Wednesday, January 19, 2011
When the flag waving stopped
One of the items we missed out on during our sabbatical from blogging was the Gold medal game at the world Junior championships.
Perhaps you remember it, the one where the young Canadian squad saw its lead disappear as the Russian juniors launched a come back for the ages.
It was as emotional a game as one could hope for, though considering the Canadian side ended up on the losing side of the score it provided for more than enough navel gazing to last for a long, long time.
The commentary ranged from epic collapse, to meltdown and any other bombastic description of loss one could hope to find in a thesaurus, once again showing that sometimes in Canada the passion for the game tends to overtake reason.
In the end, the Russians proved to be the better squad on the night, they didn't wilt when Canada took an early lead and for the most part battled back and grabbed the momentum.
That happens in hockey sometimes, though you wouldn't know that judging by some of the comments that followed that loss.
While it may be national heresy to suggest it, but perhaps the loss was good for hockey, considering the pontifical airs we seem to have taken with the junior tournament over the years.
While TSN has built the annual gathering into a marketing dream for their network, sometimes their unbridled passion for "our" team, overtakes the proper perspective that the game deserves. In particular the boosterism that they provided leading up to and during the final game wasn't the best days of balanced programming.
One moment that stood out for me in that final game was when TSN zoomed in on the championship hats that teams don upon the completion of these tournaments. With Canada in the lead at the moment of the close up, the inference was that the lads were but an hour or so away from donning the chapeau's, then after what seemed like an uncomfortable second or two, a shift to the Russian cap... just in case.
Still, the commentary in the first two periods seemed to push the concept of continued Canadian domination of the tournament, alas there are three periods to a game (and a broadcast)
Just a note for the team at TSN, but it seems that some of the other countries can play the game too, sometimes to the dismay of the national expectation.
There was much written in the aftermath of that loss, some of it quite good, some of it rather brutal, more than a few heaping much blame and finger pointing on the shoulders of kids, many of whom haven't even had their 18th birthday yet.
It suggests that sometimes we forget that it's sporting event and not some kind of proxy for RISK on a global basis.
While we could rattle off the good and the bad of the articles we found, we figure maybe we'll just turn to an old reliable scribe, Roy MacGregor, who always it seems finds the right tone in his observations, offering lessons for many of those that put the word processors and microphones into motion following the gold medal presentations.
He had two columns in the aftermath of that Gold Medal game, check them out here and here , they put things into a nice perspective, saving us countless millions of dollars in potential Royal Commissions into the state of hockey today.
The game is fine, it would seem that it's some of the observers that need a little work