Saturday, February 11, 2006

Standing Behind the Great One

Full disclosure: I love the Olympics to a possibly embarrasing degree. Everyone seems to be so cynical about them, but I naively hold on to all the ideals associated with the Games. I make no apologies for this position. Sports are awesome, and even though the Olympics brings out the worst in my nationalist sentiments, supporting your country's bobsled team seems a better way to do this than bombing another country into oblivion. Becasue really, doesn't our ability to shoot a rifle accurately while cross-country skiing or land a triple-toe loop truly reflect the greatness of a nation?

Yes, I am excited about the Olympics kicking off. An especially big shout out to my friend and former roommate and teammate Kenny Kotyk, who is pushing Canada 1 in the four-man bobsled competition at the games. Another former track athlete from Saskatoon, Jamie Cruikshank, is also competing at the games in the women's bobsled.

The other thing I have to say about the Olympics is good on Gretzky to stick with the team in light of these frivilous allegations about sports betting (gambling and associated illegal activity right here in New Jersey - imagine!). Now, I don't think we should be blindly supporting a star athlete accused of wrong-doing (the "Free Kobe" shirts that came out during his rape trial were pretty stupid, I thought), but I'm going to stand behind Gretzky on this one. The guy has been a class act his whole career, and it doesn't sound like he was directly involved in all of this, anyway. I truly hope it won't be a distraction for the team - but I think Gretzky's refusal to step aside could be a minor rallying point for the players. So I'm glad Gretzky has stood firm. The only thing I would have preferred him to say is: "Betting on sports? Who cares if I did do it? It's not a real crime, anyway."

Because, you know, we take a real hard line on gambling here in NJ. Well, except the state-sponsored lottery. Oh yeah, and a little place on the shore called Atlantic City.


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