Canada On the World Stage: Enjoy These Olympics

2010_winter_olympics_logosvgpnI am just as excited as any Canadian over the first gold medal won by a Canadian on our own soil.   I don’t even know what moguls are.  Being raised in southwestern Ontario are idea of a ski hill is a 401 overpass.  Alexandre Bilodeau winning the gold medal in the moguls was fun for everybody.

Of course everybody is excited in Canada about our Olympics.  Or at least I should say most of us are.  I swell up with pride when I see Canadian athletes marching into an Olympic stadium.  I have watched that since I was a child in 1968 and I never grow tired of it.  For whatever reason my soul fills with pride when I see that.  I came about, as close to being an Olympic athlete as I am flying to the moon.  Still, when I see Canada on the world stage like at the Olympics it gets me right in the heart.  I love this country.

Of course the question is why.  Usually I leave those great questions until Canada Day but with our country currently focused on Vancouver and their media focused on every nuance of Canadian athletes psyche, maybe it’s time to measure that again.

It is always somewhat of a difficult realization when you pass some of your childhood dreams and settle into middle age.  For instance, I enjoyed sports immensely all my life, but I could never perform at a level, which was very good.  Needless to say, I tried my hardest and I must admit maybe at 51, I will never make the NBA.  However, up until I was about 45, I shot the basketball like never before.  The only problem was it never went in, which puts me back into the same place where I was when I was 18.

So now I am a professional farmer, writer and speaker.  That pays the bills and I must admit that I do enjoy it.  However, if I was to have my druthers, just for one day I would like to be an Olympic athlete.  Could you imagine what it must be like to be at the top of your game on the world stage competing against the very best and actually having a chance to win?  That’s how elite these athletes really are.  When you watch the Olympics those medalists are fantastic athletes but surely some of their success boils down to being at the right place at the right time.  That makes their space as Olympic athletes, just that much more special.

In my younger days I looked at the Winter Olympics for the hockey and the skiing and maybe the speed skating.  However, as I’ve grown older I’ve gotten a real appreciation for the true athletic test of figure skating.  For these individuals to perform those athletic jumps on skates with perfect choreography to music is truly fantastic.  To lose it all from a blade that might come down a quarter inch out causing a fall only makes their athletic achievement of figure skating that much more challenging. It is amazing what they can do on skates.

Now some of you might think that there is certain elegance to a farmer running down a basketball court at full speed.  LOL.  I guess I could make the excuse that my generation lost out on the Olympics because of Canada’s boycott of the 1980 Moscow games.  That is one Olympic dream that grew sour.

Critics of the Olympics will say that all this money could be spent on so many other worthy things.  Of course they are very right.  Our global society never seems to get it right, but blaming it all on the Olympics either is a bit of an end game.  For British Columbia and Canada and the exposure that the Olympics gives us on the world stage does have an economic benefit and I would argue may create jobs long into the years to come.  In our current recessionary times, maybe it’s a psychological tonic we need to do better in 2010.

In my lifetime we have had the Canadian Olympics in Montréal, Calgary and Vancouver.  I have always wondered why Canada’s biggest city Toronto and Canada’s biggest province Ontario can’t seem to get it done.  Is it a vision thing; are there too many small thinkers in this land?  I dunno.  I think a certain point in the future Ontario should think about hosting an Olympics.

When the Vancouver Olympics close, I will be just as sad as everybody else.  The world stage leaves Canada once again.  Who knows?  Maybe I will live long enough to see it here once more.  Just saying that though, is a bit telling.  Enjoy the Olympic moments, in a way; they are like a flash in the pan.