Sunday found us driving back to the Cities from a cross country ski weekend on two superb trail systems that we had not skied before, Hickory Ridge near Bloomer,WI, and Tower Hill in my old stompin' grounds near the Eau Claire River. Both were excellent and skiing in 32F (0C) weather with a bright sun is one of the true joys of life. We even did a moonlight snowshoe in the Ice Age Preserve, amongst the glacial kettle lakes and drumlins. We did an early morning ski on Sunday however, because the VOR had church committments and I had bar stool committments. The USA was playing Canada in the Olympic Gold Medal game.
This was truly a matchup of the best vs the best from both countries. Like World Cup soccer, the best players represented their countries in true international competition. The 1980 Miracle on Ice was legendary, but part of the thrill was our collection of college students defeating a professional Soviet Union team that gave the NHL all stars all they could handle in earlier matchups. Near perfect timing had me strolling in the house 4 minutes after the opening faceoff. GuitarMatt was watching the game and, when forced to choose between church with mom and Gold Medal hockey at Grumpys with me, chose the hockey with a minimum of agonizing or angst. I called RonO and caught him and a number of other paddlers attempting to cleanse the chlorine from their systems after a SKOAC Sunday pool session. The group headed from Psycho Suzy's down street to Grumpy's Bar and we settled in for the game.
It was quite a game. Good back and forth action with minimal clutching and grabbing and not a whole lot of chippy play. No one wanted to get tossed from this game. The US battled back from two goals down and our local Prior Lake and Fighting Sioux kid, Zach Parise, tied the game at 2-2 with an empty US net and 24 seconds on the clock. Sidney Crosby, arguably the best player in the NHL right now, won it in OT and the nation of Canada exhaled. A beer was raised by the entire crowd at Grumpys to toast valiant effort by Team USA and a great game.
Hockey as it should be and a fine and fitting end to the Vancouver Olympics. I did suggest to the VoiceOfReason that, were she indeed the VOR, that she may not want to wear her comfy pullover (pictured above) on the street Sunday afternoon but it wasn't really that kind of antagonistic atmosphere, at least here. When they look back, I think the US team should be happy with their performance, especially since they weren't even expected to medal at all. Once again, it was a great game and a great afternoon.