Thursday, March 4, 2010

Winks Thinks: The Oh, Canada Edition

Lesson learned: Never take a week off from Winks Thinks again. Besides wanting to skip a week because I literally had nothing to write about, I also wanted to spend my Wednesday night at the local establishments for an evening instead of writing the weekly column. Well, it only takes getting kicked out of one bar before you realize you need to make a major change in your life. So this week, I've decided to stay back at the homestead and jot down some random thoughts that hopefully you'll enjoy. With a drink in hand of course.

To be honest with you, this week's Winks Thinks almost didn't happen either. In the time between the minute you're reading this and the last time I wrote a column, I've literally destroyed two computers. My trusty laptop had to be put to sleep last weekend, and even though the autopsy results aren't in yet I'm going with old age as the suspected number one killer, number two being the high amount of suspicious websites I've visited. Thankfully, my roommate Gweeds allowed me to use his backup laptop for the interim, but I crashed that one just a little bit ago as well. So keep that in mind for the future, never let me use your computer.

All that withstanding, I'm back for another round, and there's really no bigger thing to talk about this week than the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics, more specifically the conclusion of the hockey portion of the Games. We all saw it, it's most likely going to go down as the greatest hockey game of our generation, but unfortunately the United States fell to our neighbors of the north Canada by a score of 3-2 in overtime. It was a great performance by the Americans, as the youngest team in the competition proved that they were a force to be reckoned with by losing only one game in the entire tournament. It's just that that one game cost them the Gold.

After already beating Canada in the tournament, you would have thought that the Americans would have had a decent shot at winning this thing. It didn't look so good for them though as they found themselves down 2-0 at one point in the game, before they mounted a very respectable comeback to tie the game. It took them close to the distance as well, as they didn't tie the game until there was just a half of a minute left on the clock, when Zach Parise notched the game-tying goal. There are few sporting events where I know I'll always remember where I was when they happened, but I know that this was of one them (for those of you that are wondering, I was lying on a couch with a person who will hereby be known only as Honey).

But even with Parise's heroics, the United States fell short at the hands of Sidney Crosby, who slipped one past my boy Ryan Miller to give the home Canadians the victory. For the Americans, it was a heartbreaking loss to a team we very well could have beaten. But for the Canadians, it was redemption, and the perfect ending to a very successful Winter Olympics in Vancouver (well, besides the two athletes that were killed there of course).

To be honest with you, I never really knew that the Americans and Canadians had this crazy heated rivalry until about two weeks ago, when the first meeting between the two teams in this tournament became one of the most hyped sporting events of the past couple of years. I mean, I get the natural rivalry because we border each other, but I felt as if I was supposed to believe this rivalry was now on par of something like Red Sox vs. Yankees or Ohio State vs. Michigan. As compelling as the hockey was, I just wasn't really able to buy into the fact that these two countries were rivals.

The argument for this should start and end with the fact that all of the players are in the NHL, and a good portion of them are teammates. You can't really have a rivalry when most of these guys are friends off of the ice, in my opinion. But the real reason I wasn't buying USA vs. Canada as a country is almost as obvious as the first reason, and that is because when you think about, Canada really isn't a legitimate country.

I'm not trying to go all Central Wisconsin on Canada here, but seriously for as long as I've been alive I've never understood just what kind of country Canada was supposed to be. The way I always figured it was that we as Americans didn't want to go any further north than we already had gone, because it was getting cold enough already. So everything north of 42 degrees latitude could go to the Canadians, except we'd take over Alaska so that a) we could have all the oil, b) The Simpsons Movie could benefit from it and c) some Sarah Palin joke I'm too lazy to make.

Honestly, I really just don't get what exactly Canada is. They have a democracy, yet they are somehow Queen Elizabeth II is still part of their government. They mostly speak a distorted version of English, yet there is a French speaking faction of their country that wants to secede. They claim to be our sports rivals, yet we have franchises from the MLB, NHL, NBA, and MLS located there.

Surely, Canada has it's pros. The country has great schools, low crime, no real enemies, and all in all it's a pretty beautiful spec of land. But on the negative, the government is more Big Brother than you could imagine ours being, they have a higher cost of living, a weak ass military, and they have this strange obsession with always trying to prove that they are better than America. They easily have the worst inferiority complex of all time. That, and it's cold as shit up there.

To me, this seems like a rivalry that means more to the Canadians than it did to the Americans. I mean, this was a tournament that their hockey team had to win. They had the world's best players, it was on their home ice, and hockey is their game. To lose to the upstart Americans would have been a colossal failure in their eyes, and for that reason Sidney Crosby will be known as a national hero for all of eternity. The Gold Medal game was one that the Canadians could not lose at any cost, while for the Americans it was a game that, yeah, we hoped we'd win. Then again, we haven't had a jealous grudge against their country for the last 150 years.

This rivalry almost seems very similar to how the Brewers and Cubs rivalry has been for the last couple of years. To us Brewers fans, there is nothing more important than beating the Cubs - they are the enemy. But to Cubs fans, the Brewers are just another pesky team they have to deal with, but their main focus is on their true rivals the Cardinals and the White Sox. Over the years, I would think that the Brewers have gained some respect from the Cubs organization, but the fact of the matter is that you're still hearing about 50/50 cheers for the games at Miller Park, which means we still have a lot of fans selling tickets to North Siders. It's a rivalry, yes, but still a lopsided one. Just like what the USA / Canada rivalry is. One side cares more than the other, which doesn't make it as significant as say New York/Boston or Ohio State/Michigan.

But congrats Canada, you played hard and won a good battle, and you have the gold medal to prove it. But we didn't care as much as you did, so whatever. Also, your country is stupid.

Bitter much Winks?





*****

Can we talk about the Milwaukee Bucks for a second? How good (aka decent) do they look right now? Actually they have the stats to back it up, they've been the best team in the East over the last ten games with an 8-2 clip. This currently has them at two games over .500, and they're the sixth seed in the East. If the season ended today, they'd face off against Atlanta, a team they've faced just once so far this season and took them into overtime. I don't think the Hawks would be the best matchup for us - I'd rather seem them go seven games with someone like Boston or Toronto - but this playoff spot is the Bucks to lose right now, and it's been a long time since that has happened.

That being said, does anyone really care? I mean, I know most of you are diehard followers of the posts that Gweeds has been kicking out, but I'm just not sure about the rest of the state. My biggest concern is that right now the Bucks aren't passing what I call The Bar Exam. What that is simply is that if a game or sport is popular enough, it will be on television at your local sports bar. Last Sunday Night when the Bucks were playing the aforementioned Hawks, I was at a bar in Wausau which had at least six televisions that were Bucks ready. Well, instead of showing the latest installment of the Scott Skiles Era, the TVs were locked in on the Olympics Closing Ceremonies, some random ACC game on FSN, and some 24-hour hunting channel. I know it's Wausau, which explains a lot, but come on people. Our state's NBA team is in a legitimate playoff race playing legitimate basketball, that is something that has to be shown on your televisions even more a loser customer like me sheepishly goes up to the bar to request it.

*****

Remember when Kobe Bryant wore the number 8? I barely do either. Hell, do you remember when Aaron Rodgers started out with Tim Tebow's future number 16? If I try hard enough, maybe. While not entirely common, players do change their numbers every so often for various reasons. In Kobe's case, it was for two reasons. He wanted to start fresh after he got off easy even though he raped a chick from behind, but also he wanted to sell more jerseys. You have to believe that LeBron James is doing the same thing by changing his number from #23 to #6.

I do appreciate the fact that he's saying he's doing it as an homage to Michael Jordan, but we all know that he wouldn't be doing this if he knew it wasn't going to help him surpass Kobe atop the leaderboard for most jerseys sold. You don't think LeBron and the Cavs care about jersey sales? Have you seen the fourteen different alternate jerseys they have worn so far this season? Say what you want LBJ, this is about money. By the way, I'm willing to say there's a 98 percent chance he stays in Cleveland. I just can't see him doing anything else, a prediction I've been confident about for years.



Yeah, sorry about that... If you want a real song about Canada, let's hear from Canadian teen pop sensation Robin Sparkles. Oh, How I Met Your Mother. Such an awful show at first, but wow have I really come around on you.



See you back at JR's?...

4 comments:

Nick said...

How the hell do you get kicked out of a bar in Wausau??

bear said...

'clawfus'

b2 said...

gotta do something about getting the bucks on tv at bars... especially in those places where you don't hear too much about the bucks. you know, like water st and the rest of downtown fucking milwaukee.

Winks said...

Man do I really need to start proofreading/writing these sober.

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