Darin Janssen’s Weblog

It makes no sense to me

Yesterday I was talking with a friend of mine about how stupid it was that the Canadian men’s hockey team beats Russia in a quarter final game and it was getting more press then actual medal winners.  Canada’s women’s bobsleigh team wins gold and silver medals and the short-track speed skaters take the silver, but they are not written about until section C Page 2.  But the big news in the hockey game, not only front page news of the A section but also the C (sports) section.  I just can not figure this out; it is just a quarter final game and not a medal win.  I guess I should state that I am not a sports fan.  I generally do not watch any sports other than Saskatchewan Roughrider games with my wife.  She is the sports fan in our family.

I went out to get the newspaper this morning and what do I find on the front cover…”One Gold one to go…”  Congratulations to the women’s hockey team on their gold medal.  The problem is not that the women won the hockey and it is front page news.  My problem in my mind is the headline; Canada has seven other gold medals already, this is not the first one.  Secondly, “one to go”, does only one other medal matters?  In the spirit of the Olympics all the medals matter not a certain sport’s medals.  I then look at the sub-headline which reads “Hockey: only sport that really matters”.  There it is the headline which confirms what I was thinking yesterday and been thinking for years.  Rob Vanstone says in the article “With all due respect of aficionados of bobsled, biathlon and snowboarding, the 2010 Olympics is now, in essence, a hockey tournament”.  Hockey is not the most important sport which is happening at the Olympics.  The Olympics are a celebration of sport and competition not just hockey.  After a quick scan of the sports section, which also has hockey on the front page of that section, I did not see anything about the bronze medal which was won in women’s figure skating.  Why is this?  Joannie Rochett deserves some attention for her win doesn’t she?

I never have figured out why watching sports is so important to some people, especially males.  I know that I am in the minority of men.  I can also state that I am abnormal in other respects as well.  I do not watch much TV at all (maybe one hour a week), I do not drink coffee, tea, pop,  or alcohol, usually water or apple juice, and I do not smoke.  So the questions I have are:   Why is watching sports so important to you?  Why are some sports, especially in the media, given so much more importance than others?

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February 26, 2010 - Posted by | General | ,

4 Comments »

  1. I was never big into sports growing up. It wasn’t until I was in grade eleven that I even participated in an organized sport–football. I joined my high school’s team that year and that’s what did it for me. I discovered that my interest in watching a sport hinged on whether or not I had actually played it. Having played football, my appreciation and interest in it grew. I started watching football after that. Since then, I started playing pick-up basketball in my mid-twenties and, you guessed it, I’ve been an avid NBA fan ever since. So, yeah, my interest in sports depends on whether or not I’ve played it.

    I suppose the second part of it is the social aspect. One of the factors that connects people of a culture is sports and games. Following a particular sports team, especially if it is your country’s sport of choice (like hockey), is a way to connect to other Canadians. Having never played hockey, I’m only a casual fan but there’s just something about sitting around a pub, drinking a beer and watching Canada play hockey that really brings people together. It’s about camaraderie.

    Comment by Paul | February 27, 2010

  2. Darin, I think the reason we are hearing so much about the hockey is because of what happened last Olympics. A seventh place finish was unacceptable in the eyes of Canadians in 2006. Hockey is supposed to be Canada’s game (as the media and advertising are making very clear) and it really is a religion in this country. Canadians feel we need to be on top of the hockey world, and in recent years you could argue that our domination has been slipping.

    This being said, I do not think the tremendous performances put on by Canada’s other athletes are any less important. The problem is that many people only see and hear about these sports every four years, when the Olympics roll around. I would think people are more interested in a sport that they have been watching and playing themselves non stop for their entire lives.

    To answer your other question, watching sports becomes a sense of pride, especially when watching the Olympics, or even the Riders. These men and women are representing me and my country and doing their best at the same time. Perhaps, I’m more interested than others since I’ve been playing sports for as long as I can remember and plan on doing so for as long as my body will let me.

    I don’t know if this really gives you any further insight, but that is basically how I see things right now. Thanks for sharing your frustration, I know you’re not the only one who feels this way.

    Comment by Kyle Webb | February 27, 2010

  3. @Paul I never thought of the social side before. That makes a lot of sense. That is probably why my wife can start a conversation with any CFL fan. When we were in Mexico she even started a conversation with a guy because he was wearing a Stampeders hat.

    @Kyle Webb you are right that many people only hear about most of the sports at the Olympics when the Olympics are happening. But those sports are all happening all the time not only at the Olympics. Must have something to do with media choosing what they want to show because of ratings or who has the most cash for them.

    What would be interesting is to find out what sports are seen as the most important sports in other countries. I know soccer (or football outside of US and Canada) is a huge sport. In Europe the soccer probably takes over the summer Olympics just like hockey has here.

    Could it possibly be the violence in hockey which is drawing people to it? Maybe hockey should be played without checking and fights. Would it be as popular? Look at speedskating, it is more exciting to watch short-track then long-track.

    Thanks for helping me try to understand it.

    Comment by Darin Janssen | February 27, 2010

  4. Darin, I think people are drawn to sports where contact plays a large part (hockey, short track, snow cross, etc) because of the extra unpredictability it brings to the table. You never know what could happen and it makes it much much exciting to watch than straight up races. It is difficult to say what draws people in to different sports, but that is what I think makes people so interested in the contact sports.

    Comment by Kyle Webb | February 28, 2010


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