17 May 2011

Win some, lose some.


My life is not massively influenced by the sports. I enjoy sport very selectively and even then I am a bit of a three minute highlights kind of person rather than someone watching the full thing even from TV. I don’t oppose sports although I do think many athletes behave terribly on the fields and rinks and we understand them just because they are sports people. As if they were part of different species only closely related to humans. Like chimpanzees. I’d find that patronizing, but hey, it’s a free ticket to do-what-you-like station so why would they care, I guess. My lack of interest in sports is not something I was born with. I used to look up to them. I thought the guy who showed the middle finger to the referee was the coolest in the world. I only later on realised how uncalled for much of the behaviour is, but there’s still some small bit in me that makes me curious of some selected big sporting events. I don’t know if I like that bit much, but it’s there so it’s part of who I am and as I am proud of myself, then I guess according to that logic I am proud of it as well. On some weird level.

Last Sunday Finland became a world champion. In what I hear you ask. In ice hockey. It’s like a winter version of rugby with sticks and puck on ice but without any colonial connotations (except that it was invented in one). And the world championships are characterised not by the presence of the best players in the world, but their unavailability as the North American professional league is still busy fighting and skating for big money. But put all those things aside – and it isn’t time to be cynical – Finland won the world championships for the second time ever and they did so with good game quite uncharacteristic to our national team. They played like winners; not like someone afraid to lose. So fair play and well done. It did make me happy for a bit and since it’s been 16 years since the last time, me and my son decided to go and witness the celebration in town as the team arrived home. Well, I decided – he’s four years old, but off we went and as far as I saw, the festivities were really nice and good spirited. People were genuinely happy and there was not any ‘othering’ as far as I could see, although I’ve heard that there had been some problems like that elsewhere and there’s no excuse for that. Ever. I am glad that the captain of the team dissassociated them from this even if the coherance of his statement was what you might expect from a sleep deprived athelete in sparkling wine.

Another negative I must find in the situation is the sense I am getting and which is supported by our leading newspaper. Not by their editorial staff, but by their website that lists the most read articles. Us Finns have many complexes and many of them are linked to losing in ice hockey against Sweden and pretty much the whole day yesterday, the day after the victory, the most read articles were not the ones talking about Finland’s victory, but Sweden’s loss. A very unappealing and immature trait in our nation and it might take a few more victories to get over it. So for that reason, and a few others, I hope they keep on coming.


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