What an exhilerating experience watching the Olympic hockey game a few days ago!! The first game was China vs South Africa. The energy among the crowd was contagious! Within the first 5-10 minutes, South Africa scored a goal, but the Chinese team soon caught up. The game was absolutely riveting! China was ahead 3-1 but in the last 10 minutes, South Africa scored 2 goals to equalize! Just in the last 30 seconds of overtime, China scored in a penalty corner to win. The crowd erupted! It truly was an unforgettable moment being a witness to the pride and extreme joy of everyone in the stadium! (I don’t usually use so many exclamation points – but a blog of this nature necessitates them)!
During the game, there was lots of sporadic cheering. One of the volunteers among the spectators would lead the crowd shouting “ZHONG GUO DUI!!” (Team China!!) and the crowd would all yell “JIA YOU!!” (Go for it)!! In my enthusiasm, at one point I also mustered some courage and tried to rally the group to cheer and shouted, “Zhong guo dui!!” but those around me were more amused that a foreigner was cheering for China and in Chinese! I got a few smiles and chuckles instead! 🙂
The field hockey match brought many wonderful memories of my time playing field hockey in elementary and high school in Kenya. It made me feel very nostalgic for it as it was one of the highlights of growing up there. It brought memories of all the competative games we played and of my hockey coach who was on the Kenyan Olympic team at that time! If I had had the chance I would have jumped straight onto the Olympic field, grabbed a hockey stick and started to play!
For all you hockey lovers out there, here are some photos of the game (with my new camera) and some of the spectators (I especially love the photo of the gentleman in front of us who so creatively used a paperbag as a hat)!