It's how you play the game!!
In the last twenty minutes of the Canada vs Congo match all hell broke loose - why did it take that long for the fire in our team's hearts to start burning? As painful as it was to watch goalkeeper Asmir Begovic's large gloved hands come flying up to touch the ball while he was at least ten feet out of the penalty box - the event itself brought the Canadian team to life. The red card - the goalkeeper sent off in the dying minutes of Canada's last game - their last chance to show us what they are made of, what we're made of. When little, fair-haired, Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault donned the make-shift goalie jersey, mammoth gloves and stepped between the two daunting goal posts, I thought, Oh my God, now what are we in for. Then something happened, he took control of the game!!! Stopped a few incredible shots on goal, exuded passion, drive and guts and a healthy desperation that catapulted his entire team to life - suddenly they were attacking, shooting at the net from close range, scrambling for the ball, working together as a team, fighting for a win, fighting for anything, the anguish on their faces began to show, they were trying. The rain-soaked fans came alive, the bleeding ref came to life and the Congo had a game on their hands - I ask you, should this side of our national team not have been evident from their very first kick-off on their country's soil!!?
Having been a huge soccer fan practically since birth, and those of you who live and breathe the sport will understand, there's an all-encompassing effect that comes with supporting your country's team, the beauty of World Cup events, of any sporting event - hockey, the Olympics, the world series. They bring the fans, the people, together on so many levels, the patriotism, the pride one takes in cheering their players on and those players more often than not are brewing with that very same pride when they hit the pitch, the ice, the field - ah, it's magic. So sure, it isn't whether our countries win or lose but for those ninety odd minutes that we're all there as one; emotionally, joyfully, faithfully and with so much hope - it's how they play the game.