An article by an American writer:
By Rick Telander, Sun-Times Columnist Salt Lake City
You gotta love those cuddly hosers from Up North, eh? When I called home, my 11-year-old son was singing "O Canada,'' and I couldn't blame him. It's a simple song--a preschooler can handle the melody, and apparently the only words are "O Canada'' and "We stand on guard for thee'' -- and you have to admit the anthem looks so good coming out of Wayne Gretzky's mouth. Especially when Janet Jones is clinging to his back.
You know the Canadians smoked us in hockey -- men's and women's -- and that is a little like UCLA losing a doubleheader hoops game to the University of Saskatoon. Well, not exactly, maybe. Canada did invent hockey. But with a population about the same as New York state, Canada should be as serious a threat to our big country as Lapland is to Russia.
Those northern people also beat our women in curling, en route to winning a silver medal. Of course, we don't care about curling, and they do. When one of their beloved female curlers died of cancer not long ago, the memorial service was broadcast nationally on Canadian television.
But shouldn't we beat the Canucks (Webster's definition: "A Canadian; especially a French Canadian'') at anything that has moveable objects involved, whether French, English or pig Latin is spoken during the event? The trouble is, you can't get mad at Canadians. Anger directed north is like anger directed at a slobbering St. Bernard. Just get the mop and pat its head, and things will be fine. Canada is the buffer between us and the Arctic Circle, a province of Minnesota, the guardian of ponds and mosquitoes and bellowing moose.
We have Florida and Bruce Springsteen and real police. They have Manitoba and the Barenaked Ladies and mounties in red coats and Dudley Do-Right hats.
It had been 50 years since the Canadian men had won an Olympic gold medal in hockey. And the Canadian women had lost eight straight times to their United States counterparts before whipping the haughty Americans on Thursday. And so what we have in this deal is a kind of gentle payback.
Did you know we once invaded Canada?
In December 1775, we marched up there to fight the British and were forced to scamper home after getting our butts shellacked in Quebec. Soon after, for our punishment, agent Peter Jennings was sent across the border and instructed to make the word "aboot'' part of the American lexicon.
I have to admit that I was stunned upon arriving in this western city to see that the American Olympic team was wearing gear made by something or somebody called "Roots.'' There on every American athlete's jacket and sweatshirt, like a first name on a bowling shirt, was the word, "Roots.''
A Canadian company, for God's sake.
Apparently not Nike or Wilson or Spalding or even Target or Walgreens could get it together, or stoop low enough, to actually outfit our own people. What a great way to win a minor battle: Put the big dummies in our clothes.
I wonder if the American press, so shrill and feverish in demanding reparations for allegedly slighted Canadian pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, would be so vocal now, knowing the danged Canadians kicked our butts in the only team games we cared about.
But again: How can you get mad at these folks? They're funny. They're unassuming. They're hardy. They're like Australians living in places like Prince Rupert, without kangaroos. They're us, we like to think. If we could handle the wolverines and tundras.
Canadian men's hockey leader Wayne Gretzky had complained about "American propaganda,'' saying we southern media agents had somehow been mean to and critical of the hosers' hockey and wanted nothing more than for them to implode.
I sat and listened to Wayne's rant, and I had no idea what he was talking about. He said that if the Canadians had been as loutish as, say, the Czech Republic players were to his own little precious annoyance, Theo Fleury, the Canadians would be labeled "hooligans.'' Hooligans?
What was Wayne talking about? What is the least bit nasty about Labatt Blue or Fergie Jenkins or snowshoes?
No, this was the Olympics that had almost everybody rooting for the folks from the other side of the treeline. And it was the Olympics that made us realize the Soviet Union is gone, the Cubans don't have a Winter team, the Chinese are still figuring it out, the Berlin Wall is down, and the only Evil Empire out there, so to speak, is us. We're the bullies on the block, the strutters with the money and clout.
And guess what? Oh, Canada, you sweeties. You nicked us where it hurts.