Sunday, February 28, 2010

Divided Loyalties

The Olympic hockey tournament has created an interesting issue for me, and for others, I am sure, who find themselves a similar situation as myself.

Born and raised in Canada, hockey was practically a religion. Everyone followed it, especially myself and my father. There was nothing else on the TV on game nights when the Toronto Maple Leafs suited up. And even though the team has not won a Stanley Cup in over 40 years, they still sell out the entire arena, every single game. That is how deep the hockey devotion runs in the Canadian psyche. It is Canada's sport. It has been for generations.

When I moved to California, my love for hockey never abated. I took to following the San Jose Sharks to feed my addiction. And this year, 2010, was an Olympic year. Meaning, the National Hockey League is put on hold for two weeks, so that its players who were so fortunate to have been selected for their countries' teams would be allowed to represent them on the international stage.

Therein lies my epic struggle: Which team should I root for ?

The Canadian team, the team representing the country of my birth and upbringing ? The country that identifies itself almost solely through the game of hockey ? The team that had FOUR of my San Jose Sharks players represented, including my two favorites (Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau) ?

Or the U.S. team, the team representing the country where I reside; the country that has given me great opportunities and a wonderful family; the same team that Joe Pavelski from my San Jose Sharks represents as well ?

Herein lies the dichotomy. How do I choose which team to support ?

I was thinking about this during the Gold Medal game, where Canada and the U.S. were facing off for the ultimate trophy, and the only conclusion I could come up with is this:

If it were any other sport, such as baseball, basketball or football, that was truly an American game -- a game that Americans identify with as part of their culture -- I would undoubtedy root for the U.S. Even if they were playing Canada. I live here after all, I always will, and am grateful to all that this country has given me.

However, we are talking about hockey here. Canada's sport. Canada's game. The very game for which the country's passion runs deep within my veins, even almost 10 years after I left the country.

As a result, I had to admit to myself that I would be cheering for Canada in this tournament.

Danny glared at me when I made this declaration, especially since he, as a proud American, was rooting for the U.S.

A house divided.

And yesterday, that division continued, during the gold medal game.

Canada was leading 2-1, and were poised to take the goal, until Zach Parise stunned the entire Canadian nation by tying the game with 25 seconds left in regulation. But in overtime, Canada prevailed, with a sudden-death goal by Sidney Crosby to take home the gold.

Even more proof of Canadians' devotion to the game is this: When the U.S. won every game in their tournament up until the gold medal game, only a few of my American friends made comments on Facebook. Yet, when Canada took home the gold, my Facebook page was filled several times over by a huge batch of my Canadian friends cheering and celebrating. I stayed silent on Facebook. No need to rub it in anyone's face -- except Danny's of course, when I jumped around the house screaming and yelling in jubilation after the game-winning goal.

Canada deserved this one. Not just because it was their home ice. Not just because it is their game. But simply because, when it counted the most, they played better hockey. And that is what champions are made of.

This game will go down in history as one of the most intense and thrilling matches in decades of Olympic hockey. Count on it.

Some time after the preliminary game, Danny had a confession. He admitted to me that he cheered internally when Canadian Dany Heatley of our Sharks scored a goal against the U.S. team. Even for him, born and raised American, his loyalties were divided as well.

Now that the tournament is over, the NHL season has resumed, and our house is no longer divided. From this day forward, we all proudly wear the black and teal of the Sharks.

Until 2014, that is.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Heartwarming 911 Call

This is the best 911 call you will ever hear, from a very brave little girl.

I admit that it almost brought tears to my eyes when she comforted her Dad while calling for help.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Shameful Day in EMS

"FDNY EMTs Allegedly Ignore Pregnant Woman in Distress".

This was the headline of the article that arrived in my email box today, from a fellow Emergency Response Team member. I had to read the headline twice, to be sure. A pair of EMTs, on a break from their shift and at a bagel shop, allegedly ignored a pregnant woman who had gone into seizures, and then walked away from the scene without rendering aid.

How could this happen ?

Most people in the EMS industry are in it because they enjoy the work and want to help others. Even though the daily drudgery of papercuts and frequent flyers can wear on one's enthusiasm and cause burnout, all responders and volunteers - no matter how jaded - still understand the duty to act. That duty, spawned from the requirements of the job, and reinforced by one's inner desire to assist others in need, was completely absent from this pair, on this fateful day where a pregnant woman and her unborn child met an untimely death.

Did the EMTs' negligence and refusal to assist contribute to the passing of the patient and her baby ? The investigation, I am certain, will bring that to light. Either way, I am shocked and saddened to learn of the EMTs' blatant disregard for the woman's degenerating condition.

It is a sad and shameful day in EMS, when a responder's coffee and bagel trump the health and well-being of a person in genuine need of assistance.

I hope the prosecutor throws the book at these two. They are a disgrace to the EMS community.

FDNY EMTs Allegedly Ignore Pregnant Woman in Distress]
[FDNY EMT in Woman's Death Asked Dispatcher to Hide Name]

Friday, February 12, 2010

This guy is a real charmer.

"Love stinks! Minn. farmer creates manure valentine"

[Link: Article]

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

It's About Time

It just amazes me how one study, done on a sample size of a mere 12 children, and conducted so irresponsibly, could cause such mass hysteria. It just blows my mind how viral this ridiculous so-called study became. The recent retraction is 11.5 years too late.

I am hoping that now, the public would not rely on their critical medical information from sources as a former Playboy model with no scientific background, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

"The medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday retracted a controversial 1998 paper that linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism.

"The study subsequently had been discredited, and last week, the lead author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was found to have acted unethically in conducting the research."

[Link: Article]

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Story of My Morning

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