I was fortunate enough to visit Montreal on my honeymoon, which happened to coincide with ‘Canada Day’, an event I had previously been unaware of. I’ll tell you that whatever that event was, it charmed me in the extreme. The common jingoism which I have come to associate with July 4th in this country was displaced by a cheerful, friendly air of civility and civic pride. More then one newspaper editorial I read on that day was headlined something like “Canada: Inferiority Complex No More.” Can you imagine this kind of headline in the Wall Street Journal?
The US hockey team’s upset win over Canada in the preliminary rounds of the Vancouver Olympics is an impressive achievement to be certain, and absolutely inappropriate in every way. How exactly to characterize this transgression?
Well, did you ever have a close friend who was interested in dating the same person as you? Except you were sort of ambivalent, and they really wanted to date this person? What do you do then? I guess it depends on what kind of friend you are.
The United States would like to win the gold medal in hockey. They would enjoy it. It would register as something pretty cool, like Apolo Ohno’s name and Johnny Weir’s… comportment. It would constitute, in short, one of the more memorable moments of the 2010 Winter Olympics for most Americans.
Canada would also like to win the gold medal in hockey. Also, they HAVE to win the gold medal. If they don’t, all throughout the Great White North, they will have to put sedatives in the water. There will be fistfuls of hair pulled from Halifax to Lethbridge. It is not impossible that they will disband the country into colonnades of isolated personal despair, filled with reckless displays of self-injury. This is why the United States must not repeat this mad act against their friends.
Here at the L Magazine, things have already gotten a little strained. Ex-pat publisher Jonny Diamond, a dear man by any terms, has shown obvious signs of mental anguish.
Comparisons to the American team’s success in this Olympics have been drawn to the “Miracle on Ice’ in 1980… This is not like the “Miracle on Ice.” That was a handful of college students stunning the collected professional all-stars of the Soviet Bloc in the midst of the Cold War. That was a magnificent surprise.
This is diabolical. This is running up behind your buddy and kicking him square in the balls. There is no reason for us to do this to Canada, in Canada. Should the Slovakians croak the Canadian hockey team (tonight) before they get another shot at us—well so be it. These things happen. And if the US were to be upset by Finland in the semi-final round, then we are absolved of this unpleasant difficulty.
However, a looming US-Canada meeting in the finals requires, by every measure if decency, absolute fealty. For God sake, let the Canadians win. That won’t be difficult to do—they are obviously better in the first place—all we have to do is lay down our swords and make a half-assed effort. If we seem on the verge of pulling off another upset win by dint of another extraordinary effort by hot goaltender Ryan Miller, then get the man out of net.
The United States rarely concedes defeat at any juncture. It has become common, for instance, to declare victory in every war we have ever fought, even though we essentially lost the War of 1812, the Korean War and Vietnam, amongst others.
I say, let us now claim defeat. Let’s do everything in our power to do the right thing, and make sure Sunday is Canada Day.