Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hockey: as Canadian as a $5 bill

In hockey we trust.

As a casual sports fan at best, it's interesting that hockey has permeated our nation's life so fully, completely this week - thanks Tragically Hip! - I'm noticing hockey where I've never seen it before: in the eyes of small children, the mirror, my forehead, and our currency.

It's fitting that, on the night my first-year students are covering the Moose game for their journalism class, I happened to notice and actually read the back of our $5 bill - and not just because I was dining alone at Pony Corral and looking for something to do. Just kidding: I wasn't alone. I was with my imaginary manservant, Gus.

While the US famously has "In God We Trust" all over its currency, the Canadian $5 bill features my favorite Wilfred (Laurier!) on the front and, on the back, kids playing pond hockey, a sweater bearing number nine (Rocket Richard!), and a quotation from "The Hockey Sweater" by Canadian novelist Roch Carrier.

His words celebrate hockey at the same time they stick it to God and education. No kidding! They read:
"The winters of my childhood were
long, long seasons. We lived in
three places - the school, the church
and the skating-rink - but our real life
was on the skating-rink."
A fitting tribute to the game the same week that Sidney Crosby saved our nation's virtue by putting the puck in the net when the US wasn't looking. Hey, that sounds dirty!

Unlike the Rocket's hair on Grecian Formula (see below), more people should take note of this little story more often. Hey, $5 bill: two minutes for looking so good!

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