Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Chilliwack Times week of Feb. 22, 2010)


Good to see kickass attitude


  By John Martin


The attraction of professional and amateur sports is much more than the actual game or contest itself. Sports have always been a microcosm of the larger society and are very much a metaphor for how we live our lives. Part of the popularity of athletics is the way in which they embody and exhibit the best and worst in each of us. All those traits and characteristics that make us human are exhibited for all to see on the ice rink, baseball diamond, soccer field and any number of other sport facilities. Sacrifice, teamwork, conceit and selfishness are just a sampling of these qualities. Perseverance and narcissism. Elation and heartbreaking disappointment. Integrity and dishonesty. Heroism and insolence.

In addition to the attraction of the athletic event itself, it's the manner in which sports remind us of what we wish we could be that makes them so popular. We live vicariously through larger than life sports figures. For many, sports give meaning and clarity to the world around them.

It's with this thought in mind that I see something especially unique taking place at the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Canadian squad, in fourth place in the medal count, as I write, has nothing in common with those who carried the Maple Leaf in previous Olympic Games. They have an attitude; an attitude that unequivocally suggests confidence and tenacity that is very much, well, I guess you could say, very much "un-Canadian." After all, we're supposed to be the quiet, polite, apologetic people that never raise their voices and are quick to turn the other cheek.

No more.

Last week the women's hockey squad obliterated Slovakia in an 18-0 slaughter. They were lambasted for running up the score and humiliating their totally outclassed opponents. In days of old the team would have regretfully apologized and promised to be more sportsmanlike next time. Instead, they went out 48 hours later and clobbered the Swiss 10-1. Other Canadian athletes, even those with few medal hopes, are showing similar spunk and displaying something we've rarely seen from the home team - a kickass attitude. While many commentators are lamenting this newfound confidence and bravado, others like what we see.

And it's not just at the Olympic Games Canadians are out to own the podium. For the first time in a generation we're punching above our weight on the international stage. Our humanitarian efforts in devastated Haiti are second to no one. Our military, after more than a decade of neglect and abuse, is once again a priority and receiving the funding, attention and respect it so richly deserves. We refused to be pushed around and extorted at the Copenhagen climate change shakedown charade. Despite raising the ire of France and the rest of Europe, Canada has been adamant in maintaining that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself against cowardly terrorist attacks --a stance that would have been unthinkable five years ago.

Several pundits at home and abroad have expressed concern that the Canadian Olympians are eroding the popular image of Canadians as insecure, meek sorts who don't speak out of turn. Our athletes, apparently, are exhibiting a "winning is important" attitude that just isn't consistent with the subordinate Canadian persona.

Personally, I find this new attitude a breath of fresh air. Hopefully, if finds its way to the men's hockey team real quick.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at


Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2010