Monday, February 09, 2009
Like water off a beaver's back
One day, we will stop worrying what Americans almost never think of us, right about the time Canadian geography is on the curricula of fine U.S. public schools.
Lindsay Carson, from the University of Guelph's fine track program won the 3,000 metres at a meet last weekend at Notre Dame, dusting a field that included all-American runners. The interviewer, afterwards, not only asked where Guelph is ("a hour outside Toronto," Ms. Carson replied) and then seemed incredulous that you can run outdoors in the winter in Canada: "You run on a treadmill?" Big Man on Campus mused, "I'm surprised he didn't ask if she trains indoors in an igloo."
At 1 p.m, ET, according to a quick Google check, the temperature in Guelph was 2.9C. In South Bend, Indiana, it was 4C, more or less the same, but apparently to someone there it is impossible that you can jog outdoors at this time of year.
This calls to mind one of the great burns a fellow journalist ran on the very same University of Notre Dame several years ago. He applied for press credentials to a Fighting Irish football game through a community weekly that serves a town of 8,000 people, where the present-day mayor is actually named Deb. He told the flack he was located "just north of Toronto," and the idiot went for it, hook, line and sinker.
At this point, American impressions about Canada are pretty much water off a beaver's back. The beauty of this day and age is that there is more evidence that the country of 300 million to the south does have, 10 million, 20 million people who are knowledgeable about Canada for reasons which go way beyond beer, curling, CBC, hockey and everything else which supposedly knits together our national fabric. Besides, we can't call out the Americans when we tend to be just as ignorant about our own country sometimes.
Good job, Lindsay Carson. Your 9:10 3,000 metres (second-fastest ever by a Canadian university runner) earned you some American respect and hopefully people outside CIS nuts and track-and-field types will know you soon enough.