Nationalism expressed on the ice

by Kim McCullough | 1/8/02 6:00am

Forty percent of the Dartmouth women's hockey team is Canadian.

During my freshman season, there were only three of us, but we have slowly, but surely, been taking over the team ever since.

We have even convinced our coaches to let the wonderful melodies of "O Canada" fill the rafters of Thompson Arena before every home game.

All eight of us feel a tremendous pride in being from what we feel is the greatest country in the world, and we proudly display our patriotism on our sleeves. Over the past four years, I have frequently been made fun of because of my accent and my impressive array of maple-leaf-covered clothing.

I can't even count the number of times people have serenaded me with that annoying "Blame Canada" song from the South Park movie.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I get quite angry when people insult the country where I was born and raised. Having tremendous pride in your country should never be something to be ashamed of.

It has always struck me as rather strange that Americans tend not to physically display their patriotism as readily as myself and my fellow Canucks.

My American teammates, whom I love dearly, simply could not seem to understand why I display my pride in my country so outwardly.

But that has all changed now.

On Dec. 29, our team had the honor of playing the United States women's Olympic hockey team in an exhibition game.

Right before the playing of the American national anthem, the announcer asked for a moment of silence to honor all those who have suffered great losses as a result of the tragedies of Sept. 11.

Looking back on that moment, I now realize that it is no coincidence that I can't remember being teased for my pronunciation of "about" in the past few months. Prior to Sept. 11, I very rarely saw people on our campus wearing or carrying anything that proudly displayed the American flag.

Before America began its new war on terrorism, if you had told me that each member of our team would have an American flag sticker on the back of their helmet, I would have assured you that at least eight of us would have had reservations about the decision.

As every television broadcaster and radio announcer has repeated over and over again for the last four months, America will never be the same.

The United States, as a whole, has grown as a nation and will continue to grow as a result of Sept. 11.

And although my teammates and I haven't spoken about it explicitly, there seems to be an unspoken treaty being upheld between the Americans and Canadians. Boldly displaying your pride in your country has come screaming back into fashion.

As always, Canada continues to be the world's trendsetter. The next step is to bring toques (winter hats for all those not well versed in Canuck speak) and Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys onto the runways of New York.

Kim McCullough '02 is co-captain of the defending ECAC champion Dartmouth women's ice hockey team.