Tuesday, June 13, 2006

2006 World Cup
Canada: A nation of bystanders

Yesterday on theglobeandmail.com offered a picture perfect example of how new technology and sports journalism can really benefit readers — wherever they, or the newspaper's staff, may be.

At globeandmail.com's World Cup blog, reader Ian Clapp from London, England, left a comment on the site at 3:58 a.m. (all times EDT):
I know that you take most of your game write-ups from the wire services, but it would be appreciated if there could be a constant 'canadian spin' put on the stories. I appreciate this might be hard in alot of cases, but for teams that play in CONCACAF at least, there should be considerable effort to bring stories around to the canadian perspective.

It won't be until there is adequate canadian identification with both the national team and where it sits in the world's pecking order that soccer will ever gain enough buy in by the general public to generate the sponsorship required to fund a decent program from top to bottom. If anyone cares that is. If T&T (pop'n 1.3million) can make it and pull off a draw against sweden, then surely the 32million people in canada can scrape together 11 decent players. T&T now have 1 more world cup point than Canada does!
Good stuff (although two staffers are providing a great deal of the paper's game coverage, not to mention all of the contributors adding depth via the blog).

An informed reader makes a reasonable request — and asks a question I think a lot of Canadians bring up every four years as we watch the global hoedown take place overseas.

At 1:01 p.m. on the blog, senior columnist Stephen Brunt weighed in from Gelsenkirchen, Germany, where he was covering one of the games:
And for the reader who wanted more of a Canadian spin, well here's some....listening to the huge U.S. contingent cheering away in the stadium, not like Europeans, but (appropriately) like North Americans, it was hard to to wonder what it would be like to attend a World Cup game where they played O Canada, and where a big hunk of the crowd was decked out in red and white. What would it look like, what would it sound like?

Alas, with the fiasco of the Frank Yallop resignation last week, I fear that my time on earth won't be long enough to witness that.
A few hours later in his column for the next day's (today's) paper, Brunt picked up on the same theme again, seemingly transforming one curious reader's on-line comment into some pretty prose — and doing so in the course of a little more than 12 hours:
To be a Canadian at the World Cup has meant, for most of us, being a bystander, a fifth wheel. There was that one appearance back in 1986 in Mexico, with no goals scored. Since then, while the national team has been nowhere to be found, there has been a smattering of Canada here and there, in Italy and the United States and in France, Japan and Korea and now Germany, the odd Maple Leaf flag looking slightly out of place in stadiums where we have no rooting interest. There has been a deep longing — in some circles, anyway — to be part of the party.
Perhaps I'm making more out of this ebb and flow than needed, but I found it all rather interesting. And, as someone who has only a fleeting, every-four-years sort of interest in the sport, I felt like I learned a lot simply reading through all of the day's material.

As it should be.


At 2:06 p.m., June 13, 2006, Anonymous Boo Radley said...

I was talking with my friend yesterday and we were very disappointed by Canada’s poor soccer performance. As you’ve mentioned, out of 30 million Canadians finding 11 good players shouldn’t be a miracle.

I believe that better soccer awareness might help improve Canada’s soccer status. Hopefully after this world cup, interest in soccer will increase.


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