Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Canadian Arrogance in Hockey
I think all my readers know what a proud Canadian I am.
I have written about both at length for many years. But what I am about to write may be offensive to some if they are not objective.
Hockey is the one sport that unites us together. All the other sports are good sports in their own rite, but hockey happens to give us our unique history, and sets up apart from all the other countries. Although we participate in both summer and winter Olympics, and we probably get more medals in the summer games, I would say that the Winter Olympics are our passion as a nation.
Hockey for Canadians is more than a game. -It's a way of life. No matter how expensive the sport continues to get, the enrollment still continues to climb through the years. Parents sacrifice to get their kid to practices, games, tournaments for as long as their kid will continue to play.
But it is also this passion that we have that has spawned an arrogance that has become Hockey Canada.
It used to be a running joke that every Canadian hockey father thought his son was a little Wayne Gretzky. He had no objectivity that his kid just really didn't have the talent, or ability to satisfy his father's ego by going farther in hockey than he could. You would see all these "Hockey Dads/Moms" complain that their kid was getting the short end of the stick because the coach was playing favourites, rather than facing the fact that their kid just sucked.
Well, I'm tired of that attitude. It's insulting to watch, and it makes us look like a bunch of idiots. And this is compounded when we are watching our favourite hockey teams, and National hockey teams play.
Because I am a hockey fan, I appreciate the flow of the game. Obviously, I would like to see Canada win at everything, but I also want to see us DESERVE to win. There is nothing worse than not deserving to win, and being outplayed and still winning and THEN being arrogant about it.
And the Junior game last night was a PERFECT example of that.
Because we were playing the States, it was a big game. That game wouldn't have been as big if we had played Sweden in the finals again. Russia or the States creates a different atmosphere in our arenas whenever we play them in international hockey.
Every year, our Juniors are expected to win Gold. And quite honestly, they should be the favourite. We have the most talented youth en masse at that age in the world, Barr none. Not even Russia really matches up to us anymore. Sweden and the States have built great programs, but they still lack the en mass population that Canada produces every year. We also have the infrastructure and training facilities in Canada to create this talent year after year, and we have a solid history to prove it.
But that doesn't mean that we deserve to win unless we EARN it.
Greatness requires talent, hard work, and preparation. Not just one of the 3. As we all know, talent alone cannot win. In fact, it bothers me when it does. Last night, we were the most talented, we were well prepared, but we did not work hard. And thus, we did not deserve to win that game.
In fact, had we won that game, we would've just perpetuated the arrogance that we project following our boys in their quest to be the best in the world.
But with wins like 16-0 over a hapless Latvian team, 6-0 and 8-2 vs. Slovakia and Switzerland, it seems that we have lost the art of being confident, and not being arrogant. There is no good reason to beat a country 16-0, and to tell you the truth, it makes me sick that my Canada would act in such a way.
Beating the States in overtime on New Years Eve gave us an indication of a strong US team that deserved to be taken seriously, but again, we were arrogant in thinking that just because we are the deepest, and most talented team that we would win.
While I was watching the game last night, I kept saying that we did not deserve to win that game. Anytime you give up 5, let alone, 6 goals in a game, you deserve to LOSE that game. We played a HORRIBLE defensive game and the Americans simply outplayed and outworked us. The Americans deserved to win that game, and it doesn't even pain me to say it.
But being objective is what we should be as Canadians, and not arrogant. If you can't see that we lost because we weren't the better team last night, stop feeling your Canadian pride for a second, and realize that we didn't deserve it. -Stop being that oblivious hockey parent, and thinking that your kid is being hard done by because the coach isn't playing him. If your kid is truly great, he/she will get their ice time. Period. But it has to be earned. We become arrogant when it is expected and not earned.
And that's what we have come to expect in watching our National Teams.
With the Olympics coming up, I hope we take a lesson from this. I hope our Dream Team of Men’s hockey brings home the Gold because they are the best team in the world in February, AND because they are the hardest working, and most prepared team.
Because we all know that talent alone, without hard work is wasted...