Our Canadian writer, Tyson Turner, returns after a hiatus.  This week he writes a sports-themed column as he fills in for Johnny Goodman, who is himself on a short hiatus (don’t worry – Johnny will be back soon).

I was pleased to see Chicago win the Stanley Cup, dumping Philly in 6. As someone from Ontario, I’ve seen both Ottawa and Toronto battle with Philly the last few years and have built up quite the hatred for that team. However, I am still in the minority in my hometown. Kenora is the hometown of Philly’s captain, Mike Richards. On top of that, nearby Dryden is the hometown to the Flyers star defenseman, Chris Pronger.

It was amusing driving through town, seeing local businesses with signs such as “Mike vs. Chicago, Friday at 7pm”. Too bad people here don’t really realize Mike Richards probably doesn’t care at all about most of them, just signs a cheque to pay for an addition to the local arena and everyone thinks he is a hero. I guess it just bothers me to some extent, knowing that a lot of his family are pretty unpleasant but people just turn the other cheek since he is a famous hockey player. Are we really that shallow?

Onto the World Cup

So now that hockey is over, what is there to watch? The Blue Jays are off to a surprisingly decent start, but baseball isn’t exactly my favourite sport to watch. So how about soccer? I played the game for many years, but it is hard to get behind it with Canada absent. I blame our climate on why our national soccer team struggles years in year out. Most of the country has about 4-5 legitimate months of playing outdoors, and that’s it. This in contrast to Mexico and the Central America, who can play all year round. How else can I justify us losing regularly to Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, etc.?

The odd statistic on top of this is the fact that there are more registered Canadian youth playing soccer than hockey; yet we are the world’s best at hockey, but are currently ranked #63 in the world for soccer. Perhaps our development program needs some work too. But in any case, I hope the tournament is a big success for South Africa, and kudos to FIFA for thinking outside the box and giving Africa a chance. And as for me, cross your fingers that Canada will be given the chance to host the tournament, because otherwise I don’t think you’ll see us there for a long time.

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Tyson Turner writes a weekly column for the Casual Observer, focusing on Canadian issues. His articles can be found North of the Border.

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