Monday, February 22, 2010

Canada's real golden boys (and girls)

So we lost to the Americans; I guess it should not have been a surprise after the moral defeat against the Swiss. A hockey team with a combined salary of around 120 million dollars should be expected to win every game, right? After all we are the best hockey nation in the world, right? We have been the dominating everyone in the sport for as long as we can remember, right? Well, actually, it's not really the case. Don't get me wrong, we are really strong at the sport. On any given day we can field a team that brings fear to opponents' eyes, but dominating we are not. We must remember that the gold medal we won in Salt Lake City was our first in 50 years. That's right 50 years! Forget about the old controversy about professional VS amateur players: if we were that dominant a nation in hockey, we should have been able to win at least a few of those gold medals.

Am I disappointed with the results of lat night's game with the US? Damn right I am, I thought the close call with Switzerland would have been enough to show the boys that this was serious and that self-sacrifice would be required. Nifty moves, picture perfect goals and avoiding corners would not provide a sure path to the Gold. But no, we had to loose to the US of A. Loosing a hockey game to the Americans is like loosing an arm wrestling match against your younger sister: it shouldn't happen.

But, as made evident last night, we did loose; so today I am looking for a plan B. If we, as a nation, feel the need to root for a sure winner, we should concentrate on curling. Our worst result ever in the sport at the Olympics was silver on the men's side and bronze on the women's side. If we look at the World Championships well, Canada's men have won 31 of 50 (with medals in a total of 45) and Canada's women have won 15 of 31 (with medals in a total of 26). That is as close to dominance as you can get, especially in a sport that is almost as widely played as hockey – there are 46 nations in the World Curling Federation and 68 in the International Ice Hockey Federation – and is becoming more evenly competed than hockey – China won the women World Championship in 2009.  

So I suggest we drop “hockey sticks, pucks, slap shots, goalies and top shelf” from our vocabulary and start taking “brush, stone, hack, take out, draw, in turn, out turn and button” like true patriotic Canadians.  All we need is to find a way to bring some fighting into curling and life would be grand!

Go Cheryl!  Go Kevin!

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