For the past ten days, every staff member and volunteer at the venues has been gracious and friendly, and that attitude seemed to be rubbing off on the local spectators. Everyone was smiling, and if the Canadian fans did not have an athlete in the finals, likely as not, they’d cheer for the American. In the past few days, however, the US medal count has been embarrassingly generous, and the gracious attitude of the locals on the street has been hard to maintain.
Today in hockey, the US men defeated the favored Canadians 5-3, and some of the locals seem no longer happy to see Americans sharing their sidewalks or drinking establishments. Late last night, on my walk to the apartment, I heard a reveler yell at my back, “Yankee, go home.” Today, after the hockey game, a group of American tourists boarded my train wearing loud USA colors and garish hats, laughing. In reaction, some Canadian students on the train began a vulgar cheer, and I began to feel uncomfortable and tried to hide my USA credential.
Only a small minority of Canadians in Vancouver is acting out, but it is still a bit of a shock to hear the United States slandered by our neighbors to the north, in a manner that would have been unbecoming from a communist satellite country.
I understand that the Canadians might still win the hockey gold medal, and that might improve the behavior of the hooligans, but it’s hard to erase today’s activities from my mind.