Like many Americans and almost every Canadian, I watched the men’s gold medal hockey game on television today. I knew that the US team was young and inexperienced, but they were also undefeated, including a two goal victory over the Canadians in an early round meeting. I also knew that the crowd would be overwhelmingly supportive of the home team. Canada was favored, but not by much. I was hoping for a great game, and got more than I deserved.
After trailing by two goals, the valiant US players fought back to a tie with 24 seconds remaining in regulation time. During the sudden-death overtime period, Canada’s Sidney Crosby snuck a shot past the US Goalie, Ryan Miller. Ryan had been primarily responsible for the US team’s dominance throughout the Olympic Games, and his post-game interview might have revealed more than it should.
When asked what was different about the gold medal game, an unsmiling Miller revealed that he had tried to think of each game as “just another hockey game.” While this is a good strategy to prevent sensory overload, it might not be the way to look back at what will likely be called the ultimate game in the ultimate tournament of the sport. Today’s match-up was more than the last gold medal of the Vancouver Games. It was more than the crowing of Canada’s hockey players as the best in the world. It might have been the final time NHL players would be allowed to participate in the Olympic tournament. This could be the “Dream Match” of all “Dream Teams.”
As such, I think a little hyperbole might be forgiven, and the game viewed through a different perspective.
Ryan, you were a part of the greatest meeting your sport will ever see. You may have a silver medal, but you were also voted the MVP of the Tournament. That is something to smile about.
The Americans leave Vancouver with more medals than any Country in any prior Olympic Games. While it is never right to intentionally try to lose a game, there is no shame in leaving a little hardware on the table for the meeting host.
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