It took a couple of days to digest it all, but, after a bit of thought, my take on the Vancouver Olympics is really quite simple: It was an absolute blast.
And the most impressive thing about these Winter Games had nothing to do with the sporting events themselves. Rather, it was the people - both locals and visitors - out on the streets partying and celebrating all day and all night over the entire duration of the Games.
This past Saturday night we threw a big party here at our place to celebrate my 41st birthday and man was it ever a blast! I mean, if you can have a big bash for your 40th, why not for your 41st, right? At least that's the way I see it. Luckily, it was a beautiful, sunny, warm day, and starting from 5 PM our backyard slowly filled up with about 90 guests, the last of whom didn't leave until after 2 AM. A bit earlier than the 5 AM finish we had announced beforehand, but a damn good 9 hours nonetheless. This was a party that had just about everything. Well, almost... if only Johnny hadn't let me down so badly.
The defending champion Canadian men's hockey team is now out of the Olympics after a 2-0 loss to the Russians today. And the fact of the matter is they simply didn't deserve to win. The Russians were a better team. And even though they beat the Czechs 3-2 yesterday - only due to the heroics of Martin Brodeur in goal - the Canadians didn't deserve to win that game either. And they definitely deserved their loss to the Finns on Sunday. Worst of all, they even lost to the lowly Swiss 2-0. I mean, this is a team that scored no goals whatsoever in 11 of the final 12 periods they played in this tournament (and 2 of the 3 they did score in the first period against the Czechs yesterday were really soft goals). The simple reality is that the Canadians sucked!
Sad news today: One of the 2 or 3 greatest players to ever play the game of hockey has announced his retirement. Yes, at the age of 40 Mario Lemieux is calling it quits. Lemieux, like Gretzky, made watching the NHL (and international tournaments like the Canada Cup) an absolute joy back in the 80's and early-90's. But, personally, my favorite Mario memories are definitely from December 2000 to May 2001 when, after 3 years of retirement and at the relatively ripe old age of 35, he made one of the greatest comebacks in professional sports history, not only guiding the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Finals and just barely missing the Stanley Cup Finals, but also becoming the leading scorer in the league from the time of his comeback until the end of the season.