Volume 96, Issue 58
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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"Born in the U.S.A."

Bell Tolls
Jordan Bell
Sports Editor

I love Canada. I love the toques, I love the lay-you-flat-on-your-ass beer and I especially love the wily beaver.

But, over the past couple of months, I have come to the conclusion that despite what my parents tell me, I really am American.

As the starting lineups were introduced for the men's and women's basketball games this weekend at Alumni Hall, I felt completely embarrassed for the players on the floor, receiving scant applause from the couple hundred people scattered throughout the gymnasium. This was a men's game against the number one team in the country, the Carleton Ravens.

It's not just basketball either. On a campus marked by disinterest, basketball is one of the lucky few sports to receive any fan support – the others could technically play in a morgue and garner more decibels.

Although university sport is full of tremendous athletes and great excitement, I can understand why it doesn't receive droves of fans – it's not exactly at the top of the sporting pecking order.

However, at all levels, Canada is lost in a sea of sporting despair. The Montreal Expos eventually will be travelling down yonder to the United States and apparently the Ottawa Senators will be joining them. Obviously, the financial environment in Canada isn't conducive to franchise success, but the "true" reason sports teams in Canada don't survive is because we, as Canadians, just don't care.

I suppose we have so many other events capturing our time, like frequenting the local meat market or fishing.

In the U.S. (and even in Europe and Southeast Asia), sport is life. It's a culture whereby the average Joe and Jane will put aside all responsibilities in this godforsaken world and stampede to the gates of their local high school, university or professional sporting event. Pep rallies are commonplace and face painting is mandatory.

Games such as the Michigan State/Michigan NCAA football game draws 100,000 fans annually. Can you imagine Western/McMaster football drawing 100,000 fans to their annual battles? Larry Haylor is probably having an orgasm right now just thinking about the possibility.

This passiveness of Canadians regarding sport is the reason I laugh my ass off at all the whiners and complainers who wonder how it's possible we finish behind Tonga in the Olympics.

Why would we win medals when ice-fishing is more important than sports? (I know I am going to get letters arguing for the point of ice-fishing as a valid sport.)

Sport is an afterthought in Canada and I almost guarantee that, within the next decade, a majority of the Canadian professional teams will migrate south of the border and university sport will cease to exist (I am sure director of Recreation Services Dan Smith can validate that assumption.)

I know America is the land of George "Dubya" Bush. I know America is the land of CNN. I even know America is the land of "the gun."

But I truly believe, if given the choice, I would trade everything I hold dear here in Canada for the thrill of sport our southern brothers have embraced.

Plus, I can always just breed beavers down there.

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