With the Olympic Games on now in Vancouver, memories have come flooding back to me about the Nagano Olympics of 1998.
It was a special time as my son and I, who would turn 21 there, took in the Olympics and other regions of the country.
We stayed with an exceptional Japanese family…the Fukasawa’s, who treated us royally and elped make my son’s birthday an extra special one.
The games were great but Canada finished out of the medals in hockey.
On the way home I penned this poem…I hope you enjoy it.
Destiny on Ice
Our Gladiators arrive to cheers
Bursting with Confidence. Determination
Not Silver, Not Bronze.
Only… for Gold.
The puck is dropped, The Fight is On.
Victory won, Easily at first,
But the enemy grows…
Bigger. Tougher. Stronger.
A Red Sea of Maple Leaf flags, Raised high
Against the Swedes… And especially
Against the U.S. of A….
Worthy foes, But to the victors
Belong the spoils of knowledge,
That we can, we will,
The playoff round. A stepping stone.
Even more bold now,
For certain… Gold.
An easy win at first,
Against some ancient rival of a bygone glory.
Another ahead… The Czechs,
Like the latter, a stepping stone
Red Flags unfurl. On sticks, on shirts, on hats.
A Samurai in a Red Maple Leaf.
A Native Indian… Wrapped in Red. Canada red.
They lead the cheers,
As back and forth, From end to end They speed.
But look at Hasek!
Arms, legs, mask. No stick?
Hasek needs no tree, chopped or carved
To a sluggish piece of Wood.
Limbs fly… Across, above, below…
He stops them all!
But ours is destiny still
Until a mournful silence grows,
As Slegr finds the hole.
We will not be denied.
It is not possible. Maybe,
But not possible.
A minute left… We score!
And in our delirium we know
That Destiny rides again, towards us,
Its rightful owners.
To break the tie
The best line up to take their shots.
One on one they skate.
The heathens first.
A shot. They score!
A groan… A momentary doubt.
But cheers rise again. Then fall
As one, two, three, four.
All miss the mark.
But quiet your troubled hearts.
We will not be denied
With eighty-eight at number five.
Lines pass. Red. Blue.
A twist, a feint, a shot.
It’s in! No! It’s not!
No! No! Not possible.
Destiny is not ours.
Why? How? Who?
Flags slowly fall to half mast.
Paralyzed. Unable to move… To speak.
Death is close.
Near, but not yet here.
For there is another day, another Desiny.
A lessor life perhaps, But still a chance
To raise a medal to the sky.
A glint not quite as bright,
But a prize nevertheless.
The Corpse stirs, And in the morning
Hundred year old legs move
To take control.
To show Them… Who we are,
Why we are here,
Where We should have Been.
The Hungry masses try to find the strength
To feed these waning heroes last drops
Of fading Elixir.
Flags wave, less high perhaps,
But struggling to be proud,
To take what is ours,
Rightfully ours, again.
But passing time doth prove us wrong
Yet one more time,
As once again the flags
Are folded, hidden
Under cotton, under leather,
Slowly… Quietly… Out of sight.
Heads bowed. Silent. Praying
For a soul departed. Stolen
By some foreign Satan. Enemies…
Not foretold by Cherry. Not expected.
Not by Him. Not by us,
Not by anyone.
No Gold… No Silver… Not even Bronze
To brighten up the long winter’s nights.
Home. Slowly, slumbering… Stumbling
Home! Questions asked. Answered
By Silence. Emptiness. Nothing. But Pity.
Yet in the distance a faint bugle can be heard
Softly penetrating the black night.
A warrior from some future time,
From another place… Calling
From another city.
A Lake of Salt.
As new stars make ready to explode
And shed their light…
To sparkle, As they stake their positions
In the clear, dark sky.
No accident of fate will this time
Mar our Destiny.
Sew the flags. And raise them high.
Above the Curtain,
Above the Eagle. Above those Pretenders
To our throne.
It will be ours again. Soon.
We will be there
To celebrate… Our time.
Our Dream… Our purpose…