Travel TopOfBlogs Past and future wanderings of a travel bug . . .: I'm not much of a sports fan but . . .

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm not much of a sports fan but . . .

I'll be the first to admit I am not much of a sports fan. And I'd be willing to bet that there are many more Canadians just like me that are finding themselves caught up in the Olympic Machine. As a young country and a premiere travel destination for those who love winter sports Canada has a lot to prove. The host country for this Olympic games wants to "Own the Podium" by winning more medals than any other country at their own games. In the first ten days of competition we have yet to do so but can now boast winning Olympic gold on home soil and a total of eight medals that are mostly silver and gold. The program to support our athletes has been called un-Canadian by detractors but it's aim to allow our athletes to be able to do their very best by supporting their efforts. While as a nation we are apologetic and self-effacing (and often known best for what we are not, that is to say American) we are also a country of pioneers whose initial race was for the ultimate prize--survival. The stakes may no longer be as high but to win is an integral part of the indomitable Canadian spirit.

Our athletes, like everyone else want to win. And when our hopes are pinned on them they carry the heavy burden gracefully. And perhaps we are becoming more like our cousins to the south--when they win there is certainly more flag waving than most of us have ever seen (and even a little exuberant jumping up and down) but when they lose, many are doing so tearfully and giving apologies to a country they feel they have let down. To all our athletes, if you have represented Canada fairly and with good sportsmanship and given it your all, guess what? We love you! Whether you come in first or last it does not matter because you are still our best and brightest when it comes to your sport. No apology is required. I am only one person and I was not born an athlete but I believe in YOU.

Like I said before I am not much of a sports fan. Most of the time my attention would diverted to books, art, or anything else. But the Olympics make everything different. They allow us to become caught up in sports we barely understand and dreams we never before shared. And I know I am not alone in this. Canadians around the country and around the world are being unified through these games. And we are pulling together to stand behind our athletes. I know the national pride in Vancouver is electric right now. I hear tell though the news of people breaking into spontaneous renditions of O Canada, and playing hockey in the streets and see everyone wearing our national colours on TV. The streets are full of my proud countrymen (and women). I wish I were there but since I can't be I will cheer on our athletes from afar and keep myself and those around me posted through the Olympic coverage on TV and the internet. Tonight our team plays Canada's game. And tonight I will be watching! And hoping, and wishing and dreaming that we might just own the podium! Go Canada!

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