Saturday, February 20, 2010

In This Country - Hoser Nation

Watching a replay of Montgomery's night right now. Jenn Hedger says that at this point he can do whatever he wants.

He smirks and I can imagine what he's thinking as he gives the girl with the giant hands the eye.

After poor Melissa Hollingsworth showed us the heartbreak of these Games, joining Wotherspoon and Felicien and others whose dreams ended in sorrow Jon Montgomery showed us the absolute best that these Olympics have to offer.

Smalltown boy with a quick grin and a closeknit family and a thirst for beer gave us what may be the greatest moment of these Games and certainly his walk through Whistler will be remembered for years to come. I have never seen anything like that, ever. Absolutely brilliant and another example of what is becoming very clear. Despite the tragedy on the luge track and the weirdness of the pickup track and the fiasco with the Olympia ice surfacer these Games have become a success and they have become a success where it matters most, with the athletes and the spectators. On the ground, as it were, its terrific.

I've enjoyed the Games so far. Canadians have done well. For every athlete that has fallen a little short, another has exceeded expectations, which is always the way. Just look at Julia Mancuso who has been a one woman wrecking crew. Nobody saw that coming.

Montgomery is an interesting cat. He's really a mix of what used to be Canadian and what Canada is becoming. Canada when I was growing up was a smalltown country, nearly completely white. We ate meat and potatoes and canned vegetables. Spaghetti was exotic. We were quiet and while we were proud of being Canadian our patriotism was restrained and at times indifferent, a reflection, I think, of the staid Protestant roots of a dominant Ontario, dull and grey.

In the years that have passed since I was a boy this country has changed and continues to change before my eyes. Even in the smaller towns and cities new Canadians are changing the face of the country and for the better I might add. Our kids eat Pad Thai and butter chicken and we have to get on the Ethiopian kick next I think, as a new joint opens in our neighbourhood every second week. Ease of travel means that what was once rare has become commonplace, Canadians going far afield and seeing the world. The wealth and future of what is now an urban country is edging away from the centre and into a bold and proud west and north and yes, even east. Canadian cities are vibrant and thriving and so is our country, even as we struggle through difficult economic times.

And Jon Montgomery is a reflection of this new Canada. From the west. Bold and bright and quick with a joke and self deprecating all at the same time, he reflects the best of this country, the confident young smart man who has conquered the physical domain, the young man secure in himself and in his future.

For us older folk (and I'm not really that old I know but I am old enough to remember different times) its an interesting thing to see. Our country has gone from being quiet to a pride that was at times insecure and smug and now is passing into a new and different patriotism. It marks my age I guess that although I am a fierce patriot I am a little uncomfortable with the chest thumping and the offputting Own The Podium campaign. Having said that when I read Canadians putting our country down I find it even more frustrating. I guess I'm of a generation that believes that we live in the world's greatest country (and I know all of you non Canucks will have varying mileage here, I would expect nothing less of course ;) ) but are quite happy to keep that little secret a little closer to the heart, to quote another great Canadian.


Ribs said...

That walk was great. Only in Canada does an athlete get handed a pitcher of beer on his way to an interiew.

Baroque said...

Did he seriously catch some flak from people for being thrilled he won the gold medal?

How incredibly stupid. There is nothing bad-sportsmanlike about celebrating your own achievement - the only thing that would have been tasteless would have been specifically rubbing anyone else's nose in it.

And that had better been a pitcher of an approved and IOC-endorsed beer brand with official sponsorship agreements all signed by the required organizations involved and a buttload of lawyers, or he might get in trouble. :D

Black Dog said...

lol Baroque, regarding the beer and all that, if he was here in Toronto though he might have been arrested ;)

no, maybe I wasn't clear, I haven't heard a bad word about his celebration but some general BS from people basically ignoring facts and being negative for no other reason than that's what they do, I guess

did you see his walk? If you didn't try and find it, seriously awesome, as ribs said. one of the all time great moments, imo

Baroque said...

Good. I love the celebrations, seeing grown men and women jumping up and down like a preschooler on a sugar buzz, and the crying tears of joy at the drop of a hat. So cool.

Anyone who would quash that kind of honest emotion should be beaten to death with pool noodles. :)

Baroque said...

Ah, the wonders of Youtube. What a crazy scene. :)

Dennis said...

we usually agree on just about everything but we wont on this point.

for me these olys tell me that canadians like to drink and party and support ama athletics but i think i already knew that. i certainly am a big fan of montgomery because of his charisma but i thought that this year there would be more medal winning.

i liked canada more when we were quiet and and strong but if you want to start chest beating like the amerks and talk about owning podiums than it might be nice to actually win some medals.

meanwhile the collective media are clinging to that original idea and shunning reality like a bunch of iraqi defense ministers.

doritogrande said...

Finally, an Olympic athlete that Russell can be proud of!

In case you aren't aware, Russell is also the hometown of one Theo Fleury...discuss.

Black Dog said...

Dennis - you lost me, where do we disagree? I prefer the quiet and strong myself as well.

I'd definitely would like to see the lads and lasses doing a little better, we were at a point where good surprises and bad surprises were about even but now we're tilting a little too much into the negative. Its a shame, some bad luck, some poor performances, some just getting plain beat.

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