Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Pendulum of Redemption ; Canada Delivered from Decades of Drought by Hockey Gold

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Pendulum of Redemption ; Canada Delivered from Decades of Drought by Hockey Gold

Article excerpt

You can gather the whole of Canada today from coast to coast - citizens, hockey worshippers, polar bears, and all, and raise a question: Doesn't everyone - a people as well as mountaineers - have a Mt. Everest to climb in life?

If the answer is yes, then revise your geography books, liberate Canada from the icebergs, and look up at the mountaintop to see who's standing there now.

Winning the Olympic hockey championship was Canada's Everest. Nobody in Canada was bashful about admitting it beforehand. They said it loudly and petulantly. They quarreled with themselves about why it was taking 50 years. In doing it they were risking even more humiliation if their maple leaf shriveled one more time, in the Winter Games in Salt Lake, in full few of a couple of billion people.

But how good is it in Canada today, after its 5-2 victory over the Team USA in the culmination of the Winter Games? It's as good as the keys to the kingdom. It is discovering that the lost continent of Atlantis has just surfaced off the coast of Labrador and has asked for admission as the newest Canadian province (English- speaking). It is a hundred thousand French-Canadian voices in Quebec singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" in honor of the mayor of Toronto.

Nobody said Canada had to win both the men's and women's hockey championship. Or that the vanquished would be the United States of America both times. How many ghosts can you exorcise in one three- hour hockey game? Line them up: All of the moronic jokes about the Great White North and its big, blustering godfather to the south. Can anyone in Canada end a sentence without a long "eh"? And, incidentally, when was the last time the Canadians won an Olympic gold in the game they invented?

But look at Canada today. You can do it in chagrin if you're an American hockey zealot. But you can also do it with the most authentic admiration if you like a story of a land and people once lightly ridiculed but now triumphant and almost numb and giddy in the fullness of their deliverance. Consider the odyssey. Less than two weeks ago, the Canadians groaned in their familiar anguish and martyrdom. Their figure-skating pair failed to land the gold and the maple leaf drooped again. …

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