Yesterday was a crazy day. My foot hurt, my meeting went long, two co-workers had some quality hospital time for kidney issues. I had a long list of chores waiting for me when I got home.
Instead, I responded yes to the text that invited me to go down to Maple Leaf Square in Toronto to watch game seven on the giant screen surrounded by 25,000 screaming fans. It was insane down there. We parked a few blocks away and followed all the blue and white jerseys. People were laughing and joking around with strangers. All I could smell was cinnamon, coffee and beer. We dared to eat street meat (little hot dog and sausage stands that do a mean business during hockey season). We started out in the middle of the crowd, shoved up against a sapling that hadn't leafed yet. As the crowd started pushing in on us, we moved back. Then back again and again until we were standing on the street corner. We decided to bail and head for a bar but once we crossed the street we could actually see over all those blue heads, helmets and wigs to the giant screen so we stayed.
I cannot describe the energy, the cheers, the bodies jumping up and down. Riot police were out in full force. The street was closed to traffic and the crowd flowed out and over onto our side of the street. Flags waved. Toilet paper was tossed. The game took a hard turn away from jubilation. People were so tense they barely breathed. Then it was over and everyone filed away from the scene of the crime. Most people just wanted to put it behind them. One guy threw a sign and people told him to grow up. The guy who tossed firecrackers was encouraged, strongly, not to do that again.
I don't like crowds, I don't like to be surrounded by riot police. We kept backing up so the police were in front of us, so that we were behind the action. Underdressed in our Leaf jerseys, we were freezing on the street corner when the sun went down. Yet, for all that, I'm glad I experienced it. People were well-behaved. Civilized even, in their disappointment.
I woke up this morning with my throat raw from all that screaming. My foot feels worse but that's from driving as I did all my jumping up and down on one foot.
It was a tough day, both on the news and at home. But going to Toronto last night was fun and it helped me to deal with today's tragedies and sadness. It reminded me to seize opportunities, to laugh whenever possible, to spend time with people whose company you enjoy, to play even when you might fall and scrape your knee.
Yesterday was full of Good Things in a blue and white package of comaraderie, disappointment and friendship.