Early Saturday morning Darrell and I dragged ourselves from our warm bed and made our way out to the University of British Columbiaâ€™s Thunderbird Arena for the first Paralympics Ice Sledge Hockey game â€“ Canada v Italy.
Ignoring my fever and potential bronchitis, I donned my official Olympics hockey jersey and headed out the door. Except for a vague memory of attending a Canucks practice session back when I was in preschool, this was my first ever hockey game; that is embarrassing to admit as a Canadian!
The game was amazing â€“ a little slower than ice hockey, after all it takes longer to turn around and maneuver a sledge, although the guys definitely move and they arenâ€™t afraid to slam another player into the boards! The linesmen had to do some high stepping to avoid an oncoming sledge; occasionally they werenâ€™t quite quick enough!
The Canadian team dominated the ice, leaving the goalie Paul Rosen alone in the Canadian end for most of the game! Here are a few highlights from the third period:
How these guys balance sitting on the equivalent of one skate blade and their upper body strength is incredible! Surely shoulders werenâ€™t designed to propel oneâ€™s self across the ice like that.
Darrell and I will return to Thunderbird Arena on Tuesday evening to watch Canada take on Norway and become one step closer to defending their gold medal title from the 2006 Paralympics in Turin!
From Thunderbird Arena we made our downtown to the Vancouver Public Library. After a quick lunch at the same cafe as our first quasi-date nearly fourteen years ago, we headed for the lineup for the Royal Canadian Mint to see the medals. Upon reaching the end of the lengthy line, a security guard informed us that the line was now closed and to come back tomorrow. We turned to head away.
An official-type woman came running after us and said she could get us to the front of the line. Initially we thought she meant when we returned tomorrow. But, no, she meant now; she led us to the front of the three-hour lineup! I felt guilty bypassing the hundreds of people standing there. I donâ€™t use my disability to take advantage of a situation, but occasionally the universe has a way of balancing the scoreâ€¦and who am I to argue with the universe!
Darrell and I were given white gloves and proceeded into the secured area with the next group of perhaps; perhaps 15-20 of us. We read about the process used to make the amazing medals, each one unique, in the display cases while waiting to get close enough to see the actual medals.
Another official-type woman came over to us to tell us to wait behind after the other people left and then we could get our photo taken with the medals. Much to my surprise and delight, I had the opportunity to touch and have my photo taken with each of the six medals (3 from the Olympics and 3 from the Paralympics). A few of the photos arenâ€™t quite in focus and Iâ€™m definitely not feeling my best, however the photos are my memories to cherish.
Touching an Olympic gold medalâ€¦
and bronzeâ€¦and to think each one is unique. The process used to create them is amazing!
The Paralympic medals are more rectangular in shape, with Braille on the back.
The Olympic gold was brought over to me for me to hold up close; an opportunity not afforded to everyone!
Speaking with mechanical technologist Renato Romozzi, he preferred the shape of the Paralympic medals and definitely favoured the bronze for its colour.
I would like to sincerely thank the Mint for making this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity extra memorable for my husband and myself. I appreciate the extra time you took with us so that we could experience these awesome medals up close. Thank you.If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.