Sunday, February 28, 2010

Canadian women's hockey celebration: real joy

To-day's post is a little off my regular beat. It's about a hockey team that won an Olympic gold medal and then had a bunch of moralistic morons try to steal their moment of glory. Then again, maybe I'm not so far off topic. I've been writing about puritanical simpletons for almost two years now.
And, some clown from the Vancouver health department did publicly scold members of Canada's women's hockey team for smoking.

At any rate, it's a story on which I had to comment. I'm Canadian, eh.

I missed the women's gold medal hockey game on Thursday night. I had to chair a board of directors meeting and by the time I got home it was all over. Unfortunate, I thought, but I'd pick up the highlights on the news and read about the game in the morning papers.

Unfortunately, there was more about the post game celebration in the papers than there was about the girls on-ice achievement. Imagine. Hockey players drinking beer and smoking cigars? Horrors. Some idiots actually referred to it as a “scandal.”

It was a long hard grind for the young ladies on Canada's women's hockey team. But, they withstood the pressure and capped off an excellent overall performance by defeating the US women's team 2 to 0 to win Olympic gold. And, apparently, they did what the vast majority of people do under such circumstances . . . they celebrated.

They opened a bottle or two of champagne, drank a few beers and some of them lit up one or another tobacco products, mostly cigars. (I hope they were decent Cubans.) They clowned around and posed for goofy photographs. And, they smiled. They smiled a lot. Because they were happy. Because they'd just won Olympic gold. Because they were justifiably proud of their accomplishment.

But, that got some people's knickers in a knot. Said one commenter on a news article suggesting the girls be banned from future competition, “Breaking out alcohol and cigars sends a bad message to young kids who are highly influenced. Booze and tobacco are bad for your body. All you beer-guzzling Canadians who think it's okay, you're wrong.” Huh?

Beer-guzzling Canadians? Well, OK. But we're also polite, courteous and helpful to strangers.

Some unsolicited advice for this prude and the other puritans who are so highly critical of the these young women; grab a cold one and chill. Preferably a Canadian brew. We make good beer up here in the Great White North.
Hell, if the the girls hadn't popped a cork and swilled a few beer, I'd have been demanding they provide proof of citizenship. They're Canadian, after all!

A lot of the news accounts made it seem as if the girls had been falling down drunk and engaging in some kind of public debauchery. But, just a quick look at the photographs should convince anyone with an unjaundiced eye that wasn't the case. They were girls, doing what girls often do. They were having a little innocent fun. And, they'd earned it.

The girls . . . (And, for the record, that term is not meant in a derogatory or chauvinistic manner. I'm retired and collecting Old Age Security. To me, anyone under 45 is still a kid.)

At any rate, the girls had opened the bubbly in the dressing room. Some of them had digital cameras and they wanted to take some pictures. They wanted a record of the occasion; to take home some tangible memories in addition to their gold medals. And, who in their right mind can criticize them for that? (Don't bother to answer that; the question was rhetorical.)

So, after the fans had left the arena, some of them took themselves, their cameras and some bubbly to centre ice. And, they held one of the most spontaneous, most honest victory celebrations in recent memory. And, they took pictures. Pictures which captured the exuberance of the moment. Pictures they'll look at in years to come and remember the camaraderie; the glory. Pictures they'll be able to show their children and grandchildren with justifiable pride.

Unfortunately, although the fans had left the building, the press had not. And, they also took pictures. And, if there's anyone who should feel shame in this situation, it's the press who took the photos and built a mountain from a molehill. The photos of the Canadian players gleefully displaying their gold medals, posing with cans of beer, champagne and cigars, posing atop a Zamboni, etc, apparently struck some as inappropriate.

Just how did these priggish puritans expect them to celebrate the thrill of a lifetime; hold a temperance meeting, maybe?

Take a close look at the photos. That bottle of champagne (with the Canadian logo) appears to remain unopened; passed around like a prop at a photo shoot. Many of the cigars appear to be unlit. Look at the cameras in the hands of the girls as they joyfully snapped pictures of their friends and teammates. Look at those beautiful, smiling young faces.

Clearly, this was not some public display of drunken debauchery, even if some did consume a brew or two or take a sip of the bubbly. It was meant as a private moment, despite its public setting.

But now, the International Olympic Committee is “looking into the incident.” Canadian hockey officials have issued an apology. An unwarranted apology, in my opinion, because the girls did nothing wrong. And, some priggish individuals want to rain on their parade; to deny them their moment in the sun.

Hopefully, the young women on Canada's Olympic hockey team won't let their self-righteous critics bring them down.

I'm pretty confident the vast majority of Canadians will shower these talented young ladies with all the accolades they deserve. They did their country proud, both on and off the ice.


Leg-iron said...

The IOC show a spectacular display of Olympic standard point-missing here.

They smoke. They drink. They won the gold medal. Even though they smoke and drink, they won the gold medal.

Or perhaps because...

Oh, they won't like that thought.

bannedsmoker said...

EXCELLENT point Leg-iron!

They smoke and drink? Should they not all have died from 46th hand smoke exposure?

Yet they won the olympic GOLD medal instead...

Would it have been such a big deal if they had beat say, Finland, or Sweden, or any other team?

I somehow doubt it.

In all fairness to the Americans though. From comments and opinions I have read, most of them are tipping their hats to the winners and telling these sanctimonious moralists where to shove it.

Keep up the good work Old Rambler. I always enjoy reading your blog.