Last night we watched the junior hockey Canada vs Sweden game for the gold medal. Canada 'won'. Sweden 'lost'. It was heartbreaking to see those young men, children really, so devastated after playing so very hard (and fairly clean as well) losing in the last two minutes of play.
Really, when one gets to the medal rounds of a competition everyone is a winner having shown their superiority over several teams in order to get there. Any medal, be it gold silver or bronze is a terrific accomplishment. The silver medal winners may have been disappointed and discouraged last night but in a few years time the significance of a silver medal in their sport of choice will be clearer to them.
The fact that they are so very young was brought home by the actions of the Sweden team Captain as he ripped his silver medal from around his neck and fired it into the crowd. Fortunately no one was brained by the heavy piece of silver and a lucky fan soon had it around his neck. My hope is that after the insanity of the moment has passed, that fan will try to find a way to give the medal back to that young man. Eventually he will rue the moment he tossed his prize away.
The incident begs the question, is our habit of giving children's sports teams medals whether they win or not a good idea? Maybe the little guys need to learn at an earlier date that some teams win and some teams lose, that there are prizes for winning and not for losing but that regardless of the outcome of a 'game' everyone really is still a winner if they played the game fair and square and gave it their all.
I guess I just don't see the need for competition at all..just friendly games for fun SHOULD be enough.