Why I Don’t Feel Bad Rooting for the United States Mens Hockey Team

02/26/2010 3:59 PM |


Jonny’s been uncharacteristically forthcoming about his fears and expectations regarding the Canadian hockey team’s quest for gold in the Olympics, and I have the utmost respect or his plight, the plight of his entire country. But as I sit on my couch (thank you, snow) watching the U.S. team jump out to a 3-0 (holy shit, now 4-0…wtf, now 5-0…6-0, this is ridiculous and I actually feel bad) first period lead in their semi-final game against Finland, something occurred to me: When it comes to hockey, the United States basically is Canada, or at least the Canada that exists in every aspect of life that does not involve hockey. It’s at best the fourth most popular sport here, behind football, baseball and basketball—and possibly even, in pockets of the country, lacrosse—which makes the people who care about it, and god knows the people who play it, feel like outsiders and underdogs on an international level and in their own country. So, while I have no reason to root against the Canadian team (except, perhaps, for the whiny, overrated Martin Brodeur who faced somewhere around 15 shots a game for most of his career, thanks to the 10-plus years the Devils spent trapping/destroying hockey’s image), it’s also worth pointing out that rooting for the U.S. hockey team, you don’t have that guilty feeling you always get when you know you’re rooting for a superpower, like the U.S. snowboarding team or the Yankees. For two weeks every four years, we leave that to our friendly neighbors to the north.

One Comment

  • gopnik on Canadian national character : http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/spor…

    I would compare Canada and hockey to Brazil and soccer. I once asked a Brazilian friend why he was so upset over losing the WC in 2006 when they won it just four years earlier, and he looked at me like I fell from the moon.

    Alhough I must add it looks like Canada WILL own the podium, first to count should be gold medals, the rest only as tie break. NBC is showing too much USA triumphalism there with the USA medal count…