rows from the ice and were sandwiched between Swiss fans behind us, French-speaking Canadians on the left, Norwegians in front of us and an inebriated American on the right.

The group of Swiss fans around us was dedicated. Three guys had on 80’s style mullet wigs, Devo glasses and had painted their bodies from head to waist in red paint and proudly sported a white Swiss cross on their chest.

When Switzerland would be near the net closest to us trying for a goal, the painted followers would chant “Go Swiss, Go Swiss,” in German of course.

In the third period of the game they were chanting rather loudly, so the drunk American chanted in response, “Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese.”

I’ll never look at Swiss cheese again and not think of my Olympic experience.

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2010-03-04 digital edition

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