Post-Games Positivity…until Tomorrow
March 1st, 2010
In the post-game euphoria which followed Canada’s epic overtime victory, as the nation flooded into the streets to celebrate, CTV’s hockey commentators were still getting paid to do their jobs. And so while no one else was thinking about how Canada had given up the lead in the final moments of the game, the commentators were talking about what Canada did wrong, and James Duthie raised an important point: if he had not scored that overtime goal, and if Canada had gone on to lose that game, Sidney Crosby would have been labeled a disappointment.
Sure, he scored a big goal in the Shootout against Switzerland, but Crosby wasn’t a force to be reckoned with on the ice. If the team had lost that game, he would have been singled out as someone who didn’t live up to their potential, who failed to be the next Gretzky or Lemieux as he has been labeled. But because he did score that goal, and because Canada did win the gold medal, no one will ever remember that he had been held pointless in the nine periods which preceded that extra frame; they will only remember that “Sid the Kid” scored the golden goal.
Canada is still wrapped up in post-Olympics euphoria at this hour: sure, my Facebook feed is filled with enough cynical twenty-somethings that the music selections at the Opening ceremonies are under intense scrutiny, but for the most part Canada has exited this games with a flurry of national pride. Four gold medals over the final two days have given Canada a place in the record books as the country with the most Gold medals in a single Winter Olympics, and the hockey victory made the entire evening’s affairs really feel like one big celebration of Canada as a nation. And while I have all sorts of quasi-critical thoughts about the Ceremonies, and about some of the events over the past few days, and certainly intend to more critically analyze CTV’s coverage of the games over the past 17 days in more detail in the future, right now just doesn’t feel like the time.
Brian Williams was a nice point of consistency for Canadians, having jumped from CBC to CTV largely for the purpose of these games, and tonight he delivered his closing address. It was nothing that we hadn’t heard before, sharing the same types of sentiments that he and other hosts have been sharing throughout the games, and that John Furlong spoke of during his address at the Closing Ceremonies, but it still kind of places it all into context. For today, it feels hard to focus on the negative when there was so much positivity, hard to criticize when celebration is easier and uses fewer muscles. I could write a post about the careful negotiation of Canada’s national identity during the farcical opening ceremonies, and I could discuss the different audiences to which the ceremonies were clearly presented and how that led to some confusing decisions that may be indefensible for all audiences involved (See: Nickelback), but right now that sort of feels wrong, like focusing on how disappointing Crosby’s tournament was overall when IOC President Jacques Rogge was pushing the already enthusiastic crowd to cheer even louder as he present the young phenom his medal.
However, it won’t feel quite as wrong later in the week: I’m going to be writing up some thoughts on various parts of the Olympic experience, including some analysis of how these Olympic games have changed the game of Curling, and how the media is in no place to properly judge Own the Podium’s success or failure. It’s going to be a busy week, with real television coming back and all, but I think it’s important to really consider how our lives being taken over by the Olympics for over two weeks has impacted the future of this event and the way it is broadcast.
For tonight, though, all of that seems a bit cynical when I’d rather celebrate victory and go to sleep knowing that I will dream of flying moose and Neil Young instead of critical analysis of the games that were.