Where were you when Paul Henderson scored for Canada
By Brendan K., Brebeuf College High School, Toronto, ON
If there's a goal that everyone remembers, it was back in old '72".
-The Tragically Hip
Historical moments in time are often remembered through reflecting upon the situation and circumstances that surrounded us in the moment. It is the magnitude of the event that causes us to remember even the most miniscule of details. Significant events in history are better remembered when we reflect upon where we were when they happened. Kennedy's assassination, man's first walk on the moon, and more recently, September 11th, are all similar examples of, "Where were you when…" moments. Paul Henderson's goal to defeat the Soviets remains today as one of the most cherished moments in Canadian history. Now, we are thirty years later, but the effect of the Series on those who felt it, seems just as powerful.
When Paul Henderson scored the infamous goal for Canada on September 28, 1972, in game 8 of the Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union, I was far from even being a thought in my parent's mind. While no student, walking our halls, was able to experience the moment first hand, many of Brebeuf's teachers remember it fondly, and vividly. I spoke to a few teachers about what they remember of the Summit Series, and Paul Henderson's goal. Immediately upon the subject's mention I can see that they can easily jump back into the moment, as if it's neatly filed away and can be perfectly accessed at any time. Amazingly, their memory of the moment seems completely untouched and untainted by the passage of over thirty years.
"I can remember the moment exactly." Mr. Brohman begins without any hesitation, "I was in grade 2, and we were all sitting, and watching the game together," He tells the story with enthusiasm and great detail, describing everything about the setting as the goal was scored. "There was a bookshelf against one of the walls, and when Paul Henderson scored, I jumped up, grabbed my friend, James Gordon, and threw him into the bookshelf. He knocked it down, and then all the boys piled on top. It was a great time."
Mr. Davis, on the other hand, was teaching a grade 2 class. Still, he remembered the moment just as enthusiastically, "I was teaching at St. Boniface elementary school, and we had three classes all in one room watching the game. Everyone was fixated on the TV. It was really quiet. No one was talking." His voice lowers, adding emphasis, "Then, when Henderson put the puck in, everybody exploded!"
The Summit Series was more than just a sporting event, that's why its allure and popularity have endured for 30 years. The series had such intensity, fueled further by politics and patriotism that has never been matched. It was a moment of collective communal joy for Canadians, from Vancouver to St. John's. With this month's release of the complete 8 game series on DVD, even those born after 1972 are being given the opportunity to see, and feel arguably the greatest moment in our country's sporting history. Hopefully, we can pass it on to future generations with as much enthusiasm as the likes of Mr. Brohman, Mr. Davis, and all other Canadians that experienced the moment first hand.
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