National Pride

Kevin O’Brien talks about national pride in discussion surrounding my comments about the Olympics.

While I’m loathe to dip into the religious well to counter, consider this description of pride as one of the Seven Deadly Sins:

Seeing ourselves as we are and not comparing ourselves to others is humility. Pride and vanity are competitive. If someone else’s pride really bothers you, you have a lot of pride.
I suppose this doesn’t really do much to counter Kevin’s argument. Or rather it hangs us both.

That all said, I continue to fail to see how success in athletic competition equates with goodness as a country. If my country has a lower child poverty rate, or a higher literacy rate, or contributes to global understanding in some meaningful way, I’m happy to be prideful.

If a bunch of my neighbours succeed at sliding a piece of rubber around a piece of ice better than people across an invisible border, well, I suppose I can laud them for their prowess. But perhaps we should be embarassed that we’re so distracted by the irrelevance rather than taking pride at something to which our personal connection is so tenuous.


Dan James's picture
Dan James on February 27, 2002 - 17:32 Permalink

Johnny's picture
Johnny on February 27, 2002 - 18:08 Permalink

I’ve held my tongue until now, but can do so no longer. Its time for me to explain why I am proud of the Olympic hockey teams, ladies and mens.

<img src=”1by1.gif” width=”25” height=”1”>I am proud because the sport of hockey is something that almost everyone in our extremely vast country can relate to and understand.

<img src=”1by1.gif” width=”25” height=”1”>I’m proud because Canada fought the cold war on a hockey rink.

<img src=”1by1.gif” width=”25” height=”1”>I’m proud because Canadians remember where they were when big goals were scored, not when Kennedy was shot.

<img src=”1by1.gif” width=”25” height=”1”>I’m proud because a few weeks before the Olympics, a friend of mine played his first NHL game with Olympic MVP Joe Sakic.

<img src=”1by1.gif” width=”25” height=”1”>I’m proud because on Sunday, I had a doughnut for breakfast and six beers for lunch and watched the game with rapt attention like a little kid, with ten million other people from Canada.

<img src=”1by1.gif” width=”25” height=”1”>I’m proud because when I sit down to watch Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday Night and I know my brothers in Saskatoon and Ontario are watching, I don’t feel lonely.

<img src=”1by1.gif” width=”25” height=”1”>I’m proud because hockey has a lore and a language all its own, and lore and language can capture people’s imagination. Maybe its not right, but high literacy rates don’t capture people’s imagination in the same way (Oddly enough, the Vancouver Sun’s Literacy Campaign was backed principally by the Vancouver Canucks, several of whom stood on street corners on a chilly November morning selling newspapers to raise money and awareness).

<img src=”1by1.gif” width=”25” height=”1”>I don’t know if its ‘right’ or not, but I feel pride, and so do a lot of other people.

Dan James's picture
Dan James on February 27, 2002 - 18:14 Permalink

my previous post with ” instead of ‘.

C.S. Lewis on pride:

We say in English that a man is ‘proud’ of his son, or his father, or his school, or regiment, and it may be asked whether ‘pride’ in this sense is a sin. I think it depends on what, exactly, we mean by ‘proud of’. Very often, in such sentences, the phrase ‘is proud of means ‘has a warm-hearted admiration for’. Such an admiration is, of course, very far from being a sin. But it might, perhaps, mean that the person in question gives himself airs on the ground of his distinguished father, or because he belongs to a famous regiment. This would, clearly, be a fault; but even then, it would be better than being proud simply of himself. To love and admire anything outside yourself is to take one step away from utter spiritual ruin; though we shall not be well so long as we love and admire anything more than we love and admire God.”

Ann Thurlow's picture
Ann Thurlow on February 27, 2002 - 19:54 Permalink

I would like to understand why the men’s game was a bigger deal than the women’s game. The women are closer to the Olympian ideal — they play the sport for the love of it and, by no means, for compensation. And, despite horrible officiating, they just kept on plugging, kept their cool — and didn’t complain…not like some pouty mouthed McDonald’s shill I could mention. In the C.S. Leiws sense of the word, I was proud of those women. I am not prouder of my country as a result of their victory, but, I’d have to admit, I’m prouder of my gender.
I hope my friend Johnny also had beer and doughnuts when the women were on the ice.

Johnny's picture
Johnny on February 27, 2002 - 20:02 Permalink

Ann: I didn’t have any beer or doughnuts on hand during the Women’s game, but I had several Diet Cokes, and watched with rapt attention like a little kid. In fact, I thought the women’s final was more exciting than the men’s, and I greatly admired their ability to remain calm and play hard without pouting about the admittedly brutal officiating. There is definitely something more compelling for me about a group of truly amateur athletes competing solely for the love of the game. I also agree that Gretzky has totally prostituted himself with those god-awful McDonald’s commercials, and I’m embarassed for him. He’s no Hayley Wickenheiser.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on February 27, 2002 - 20:58 Permalink

I’d say that if you’re not personally teaching kids to read, and are fostering literacy only by paying taxes and not voting for the anti-literacy candidates, then you’re no more entitled to take pride in Canada’s high literacy than you are to take pride in the performance of the nationally funded athletes. If you do feel pride about literacy and don’t feel it about Olympic gold, then I think that’s an expression of preference, whether conscious or not. I notice nobody here is trying to justify their feelings. But then that’s what makes feelings great.

Alan's picture
Alan on February 27, 2002 - 21:59 Permalink

I am proud of that Byelorussian goalie who held off the Swedes because he played the game beyond his potential (his only prize other than winning Central Junior B Hockey Leauge’s player of the year in the mid-90’s) and surpassed all expectations. While I admire many of the Canadian men greatly (just as I do many of the Yanks, Czechs, Swedes, etc.) they all just achieved finally what has been expected. It was Canada’s turn, sure, but the person who changed the tournament and probably did as much to assure our pros got a gold is sitting in a very unsophistocated Stalinist apartment block tonight in a country with a troubled political reality and we will never hear from him again. He is my hockey hero right now. What’s his name???

Johnny's picture
Johnny on February 27, 2002 - 23:26 Permalink

His name is Andrei Mezin, he plays in the German Elite Leaugue, and probably makes quite a nice living doing so.

Alan's picture
Alan on February 27, 2002 - 23:38 Permalink

Well then I can feel better about my new hero. Maybe I will hunt him down and get me a signed photo. He never deserved the hook against Canada. They were going to get smoked anyway.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on February 28, 2002 - 14:19 Permalink

The mens game was a bigger deal than the women’s? I guess it was if you think so… I sure didn’t. Let the record show the women ended the 50 year hockey gold drought.. the men ended a 3 day drought. But why be proud of one’s gender because they won? How silly would it be for me to say that I’m proud of my gender because the men won? Like all comments that fall under the umbrella of politically correct scrutiny, stuff like that only makes sense when it survives being turned around; gender pride clearly does not.

Ann Thurlow's picture
Ann Thurlow on February 28, 2002 - 16:40 Permalink

Oh Kevin…that is such horse****. Men are proud of their gender all the time — and naturally assume it is superior — that goes without saying. If that was not the case, equal ink would have been deveoted to the coverage of the women’s game — and there would have been an equivalant surge of nationalist pride when the women won. I am not trying to be politically correct — I think the women outclassed the men by miles, is all. And I’m sad more people didn’t notice it.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 1, 2002 - 03:15 Permalink

While tending to all the necessary correctness I can muster and admitting having a slight crush on Haley (got one on Stevie Y, too)…lets see them play against each other before we drive into the deep end of that pool. All excelled, are worthy and — frankly — almost as much as my new hero Mezin — the womens team exceeded a bit more than the mens (mmmm…maybe) but the mens team is revered and the womens respected because the women’s team is behind the mens in its skills development curve in the game. I hope they catch up. I hope they kick the NHL players butts one day, but we cannot say orange is blue or four is seven. Males may have loud bloated egos but that does not change the fact. It is about the game and not the players.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on March 5, 2002 - 22:50 Permalink

I agree the women outclassed the men in Olympic hockey but we part there. The amount of ink the women got has more to do with what women watch on TV than any amount of male gender-pride (which I think is non-existent in all but those few puffy twits we find hanging out by the free-weights). Honestly, I really don’t know any men who harbour gender pride except for those who do it rhetorically; Tim Allen comes to mind. However, I know lots of women who have gender pride (married one) and, while I’ve learned about and grown fond of many of the principles of feminism, that’s one that I just can’t understand much. If it mattered more I’d spend more time on it. Gender seems much more important to women than to men

Amande Asanatae's picture
Amande Asanatae on February 9, 2004 - 19:52 Permalink

I AM CANADIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!