Volume 95, Issue 80

Wednesday, March 6, 2002
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From "uh-oh" to the OUAs

Badgers lose their bite

It's either Halifax or bust

Celebrating gold with a Foster's

Sports Briefs

Hauling in the hardware

Celebrating gold with a Foster's

Dinner down under
John Dinner
Editor Emeritus

If you've been asked once, you've been asked a thousand times – where were you when Canada won the gold medal? No need to specify which sport – everyone knows what you're talking about.

You're going to be relaying to your children and probably your children's children about where you were when the greatest hockey moment of our generation happened. Some were in bars, some at home, but pretty well everyone with a Canadian brain was watching.

My story begins in the surfer's paradise of Australia (I'm in teacher's college here). I scoured sports bars, betting parlours, clubs – you name it – in search of our beloved game.

I found absolutely nothing.

So it was off to Sydney, where the satellite provider there was showing the hockey tournament.

In Sydney, it took four hours of searching the streets until I found a lone bar that I knew would be showing Canada's games.

With my Canadian flag on my backpack and an 'I am Canadian' t-shirt I enjoyed the Canada-Finland game and left with a big smile on my face after the win.

Two hours later, I returned, only this time the bar was transformed into an all-Canadian party (I'm getting goose bumps just writing this).

It was amazing – in a city thousands of kilometres from home, there was 150-plus Canadians, wearing jerseys, waving flags and donning painted faces.

The Canada-Belarus game was at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning and then the gold medal game was also at 6 a.m., only on Monday (also my first day of school).

Fortunately, the owner of the bar realized the money-making potential of another Canadian turnout at his bar, so he said that if the bar was busy enough he would stay open through the night and into the morning for us.

The plan was hatched for Canadians to begin showing up at 4:30 a.m. just to make sure he couldn't close.

Some people stayed in Friday night getting early wake-up calls, and others had the party continue, but everyone showed again and at 6 a.m., we got to see Canada lay a beating on Belarus.

For me, this was my gold medal game, as I had to return for my first day of school Monday. The decision was easy, as Channel 7 – one of four channels I get – decided to show the game live, prior to the closing ceremonies.

Sleeping on my couch until 6 a.m., I was joined by six other Canadian fellas in my program and we skipped the first day.

After Canada won, we erupted much like you all did at home.

Phone calls were made home and we heard all about the streets being flooded and the partying erupting across Canada (more goose bumps). So, likewise we headed out into the 32-degree heat, sporting our team jerseys and maple leaf flag and whooped it up on the beach. That's right – the freakin' beach.

As much as it pained me not to be in Toronto or Montreal or any Canadian city, town or village, the sting was certainly deadened by the fact that I got sand all over my Team Canada jersey.

I have never felt so far from Canada, yet so close to my home in my entire time here. Half-way across the world, we partied like we were from London, or the Soo, or Banff and we did it because that's where we're from.

It wasn't the party Canada had, but we did our part Down Under.

–John Dinner is a former Sports Editor at The Gazette

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