February 13, 2018

Early morning celebration at the train station

My ticket to Toronto was for the 7:30am train, and not the 6:25am train that I usually take. Ever a creature of habit, I arrived at the station just after 6am, ready to board; I realized my mistake when I opened up my boarding pass.

With over an hour until my actual scheduled departure, I settled myself into the lounge with a cup of tea and turned my attention to the television in the corner. On it, the gold medal final of Olympic mixed doubles curling. I was immediately transfixed.

Mixed doubles curling is a new Olympic sport; it was also a new sport for me. I am a fan of curling, but this new twist on the sport—it took a few minutes to learn the new rules but it eventually made sense—added intrigue, pace, and excitement to the experience.

Over the hour that I waited and watched, others joined me and congregated around the television. Conversation began; we discussed curling, the Olympics, national pride, sports in general. We cheered all together, transfixed with the action on the screen.

The Swiss team conceded in the sixth end; the Canadians won the gold medal in a dominating performance. In the lounge, we high-fived and hugged each other like we were old friends. Minutes after our celebration, the boarding announcement came over the loudspeaker; we all became quiet and shuffled our way onto the train, wrapt in our own lives, once again.

I have friends and former friends who mock my love of sports, but moments like this morning remind me why I am so enamoured with watching athletic feats: there are few things that bring people, often complete strangers, together than cheering for the same team (national or otherwise). Watching sport builds camaraderie and connects us to others, even if just for a few short minutes before we all shuffle away back into our own private worlds.