Friday, February 19, 2010


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 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!


Therese said...

I too am ambivalent. I may have dropped a tear of pride or two into my bowl of Mini Wheats while watching Maelle Ricker win her gold. But, I scratch my head as well. I love the patriotism and sense of global community that the games inspire... but... ultimately it is a frivolous focus, no? Who was the fastest, who scored more points? Really? Is that the only time we get together on such an immense scale? There are SO many important domestic and global social issues that deserve attention and require passion and unity to resolve. But, seems that we'd rather compete to see who is best.
I get caught up in the hoopla, but yeah, I'm scratching my nog.

Koo and Poppet said...

Therese......exactly! Sounds like the only difference between our Olympic experience is that for me, it was a bowl of Frosted Flakes.

"Show 'em you're a tiger, show 'em what you can do..."

but I digress.

Thanks for commenting!

Shirley said...

Great post, Sarah! I am on the same thought lines with the Olympics..why is it that they always announce the medal count at the top of the news over here in the states. Seems like that's what it may be like in Canada. One of the worst things to come of this event is the Russian 2nd place men's figure skater who started bad-mouthing the whole thing..horrible..such horrible sportsmanship and it's all about the WIN. I tell my girls how poorly this man represents his sport of figure skating. I suppose it's always been this way, about the win. I just am so happy to see people like the Canadian ladies' figure skater do so well in times of such stress for her. Those are the Olympic moments I'll remember.

Anyhoo..I hope you are well! It's been too long since I've visited and I apologize..I'm taking a break to really work on the illustrations now (and a website just for it) it's been awesome, hard, and just a lot of work..

hope you are well!