No, it’s not just a game. As I hinted at a few minutes ago in my tweet, international hockey is about ‘how WE do things’ vs. ‘how YOU do things.’ That is, it’s more than an athletic bout. It’s a clash of ideologies.
That’s why Canadians are never happy with anything less than gold. We believe we live in the greatest country on Earth, and with hockey as our game, we better damn well win. Otherwise, something feels terribly wrong on the home front.
Okay, maybe I’m overdramatizing a bit. And recent stats show that hockey is becoming less important as our national game. Canada is changing. But for old-timers like myself who as kids went to the local outdoor rink on cold, dark weeknights to skate and shoot a puck, hockey is IT for us. It’s in our blood. No other way to slice it.
So when the pesky Czechs beat us in the first game of this 2023 series, I was pissed. Not again, I thought. It must be Trudeau’s fault!
Ha ha. Just kidding.
But the loss did remind me a prototype 1972 series where Canada had a surprisingly hard time with the Russian Soviets. We came back to win that series with a stunning goal by Paul Henderson. But many of us were wondering right up ’til that last-minute victory… What the heck?
The Russians and the Czechs play a similar game, which is not surprising considering their history. To me, they look like well-oiled robots programmed to kill. And they will bury your team if not stopped.
Canadian bravado and overconfidence is not enough. No, we have to pause, reflect, study the enemy, and CRACK THE ROBOT CODE.
Think of Battlestar Galactica and the Cylons. It’s sorta like that. If we do not use all of our wits and human freedom to overcome those well-disciplined athletes and their cunning playbook, we’re in deep trouble.
Luckily this is only a sports match, after all. I mean, nobody is actually killed like on a battlefield. But behind both real and vicarious battles lays the same fundamental truth.
The winner only wins if they’re the best in every regard.