Canadians Expected to Compete in Every Sport

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A couple of observations from this past weekend. Abbotsford, British Columbia’s Adam Hadwin won the Valspar Championship, his first victory on the PGA TOUR. Meanwhile, Team Canada were winless at the World Baseball Classic. Two sporting moments, two different outcomes, but both had the same expectation: to win it all.

Maybe it is too much to say that the Canadian WBC team was expected to win it all or even advance to the next round. Even if you had every Canadian Major League Baseball player on the team, there are holes in a few positions, namely in middle infield, where they are lacking significantly. In the case with Hadwin, he has been close to winning before, most recently at the CareerBuilder Challenge where he shot a round of 59. It was simply a matter of time before he would eventually be in the winner’s circle. Next stop for him is the Masters in Augusta.

It used to be if a Canadian was in an event such as the Masters, or Wimbledon, or the Indianapolis 500, the notion is: “we are just glad to be here.” Not anymore. With the exception of perhaps soccer, Canadians are expected to compete, if not win, on a regular basis in every sport, not just hockey. That is a different mindset than say 10 years ago or even longer where we would settle for a participation medal. With better athletes and better training, Canadians are expected to take home the hardware when they take on the rest of the world.

The difference I believe is attitude. At one time, winning a championship was seen as too difficult of a task. Now it is looked at as a challenge everyone wants to face. To me, that is a good sign that Canadians have goals, some albeit lofty, that they expect to meet. The days of just hoping and praying are over. Today’s Canadian athletes are able to control their own fate more often.

Now, there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to actually winning championships. Canada’s baseball team needs a middle infield to go with the strong pitching and power hitting. Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard will have to overcome their physical setbacks before they can compete in major tennis tournaments. Canada’s basketball team is one Center away before they become a serious threat to the dominating US team.

But one thing is for sure, athletes need to continue to aim high. That separates the participants from the contenders and it will bode well for Canada in producing not just great athletes, but champions.

Also see:

Do You Need International Success to be a Great Canadian Athlete?
Lessons From the World Juniors
Olympics are All About the Games

 

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Don’t Lump Everyone Together

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Dont Lump Everyone Together

There seems to be a lot of people wanting to pile on tennis star Maria Sharapova after she revealed that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open. News of her positive test for Meldonium sent shockwaves in the sports world.

You have to be completely naïve to keep using a substance even if it has been just recently banned. But at the same time, unless you can prove me otherwise, don’t for a second lump Sharapova in with a lying cheater like disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Frankly, that’s taking the easy way out. That being no one cares about context or any reason behind the result. They judge a game by the final score. People who do that just raised former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s IQ by 30 points.

It is no secret that Sharapova has had health problems in her tennis career. It would make sense that she would take medication to deal with that. I’m no medical expert but if Sharapova does have a heart condition as she claims she has, why on earth would she continue playing a sport like tennis at a high level? That to me is something I would look into instead of dismissing it as another athlete that got caught cheating.

I remember Canadian Olympian rower Silken Laumann was stripped of her Pan American gold medal in 1995 after testing positive for a banned substance that is readily available as an over-the-counter medication. No one was quick to call her a cheater once word got out. But there were some who wanted to do so ever since Ben Johnson and the Seoul Olympics. And that was because she was a Canadian athlete.

Here’s another thing to watch for. Even if Sharapova is cleared of any wrongdoing, what she has done is put every athlete with a medical condition under a spotlight. They will now (if they haven’t done so after Armstrong’s cancer diagnosis) be scrutinized by every move they make. I would bet Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi will be watched closely to see if what he is taking for his diabetes meets the performance enhancing substance test. Don’t doubt me on this.

The act of painting people with a wide brush is nothing new. Those like me who like hockey with hard hits and fighting are called goons, hooligans, anarchists, etc.. And it is also not limited to sports. Having followed politics as long as I have been alive, people go through these brushes like candy. Progressives see everyone who wants lower taxes and small government as racist, sexist, and homophobic. Is that them being lazy? Absolutely. Am I being a hypocrite by painting leftists with a wide brush? Maybe. But then again, if they don’t like it, that just further proves my point.

Sharapova will get suspended for her positive drug test. Ignorance alone will not be enough to get her off. But I will not call her a cheater. I know the real reason. Too bad others can’t take the time to do the same.

Also see:

Why You Won’t See Me Piling On Ray Rice
Racism Knows No Bounds
The Past is Starting to Catch Up to the Patriots