Gold Addiction

The Canadian junior team “lost”. No, we didn’t win a silver medal; we “lost” the gold. At its core, this represents an unhealthy mindset about things athletic; things competitive, and things Canadian.

Sports “guys” are tossing around words and phrases like “collapse”, “choke” and “making amends” (next year). It’s all abject nonsense that misses the point and the reality of what sports is about – uncertainty of outcome.

Canadians are used to this “our game” mindset about hockey that borders on a sense of entitlement to all the top prizes (except the Stanley Cup, of course). Any time we end up with less than gold is some kind of national disaster. Grow up.

Sports lore is full of comebacks, improbable victories and exceptional performances under extraordinary odds. It’s also full of flukes, bad bounces and Bill Buckner. That’s what makes it “sports”. If it were otherwise, bookies would be out of work.

Give the Russian team their due: They fought back, against considerable odds, in a hostile building and snatched victory. That was a sporting accomplishment worth applauding. To suggest the Canadian team simply “folded” is not just wrong, but unsportsmanlike.

The kids playing for Canada (and they are just kids) played their hearts out. We should be recognizing them for their effort, team commitment and heart. Pretty soon, many of them will be spoiled and self-centered pros, but yesterday, they were kids putting it on the line for their country. They don’t deserve all this cheap talk.

Canada has a generally well-deserved reputation for politeness and restraint, except when it comes to this sport. Well, we might have “given” the game to the world, but we don’t own it any more than Scotland owns golf. Get over it and get on with it. The only thing that keeps these tournaments exciting is not being certain of how they’ll turn out. If Canada was in line for their 10th consecutive gold yesterday, I doubt anyone would have been watching.

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