Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snark break...

As you were changing your Facebook status to let people know you are now accepting bribes...

After sleeping on it, Chantal Petitclerc's selection as the Lou Marsh Award boils down to is ideology trumping truth.

(Duane covered this off, admirably, yesterday, just scroll down.)

Sports fans do get too wrapped up in awards and honours conferred after the fact, which goes triple for this writer. Regardless, the truth is that far too often, Canadians would rather be nice than be right. Even if you haven't listened to over-the-air radio in weeks, you can hear some See Bee See host spreading on the saccharine like Homer Simpson buttering up a muffin: Chantal Petitclerc is so inspirational.

This debacle was a setup from the word go, really. This is what happens when you create an award where people have to pretend all sports are created equal. I have 10 years' of clippings that reflect that wish, but they're not.

The hell of it is that as a Canadian, you can't say boo without getting stuck with an anti label -- oh, you don't like the pick, so you must be against the disabled. This is what happens when you have a society when people give priority to what lines up with their personal beliefs.

Canada's affluence and equal opportunity does make us a Paralympics powerhouse, which is a point of pride for all the boys and girls vested in the myth that we are a liberal lot from coast-to-coast.

It doesn't hide the facts that Canada's athlete of the year award has gone to someone whom many people have never heard of or that outside the Paralympics, there aren't too many track meets of consequence where the same athlete can win the 100 and the 1,500 metres. It doesn't. The truth has to hurt.

This isn't even really about who should have won, but Jason Bay, Justin Morneau, Christine Sinclair, Carol Huynh, Steve Nash, and so on and so, prove themselves against an athlete pool of measured in hundreds and thousands. It's a disservice to lump them all in together and you know what, it's a disservice to Ms. Petitclerc.

Feel-good stories cannot always trump giving a matter some serious consideration. At the end of the day, you can only look at life through the eyes of love. This Canadian sports nut would love it if one of our highest athletics honours actually had legitimacy (this presumes it did once).

Moving on ...

The high price of mediocrity: The San Francisco Giants are paying Aaron Rowand $8 million US next season and plan to bat him sixth. That raw-bacon bet The Tao of Stieb made is is looking good.

Remember all those foreign coaches China hired for the Olympics? Almost all of them have been fired. Nice, eh?

Can you even work a joke around Jay Leno moving up to the 10 p.m. timeslot? The best way is just to ask a rhetorical question and trail off...

NHL veteran Chris Gratton was likely waived out of the league for good yesterday. The last time the Kingston Frontenacs had a tough team, he might have been playing for them. That's how long ago it was.

This post is worth nothing, but this is worth noting:
  • Former Kingston Frontenacs captain Chris Stewart scored his first NHL goal last night. And the circle of life continues.
  • Belleville Bulls forward Eric Tangradi has signed his first NHL contract. Is it a dick move to rhyme off all the players Frontenacs GM-for-life Larry Mavety drafted ahead of him three years ago. Probably, but (deep breath), here's the players Mavety took before the Bulls took Tangradi: LukePitherDarylBordenAndrewWilsonBrettPierceyDerekSzaszMattReisJustinTaylor.
  • Boots Del Biaggio was a sketchy character long before he ever had a stake in any National Hockey League team. Gary Bettman could not have been expected to know. He wore a suit, he smelled nice, he had two pieces of ID.
(That joke up top is from last night's Stewart or Colbert, forget which.)


Duane Rollins said...

FYI - the short list for the Marsh was Simon Whitfield, Justin Morneau, Carol Huynh, Jeffrey Buttle, Eric Lamaze and Daniel Nestor according to Dave Perkins of The Star.

krister said...

Did I get that right? No icehockey player, and nobody from the NHL either? How un Canadian is that!

Anonymous said...

Yup, BLIND IDEOLOGY is ruining a lot of things in this country, as it always will. Try talking to any religious or political zealot, environmentalist, or worse, a "politically correct person interested in balanced fairness". It becomes impossible to debate the merits, ideology so clouds the thinking.

Anonymous said...

I got called an ass for questioning Petitclerc's award and calling it a case of "white liberal guilt" playing into the decision. This person even said that it was a "deliberately outrageous" statement to make.

People can be so stupid.

Duane Rollins said...

A good way to make your point without having others looking at you like you're a child molester is to ask this:

If a Canadian masters track athlete were to go to the world masters games and win five gold medals and break multiple age group world records do you think that they would be considered for the award?

Clearly they wouldn't. To me, Petitclerc's accomplishments can be looked at the same way. They are impressive, but they can't compare to someone competing in a truly open field of play.

Dennis Prouse said...

Meh - I never pay much attention to manufactured awards like this one anyway, so I can't work up much outrage. Simon Whitfield would have been a good choice, given how long he has been competing in such a brutally tough field, and the way in which he got up off the mat to take a silver in Beijing.

BTW, Sager, do you think I am giving away comments for nothing? Pay up!!! :-)

Duane Rollins said...

I'll save my thoughts on who my pick is until next week's chat, but I will say this: Simon Whitfield's silver run was my favourite sporting performance of the year. It's in my top 10 all-time Canadian Olympic moments (which is probably a post, isn't it...).

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Agreed with both Neate and Duane; the depth of field just isn't there for Petitclerc. I can't get too incensed about it, though, as really, this is just the opinion of a few prominent sports personalities; it doesn't actually mean a lot in my mind. Of the shortlisted ones, I'd probably have gone with Nestor; of the others, maybe DeGuzman or Sinclair.

Steve C said...

Do you really think Carol Huynh proved herself against an athlete pool strong enought to be considerd Canada's athlete of the year?

I have nothing to base this on, but I wouldn't be surprised if paralympic track has more serious competitors than women's freestyle wrestling.