Olympic Medal Madness [Alternate Title: When a Silver Medal Isn't Good Enough]
The Olympics do weird things to me. I watch sports that under normal circumstances I would never watch.
I find myself watching things like downhill skiing, bobsled, speed skating, and oh yeah hockey. [Of course I'm also watching ice dancing and figure skating but that's a given.]
Yesterday morning I was actually listening to the men's hockey game while straightening my hair. I didn't care about either team - and couldn't even tell you who was playing. And the only thing I learned during the game was that the ice in the rink was horrible and the Russians "have better ice in their drinks" according to the one Canadian announcer.
Today, I missed the women's hockey final where our US team lost to the Canadians. But I managed to turn on the television (the CBC, thanks to the on-going dispute with our local cable provider and the owner of the local NBC affiliate) just in time to see the medal ceremony.
What I saw made me cringe. And it made me angry.
I saw our women's hockey team - the team that is representing the United States on the ice - unhappily accepting the silver medal. They were, in essence, pouting.
Our hockey players looked like they were attending a funeral rather than being given the SILVER MEDAL. I wanted to scream "That's an OLYMPIC MEDAL being put around your neck! What in the hell are you pouting about?!?!?"
Their faces reminded me a lot of McKayla Maroney's face when she won a silver medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
And yes, I get it. They didn't win the gold. But they didn't necessarily lose either - they won the silver medal. Which is more than a lot of other athletes can say over in Sochi. They are going home with a medal. Not everyone can say that.
The pouting about the silver was such a sad display to me. Instead of being happy to win some sort of medal - regardless of its color - these grown women were acting like they would rather walk off the ice without any medal.
And it left me to wonder, is this what we've become as a society? Are we teaching our kids that it only matters if you're the best and if you're anything less than golden (like say, silver or bronze) you're no good? The Canadian announcer for the game said it took her at least SIX MONTHS to accept that she won the silver.
It makes me think about the parents at Olivia's basketball games - the ones who say things like "I'm so angry at my kid! They KNOW HOW TO PLAY BETTER THAN THIS." Really? Do they? Or are the kids (3rd and 4th graders) just out there to have fun?
I understand that the Olympics are more than "just having fun" and these athletes train and sacrifice a lot just to make the team. But when it all comes down to it, shouldn't you be happy to have a medal, any medal - regardless of the color? Shouldn't it be about more than THE GOLD?
Winning a silver medal is no small feat, for sure. And in my mind our women's hockey team should be damn proud to bring that medal home. And they should be smiling.