Odd Thoughts: Canadians full of humble pride

I find myself behaving terribly un-Canadian lately.

And that’s a terribly difficult thing to do, on many levels.

Right off the top, it appears to be ungrammatical to be un-Canadian – or un-Canadianly, which seems a more appropriate grammatical construct, but alas is just as unavailable to us in action or emotion.

Americans are perfectly capable of being un-American from time to time.

But Canadians who have a hankering to be un-Canadian receive absolutely no support from the dictionary, even if only for just a few seconds, like perhaps wanting to revel in an Olympic hockey game victory.

Oops! Was it terribly un-Canadian of me to mention that?

And what if I don’t even apologize?

I’m not an Olympic fan.

And I’m not really a hockey fan (Ouch! How un-Canadian can a born-in-Canada Canadian get, really, even if it is technically impossible to be un-Canadian?).

But I did watch the semifinal match-up between the Americans and Canadians.

That was a fantastic game. It reminded me of the old days of the hockey I imagined I was watching when I was a kid and I did enjoy watching hockey. There was lots of action, lots of puck-skill shown by top-notch players – and most players spent more time on the ice than they did in the penalty box.

It reminded me of the women’s hockey match between the Americans and Canadians.

That’s hockey!

However, if I were to bring my most Canadianly honesty into the equation, I’d have to admit that the fact our team won in the end – both times – probably added to my enjoyment.

So it truly is lucky for me that the dictionary doesn’t allow anyone to be un-Canadian.

Because I’m not apologizing for that, either.

Indeed – and this probably proves I’m as Canadian as any Canadian – I felt rather pleasantly smug that our teams both trounced the Americans.

Okay. There I go being impossibly un-Canadian again.

The fact is that nobody was “trounced” in those games – an admission that is probably very Canadian.

Both teams in both matches were fantastic and brought joy to the game.

But it really is more fun when our Canadian athletes beat their American rivals, isn’t it?

And the bottom-line truth of it is that that’s because it’s exactly like the way it’s always fun to watch a movie where the little guy wins in the end against the guy you know is bigger and stronger and should be invincible.

Ergo, the un-Canadian behaviour of Canadians like me, unabashedly and unapologetically celebrating victory over our American “foes” is ultimately and unavoidably Canadian: it’s an admission that we still – regardless of any evidence to the contrary in our own spheres of superiority (like hockey, heh heh) – consider ourselves the underdogs, and any victory over the Big Guy south of the border is unexpected and, we wish to believe, un-Canadian – happily and joyously un-Canadian, but un-Canadian nonetheless.

And that, more than our self-avowed apologetic and polite nature, is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. It is pride in our humility that makes us Canadians.

My humble pride defines me as a Canadian.

That and the fact that I really did intend to get up at 4 a.m. to watch the gold medal game against the Swedes.

In fact, I woke up at about 4:30, peered suspiciously at the clock, and realized I must be crazy… and went back to sleep. 

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