Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 Church Directory

“The Puck Stops Here”

Finally, the toxic afterglow of another Olympic year is beginning to dissipate.  Callers to sports radio programs have stopped adding non-printable descriptive modifiers in front of every reference to Canada, allowing broadcast engineers to relax a little over their three-second delay/erase buttons.

In a few more weeks, fans at NHL games will stop booing whenever a member of the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team skates onto the ice.
 
They did it to us again, those Canadians.  The double header. First the women, then the men, defeated and relegated to non-gold medal status.  Talk about Charlie Brown and his football.  Say what you will, this is not a “silver and bronze” country.
 
And, sad to say, much of the blame falls squarely on Minnesota.  The State of Hockey supplies many of these players on both teams.  Even the stellar Noora Raty, the greatest goalie in the history of the Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s hockey team, was peppered with shots and defeated…by the Swedes.  Granted, she was playing for Finland, her home country, but that Minnesota curse seems to have rubbed off on even the Great One II. 
 
If my Finnish grandmother was alive, it would have killed her.
 
But I think I may have an answer.  I was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, back when Harding was in the White House, and there was a lot less of it back then.  I was dazzled by a recent visit back to see the splendor of TCF Stadium, and Williams Arena, and Mariucci Arena, and the massive Tennis Center, and the, what Tiddly-Winks Pitch, and all the other facilities that make the backside of Fraternity Row look like a little Las Vegas.
 
Maybe we should soft-pedal the “State of Hockey” rhetoric for a little while, maybe go back to the old “Brainpower State” mantra that was in when Perpich and Carlson governed.  Maybe throw up a few more classrooms and research facilities, let the warm-weather schools take over the “sports university” titles for a while.
 
And we have the Wild over in St. Paul, and the NHL fans like that, (even though they ain’t the Stars by any means), and that’s good.  And we have no end of boys and girls hockey tournaments on the television at this time of year, so the ardor is still there and growing.
 
But four years is not a long time.  I’m surprised that Canada encourages such showy dominance, even if they did invent the sport (they also gave us maple syrup and the toboggan), because of the “Tall Poppy” proverb that Canadians live by.  That is: “The poppy that seeks to grow taller than the others will be the first one that gets cut down to size.”
 
Good advice, eh?