Burrard Bridge, Vancouver 2006
Without a doubt, as of last Friday, the city of Vancouver is forever changed.
I've enjoyed watching these games more than I had anticipated, and if Sadie were a little older I think we would be making last minute plans to hop on the ferry and take in a piece of the action and the spirit. Some unforgettable moments have occurred there in the past week: Bilodeau, Ricker and tonight, Montgomery. But these moments, golden as they are, are simply that - GOLDen. I just heard on the news that the Canadian Olympic Committee's goal for these games was "to win the most medals". The news is, it ain't gonna happen. 'Cause OH GOD, we'll still be dwelling on our medal count this time next year. And anyway, is this where all the Olympic pride comes from? Has it always been about winning? Maybe the hard and fast answer to this is "DUH", or maybe all this humanity, all this BELIEF is a little misdirected. Is it just me or has 2010 media coverage of sportsmanship and triumph over adversity (whether there's a podium involved or not) been underwhelming at best? The 56th place finisher in the women's 15K pursuit is A PARTICIPANT IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES. Isn't that what matters? Kuddos to ALL the athletes.
I don't mean to be a poo-pooer. In fact I admit to feeling truly patriotic this past week and have even shed a tear or two on behalf of some of our athletes. But let me ask you this: next time you see a crowd of spectators or a mass of people in the streets of downtown Vancouver waving the flags of every country, cheering loudly, embracing each other, spontaneously bursting into song, imagine that instead of celebrating a glorified sporting event, those people were united by some other humanitarian cause....like oh, say, a CURE.
Still, I know sport is more than just a win or a loss. I get it. There's dedication, discipline, blood, sweat and tears, and all these things are deserving of admiration. But at the same time sport is a game, a race, a performance. And without forgetting the importance our society places on entertainment, SPORT can be just that - at least for the millions of spectators.
I think the spirit is wonderful, I really do. And I think it creates a genuine sense of togetherness, for which our world is always better off. I just have a hard time watching someone throw a rock in a curling match and connecting that victory with the unabashed pride and pandemonium going on in the country and all over the world.
Valid? Trite? Cynical?
But who am I to say? These are simply the meandering thoughts of a poppet-making former figure skater who used to have a far-fetched Olympic dream of her own.
What say you? Do you have maple leaves [stars and stripes, union jacks, other national emblem] in your eyes or are you scratching your head too? Oh, what the hell, GO CANADA!