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Sochi Olympics - What A Rush

Sunday, February 23, 2014   by: Mac Headrick

What a great Olympic long weekend this has been. It began Thursday afternoon and continued through this morning. Consider today’s column a celebration of being Canadian. 

As a younger man I enjoyed and followed hockey. Unfortunately two events occurred that greatly diminished my love for Canada’s national game. The NHL playoffs now end in June. By this time I’m a month into camping and rarely watch the final rounds of the playoffs. Second, and more significantly, Harold Ballard became majority owner of my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs in 1972. Need I say more. 

The performance of the Canadian’s women’s hockey team has helped bring back my passion for the game. I actually missed the last two periods of the live broadcast due to a meeting commitment. I was able to keep tabs on the game due to a conveniently located television down the hall. With just four minutes left in the game and down two goals I assumed the game was over. Well you know the story… greatest comeback in Olympic hockey history.

 Still on a high from the women’s hockey gold performance I prepared for the men’s curling finals on Friday. I have found as I age I have difficulties multitasking. For example watching the Olympics and taking care of a medical appointment. This was the plan. Friday morning, 7.30 a.m. chiropractor appointment. Once completed by eight o’clock, home for a quick breakfast and then on to watching the Sault boys bring home the gold. Arrived at my appointment on time, no chiropractor. He got to work at 7:45 a.m. By this point in my life when there is a mix up in an appointment I know it is usually (make that always) my fault. No problem I figured the correct time must be 8 a.m. As I walked into the office I was informed that the actual time scheduled for me was 5 p.m. I was 9.5 hours early. Well I was fitted in and got home in time to cheer on the Brad Jacobs rink. 

In men’s hockey Canada defeated the United States 1-0 to advance to the gold medal game. One of the greatest comments I heard came from a Canadian fan on a news broadcast. He stated that Canada is getting tired of beating the Americans in both woman’s and men’s hockey. Some other country should take over this task. Of course as I write this column I just finished watching Canada defeat Sweden 3-0. 

The Great Britain men’s curling coach apparently was a little upset at the Brad Jacobs team demeanor. As much as I could figure out the Canadian team displays some passion when playing. This is exactly why I support the Canadian team. I know little about curling. The Sochi Olympics has educated me somewhat about the game. Men’s curling in the past was all about older guys who enjoyed beer and threw curling rocks. Now we have athletes who worked out and are passionate about their sport. By the way isn’t Great Britain the country that their soccer fans have in the past been banned from some European countries? 

I know the Olympic ice dancing is popular. I really do not watch much of it. Sure I can appreciate the skill and degree of difficulty required to succeed in these events. The problem I have is that unlike other Olympic competition, winning and losing are based on subjective marks. There appears to always be some chatter about fixed results. Perhaps this is unwarranted but it irritates me. 

I found the “extreme’ sports in snow boarding and free style skiing fascinating. I could see these types of sports being very popular with young people. There is one event in the winter Olympics I would like to experience, that being the four man bobsled event. However I would need a slight variation on the established rules. In ‘senior” bobsledding the four participants would start off sitting on the sled. Younger guys would then give them the initial push. 

I also watched and followed several down hill events and speed skating but my preference was the curling and hockey. Hockey has always been my number one event. Of course since the Brad Jacobs team was representing Canadian men’s curling, well that supplanted the hockey. 

I’m wondering how Sault Ste Marie plans to honour our gold medal Olympians. This is a once in a life time experience to have Olympic gold medalists from our city. I have heard several ideas from recognition on signage entering Sault Ste Marie; renaming a street; a building; a parade and so on. 

As I see it the 2014 Sochi Olympics have taken the number one spot in my all-time favourite Olympics. What a proud moment for our city. 

Congratulations to the Brad Jacobs team.

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soowat 2/23/2014 3:33:57 PM Report

For obvious reasons I really cared about curling. Because I'm Canadian and I am required to I care about hockey I do. Although, if one is trying to acquire new fans, the sleepers involving Canada were a failure in that regard.

I'm glad we won hockey gold but for anyone other than the hockey purist this was BORING
Oldie Goldie 2/23/2014 6:59:34 PM Report

soowat--In my opinion there was nothing boring about any part of the recent Olympics. Congrats to Russia---they did it right and put on a great show.
Canna D. Yenn 2/24/2014 1:23:55 PM Report

Great games, indeed, Mac, dampened only by the fact that some team/player had to lose.... which brings to mind an expression that my Dad had when the camera panned down the bench of the losing team, then down the bench of the winning team, then the wild antics of the Canadian supporters in the stands and in bars.... "Look at all the people that the (losing team) made happy. Good for them!"

I am so glad I chose curling as my preferred sport, where lady and gentlemanly play is the order of the day, and games are won and lost on the shots made or missed and not because of some call by a ref, or a team of judges, that define so many of the other sporting outcomes.

Thanks. Mac.
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