|Christine Sinclair, Canadian women's soccer team captain|
Except that hasn't settled it. Not by a long shot. Not for me and hopefully not for the people who are actually in charge of such decisions.
I am not saying that Christine Sinclair should not be part of the discussion. She was the leading scorer in a soccer tournament that resulted in Canada's first medal in a "traditional" team sport at the Summer Olympics since 1936. She was captain of our women's soccer team, an inspirational leader and a role model, especially now, for many little girls all over this country. But if she hadn't been a soccer player and had performed many of the same feats, would she be such an overwhelming choice for everyone? If Christine Sinclair had chosen to play, say, volleyball and been the leading point-getter on a bronze-medal winning team, would there be a similar Twitter campaign with so many followers? I sincerely doubt it. Many of you who know me are aware of my intense dislike of the sport of soccer and I will admit it may be colouring my judgment here; but then that is exactly what I am accusing it of doing to millions of Canadians who are so convinced that Sinclair should be the flag-bearer on Sunday night that they refuse to even discuss it. This is one of the reasons I really dislike soccer: its unfathomable hold on so many otherwise rational people the world over. But I don't wish this post to devolve into another of my rants about soccer; rather, I wish to discuss the many other excellent athletes who should be mentioned in equal measures as flag-bearer hopefuls.
|Rosie MacClennan, owner of Canada's only gold in 2012|
|The incomparable Clara Hughes|
credit: Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS
|Emily Batty, competing against the course and herself|
credit: Frank Gunn, CP
|Damian Warner had an incredible first-ever Olympics|
credit: Matt Dunham, AP
credit: Oliver Morin, AFP/Getty Images
So yes, let's consider Christine Sinclair for the chance to carry our flag into the stadium on Sunday night in London. She's definitely been one of the best Canadian stories at these Olympics. But is what she did -- scoring a hat-trick in a losing effort and then failing to score at all in the bronze medal game -- such an amazing achievement that it was head and shoulders above all of the other athletes' performances I have mentioned here? Or is it, again, a case of the "World's Most Popular Sport" raising its ugly head and causing people to lose all sense of reason? And let's not forget that soccer is a team effort: what about the amazing save that Desiree Scott made late in the second half to keep the bronze-medal match scoreless? Or the coach, John Herdman, who took a team that lost all three of their matches at the 2011 World Cup and guided them, with minimal personnel changes, to our nation's first-ever Olympic medal in Soccer mere months later? Perhaps, if he wasn't British, he should be the one carrying our flag?
As I have stated already, my vote is for Rosie MacLennan; however, I would be happy with any one of the other choices I have spoken of in this piece. And if it does turn out to be Christine Sinclair, then I will be very proud of her as well.
But it will likely make me resent the inexplicable popularity of soccer all the more.