With the decade coming to a close, I really can’t help but be nostalgic of all the incredible sports moments we’ve seen in the past 10 years.
I have to give a disclaimer; this will be inherently biased as a Canadian. So let’s just call it ‘my’ best sports moments of the decade.
Sports evoke so much emotion and, like music, can take you back to where you were when these moments happened. I can remember where I was for each of these.
Alright, let’s get down to it. These are, by the way, in no particular order, my favourite moments:
We begin where the last decade did. The Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver was the third time in history that Canada played host to the world’s greatest athletes. Never before had Canada won gold on home soil, until Alexandre Bilodeau grabbed the hearts of so many – on Valentine’s Day, of all days – winning gold in men’s moguls.
Up until the final day of the 2010 Olympic Games, Canada held 13 gold medals. They had one more to collect. The feeling around the country was that even if they did collect the most gold of all the countries, if they didn’t take home the men’s hockey gold it would’ve been a bust for the entire Canadian Olympic team.
There was so much hype around this team, as there always is. But at the same time, odds makers had a reluctance by so many to give them any credibility after finishing seventh overall in the last Olympics in Turin.
Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry opened the scoring for Canada in the gold medal game, giving them a leg-up on the United States. Ryan Kesler cut their lead in half in the second period. Then with 25 seconds left in the third period Zach Parise stopped the hearts of Canadians watching everywhere by tying the game up.
It was a pretty uneventful overtime, with no high quality scoring chances, until the 12:30 mark. Every broadcast around the world picked up Crosby calling for a pass, “IGGY!”
Crosby put it through the legs of Ryan Miller and single-handedly united a country. I still get goosebumps from watching those highlights.
I am also a firm believer that this game is what made Canada a flag-bearing country. I felt such immense pride to be a part of this country after that game, words do not even begin to describe the feeling of elation that I and so many others felt when that red light went off. I couldn’t sing our national anthem any louder if I had tried during the medal ceremony.
I know, I know. Another Canada vs USA hockey game – very original.
This game was insane; no other way to describe it. It was the second time the Canadians faced off against the Americans in this tournament and hoo-boy the sequel did not disappoint.
Heading into the third period, the US held a 1-0 lead and would extend that lead very early in that same period. It looked like it would take a miracle to beat Jessie Vetter, the American goaltender, at that point with the way she looked throughout the game.
Hockey is a game of hard work and skill, obviously, but sometimes you need a bounce to go your way. The Canadians got one off the stick of Brianne Jenner when it fluttered into the back of the net with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.
While all of this was going down, I was in my grade 11 English class, half listening to my classmates’ public speeches. I remember telling my teacher Ms. Novek, that “it’s borderline treasonous to not let me watch this game.” After a relatively lengthy argument, she allowed me to watch the remainder of the game in the back of the class if I promised to not disrupt her class and the speeches any longer.
Oh boy was that a mistake.
Marie-Philip Poulin scored in the dying moments of the game, and I stood up and shouted “F*** YEAH!” right in the middle of one of the speeches. I was kicked out of that class and sent to the principal’s office quickly, but I didn’t really care. I booked it to the library where they had a TV to watch the rest of the game with the library staff and other students who were skipping class to watch.
Poulin scored and I jumped into the arms of a kid in grade nine that I had never spoken to before in celebration. That’s the beautiful thing about sports, but more specifically international competition; strangers immediately become friends as you cheer for your country together.
Luckily for me, the principal was a cool guy and didn’t care about me yelling obscenities in class and I got off scot-free.
Graphic by @sundaeghost