Saturday, January 02, 2016

It's just a game, people

There's a wave of sadness that's sweeping across Canada this afternoon. Our national junior men's team was eliminated by Finland at the World Junior Hockey Championship following a 6-5 loss in the quarter-final game.

It's the first time since 1998 that Canada has failed to make the semi-finals, and by virtue of the outcry on social media from coast to coast to coast, you'd think a national depression is about to set in.

So, yes, it's upsetting that we didn't win. Hockey may not be our national sport - that would be lacrosse - but it is seemingly our birthright, the one game that seamlessly ties us all together. It's a cultural touchstone, a rite of urban, suburban and rural passage, and a common language that reinforces our Canadian identity in ways so fundamental that mere words can't even come close to explaining it.

But at the same time - and this is what's probably going to get me egged in the grocery store parking lot this week - it's just a game. And when it's over, there always has to be a loser to go along with the winner. We don't always bring home the big prize - indeed there's no law, written or unwritten, that dictates that the championship is ours to begin with - and whether we do or don't shouldn't ultimately devalue the joy we take from the experience. Exhibit A for not needing to win: The Toronto Maple Leafs. Thank you.

So over the next few days, as the teen-something players begin their sad journeys home, consider that hockey remains a core foundation of Canadian values, and a single loss or victory won't change that. Also consider that we weren't driven from our homeland by religious zealots, didn't cross an angry sea in a leaky boat, weren't forced to line up for food hampers in the biting cold, woke up healthy, well-fed and literate enough to read, understand and appreciate this blog entry.

Count your lucky stars that our nation's junior team losing a hockey game is the worst thing that happened in your life today.


Lorraine T (lmkt1) said...

Thank you for articulating what I have thought of now for the longest time.
Our hyper focus with "games" and whether we are in the loss or win column, makes us blind to the what we all have to be very very grateful for.
Really, if you think about it, in Canada we are all winners.

Ken DV said...

So right what you write, Carmi. It is good to see the world catching up to Canada, it was a much closer tournament, the competition is better. Even Denmark who Canada beat up, were 44 seconds away from defeating Russia today.