Thursday, February 23, 2006

Influence the Great One

Given my propensity to detect conspiracy, here is a nice little one for you: Team Canada got nuked out of the Olympic Men’s Hockey finals.

Why? Because they sucked? Maybe... but why did they suck? Could it be because their coaching staff was not up to snuff? Could it be because of loss of confidence in their executive?

Wayne Gretzky (Executive Director of Team Canada) has already accepted all the responsibility, as the great man he is. But why such a dismal failure after such an outstanding show in Salt-Lake City?

I say, the gambling accusations against Gretzky were directly related. Furthermore, it’s a nice non-provable way to ensure a team’s loss. Even if the players were not directly affected, they still would have talked about it. Even if they all reached a consensus – very doubtful - on The Great One’s innocence, or guilt, this would still take away mind share from the game at hand.

When competing in sports at the Olympic level, your concentration on the task is tantamount. Even a fraction off and you lose! And accusations are precisely the kind of outside subject matter that would mess up concentration.

Injuries, drug-testing, psych-out, politics, healthy and unhealthy competition, are all in the vocabulary of an athlete of this calibre. Underhanded power play is not.

The timing of the accusations could not have been any better to fuck up the team. This in itself is proof enough for me. Couldn’t it have waited 3 weeks? Couldn’t it have been exposed 6 or more months ago? Nope, mere weeks, if not days, before the Olympics!

When the news came out, I was wondering who the hell has a grudge against Gretzky? And even if it’s all true, why now? Then I heard over the news the of Team’s loss… it became crystal clear.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m imagining all sorts of conspiracies to explain why my Team has lost.

But what if I’m right?

Here’s the litmus test:
IF “the whole gambling scandal fizzles out in a few weeks” THEN      I was right,
     Someone was looking to make a killing on,
     you guessed it: illegal gambling,
     against an odds-on favourite. (BIG money)
     I was wrong,
     No one was looking to get rich by betting against Canada.
     Someone really is after Gretzky.

Here’s the clincher. I don’t give a damned about the Olympics, nor about our peoples’ performance. I don’t care that Team Canada won or not.

What I do care about is these are athletes doing something they enjoy, the dream they are pursuing. I wish victory for themselves, in their minds and hearts.

But I also wish them to be able to compete without interference. Especially interference from external sources looking for illicit gain! If I’m right, a whole team of people just had their dreams crushed by unknown forces for financial gain, and that my friends, just ain’t right.


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