Last night I experienced the bittersweet feeling of winning and losing at the same game.
My wife, Lily, and I have a weekly standing date of attending the OHL Kingston Frontenacs’ home games.
Friday, as usual, we shared some popcorn and watched the action on the ice.
But it was a little different because, while our boys were playing in Kingston, the Canadian Junior hockey team was playing in Buffalo for a gold medal in the annual World Juniors tournament.
We got to see some great hockey in front of us, but in the back of my mind I was wondering how our national team was doing.
Part way through the game it was announced over the PA system that Canada was up 1-0.
That was some comfort, but the battle on the ice in front of us was intense.
Our boys were really playing well and dominating in many respects, but it was just a one goal game at the end of the first period.
In the second period, our guys were flying and scored two goals to put our team ahead 3-1 by the end of the period.
Back in the gold medal game, there was no more news … but when your team is ahead, no news is also good news.
Team Sweden was considered the team to beat. They had run the table in the regular round; in fact, they hadn’t lost in the regular round in 11 years.
Team Canada had one shootout loss to the United States in a snowy, outdoor affair that left all the Canadian fans chilled.
Now we were battling for the gold medal and we were ahead in the scoring.
Lily and I took a stroll around the arena at the end of the second period of the Frontenacs’ game. There was a calm, happy, “we have this game in the bag” kind of feeling in the air.
There was no hint of any trouble ahead until the start of the third period. The Fronts seemed a little flat – no energy, not skating well … and in the span of about five minutes, the Spitfires scored three goals and were up 4-3.
It happened so quickly; it was a shocker.
The rest of the period our boys threw a lot of rubber towards the Windsor net, but we couldn’t buy a goal and lost the match.
Just a five minute let down was all it took.
After the bitter loss we witnessed on ice, the arena switched to the World Junior game on the big screen.
We watched until the end of the second period where, with five minutes left, Sweden scored to tie it up.
All I could think was, “not another let down!”
Since I’m the Fronts’ team chaplain, we then left the stands to go chat with our boys. By the time we were done, there was just ten minutes left in the gold medal game so we headed back into the stands to watch.
With just under two minutes to play, Team Canada scored.
There was a celebration, not on the ice but on the big screen. We pocketed an empty-netter to seal the deal, and Canada won the gold medal.
At the same arena we watched our hometown team lose and then our Canadian team win gold. It was truly a bittersweet night. But it ended with the sweet!
Here’s the thing: There is a verse in the Bible that says you can win the whole world but forfeit your soul. That’s life’s bittersweet reality. Make sure your soul is secure so that in the end, when life is all over, you experience the sweet of Heaven.
Question: What would be bittersweet for you? Leave your comments below.