Monday, March 01, 2010

One Stupid Interview of Ryan Miller

In times gone by, the Olympics have been tainted by stressed or broken political alliances somewhere in the world. It has always been ‘sometimes the case’ that one country or another cannot bring itself to compete in the Olympic Games. But during most years, most countries agree to put aside their differences and compete under a common set of rules laid down by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Once upon a time, each country was responsible for its own Olympic programs. Countries strong in a particular discipline would invariably dominate in their specialty at the games. These days, borders are blurred when it comes to the Olympic Games. One Japanese competitor gave up her citizenship in order to train in Russia and then compete for Russia. A Canadian hockey player with dual citizenship competed for Germany.

Competitors do what they must in order to win a berth at the Olympics. They train where they must and wear the colors available to them on game day – the colors of the country that will embrace them.

Men’s hockey is strangely reversed. Men who have built professional alliances must now put those alliances aside in order to compete. Americans playing with Canadian teams and Canadians playing with American teams in the NHL put all of that away to play their best for their mother countries. They play their best, of that I have no doubt, but the rest? I know that they do not forget who their friends are when they are battling it out on the ice, all the while Canadian fans scream their support for Canadians or boo for the Americans. These men do not have differences to put away, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be for them to pretend to forget their bonds. As they shook hands and gave each other their manly hugs once the game was over, it was clear that nothing had been forgotten or put aside.

It is with this complexity in mind that I voice my disappointment in the CTV newscast at the end of the gold medal game. It is sickening to hear a question like, “so how does it feel to lose your family in a plane crash?” This kind of question is not as uncommon to hear as it ought to be and it is detestable. Yesterday a CTV reporter took Ryan Miller aside to ask him how he felt about the final goal. This question was inexcusable. How do we think he felt? It took nothing more than a glance at the American team to see their disappointment. Anyone who has ever played a team sport knows that every loss is a team loss. No matter whom they would like to blame or what circumstances might have been, the fact remains… the whole team lost.

What determined that win was not the dominance of one team over another or one country over another. The end score was simply a result of the day. The game could have just as easily turned the other way on any other day. The men from both teams are highly skilled professionals who provided us with an incomparable emotional ending to the Olympics. The emotions would not have run so high had the teams not been so nearly equally skilled. There as no ass kicking; there was no pounding. Canada won. Hurray. But, let’s not forget the sportsmanship that we are supposedly known for. And sportsmanship does not include kicking an opponent when he’s down. I for one am glad that Ryan Miller won most valuable player. CTV should not have singled him out to ask him such an insensitive and stupid question.

No comments: