Monday, February 17, 2014

I love the Olympics and the Native Athletes Representing

I love the Olympics. I can't help it. Ever since I was a kid.

Especially the Winter Olympics where in Canada, my generation grew up with commercials with Nancy Greene that showed you could win a gold medal if you were Canadian and if you ate Mars bars.

As kids, my brothers and cousins built a bob sled run in the snow. In our school in Crane River MB, Metis and First Nations kids learned how to cross country ski and it soon became a province wide competitive sport in the Frontier School system.

Was I programmed by the state to be a proud Canadian by the Olympics? Yes. I was, should I rail against this as I have so many other campaigns. Perhaps.

It's elitist. It is a waste of valuable resources that can be better put towards. It is symbolic of war and is ultimately about physical domination. It is rich countries sticking it to poor countries. Money wins.

I know that some terrible things can be laid at the feet of the Games. "Are you a Nationalist?" I was asked once upon declaring my love of the games to my friend, Jon the Punk Rock Anarchist Photographer. "No," I said defensively. I was upset, because I hate when people label.

Sports is religion in the same way that science is religion. It is something that sustains us. It reminds us of how much we can achieve as human beings.

It's still going to be about talent. Performance drugs are being monitored as well as possible following years of public shaming. It is still going to be about that amazing moment when human beings achieve the highest level.

I feel so proud of our young people representing Canada and competing with great pride, strength, beauty, passion and grit and blood and sweat. It is a beautiful thing to see and I love it. I absolutely love it.

This year there are a number of Native athletes who are making this Winter Olympics the most memorable ever for me.

Carey Price is the starting goaltender for Team Canada Men's Hockey. Price is Ulkatcho Nation from BC will have his chance to create his own legend for a team with Gold on nothing expectations.

Ted Nolan is from Garden River First Nation in Ontario and the former NHL coach of the year and current Buffalo Sabres coach is behind the bench for Latvia. It is the first time a hockey team from this former Soviet bloc nation has made it to the Olympic tournament. It is likely Nolan is a national hero.

Jocelyn Larocque is Metis Nation from Manitoba and is suiting up for Team Canada Women's Hockey and will walk away with either silver or gold from these Olympics. As it is for the men the philosophy is first or last.

TJ. Oshie (Anishinaabe) from Warroad, MN has become the breakout star of the games with his shootout performance against Russia that is already being etched in stone in the Hall of U.S. Olympic Memories. It could very well come down to Oshie versus Price for Olympic Gold.

That would be the Olympic moment of a lifetime for Native people across Turtle Island. Here my love for the great story overwhelms any thoughts of nationalism. Truth be told I would love to see the US win that one it's the best ending for the story.