Thursday, February 20, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
‘Moiling’ for gold in Sochi
“There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men (and women in this case), who moil for gold.”
If you recognized that opening line purloined from “The Cremation of Sam Magee,” kudos and you just might want to start drinking more Kool-aid. Anyway, it is intended to evoke some interest in the Winter Games being played out on the icy and snowy slopes of Sochi, Russia. Unlike the Summer Games which need little or no “interest hypers,” a lot of persons in “our neck of the woods” don’t really get excited about the competitions which have to have a freezing venue in which to operate.
This particular spate of games has had so much attention drawn from areas which really have very little to do with winter sports. Rumors of nefarious occurrences have fueled negative expectations of disasters which caused a good deal of an already shaky fan base to go earthquake.
Just finishing up its first week, the men and women moiling for gold under the stars and stripes have been playing “catch them if you can” behind the Netherlands and Russia. As of Sunday the U.S. and Russia were in a tie at 16, one jewel behind the leading Netherlands.
Now the American hockey team has gone and piqued the interest of the Americas with a one-point, shoot-out win over Russia. Fans who avidly follow the “frozen sports” and vividly recall the “Miracle on Ice” of over three decades ago (my, how time flies) probably had flashbacks. Since the U.S. polished off Slovenia, the faithful could very well be envisioning another “Miracle.” The venue for the game between the U.S. and Russia only accommodated 12K so hundreds of fans couldn’t get tickets.
The interest in the performances of the “kings and queens” of ice and snow is fed to a great degree by the part of the world, country or state in which ones lives. However, invariably some entry, person or team will captivate the attention and admiration a wide segment of viewers. And once again the two-man bobsled team of Winston Watts (pilot) and Marvin Dixon (brakeman), has developed a large following. Nevermind that after two runs they are actually done, finishing 30 out of 30. If the suggestion that all the world loves an underdog is true, these two have it made. They last qualified in 2002 and this year had to go international to get the sponsorship to fund the trip after qualifying. For those of you who aren’t “hep” to bobsledding, the slopes in Jamaica are very short and scarce.
While we are waiting for the final tally, the old homestead is not faring too badly. As mentioned earlier, the three frontrunners still hold the banners in the medal hunt with a breakdown of: Netherlands – 5 (gold), 5 (silver) and 7 (bronze) for a total of 17; Russia – 4 (gold), 7 (silver) and 8 (bronze) for a total of 16; U.S.A – 4 (gold), 4 (silver) and 8 (bronze) for 16.
There is a lot more gold to be “moiled” by our men and women, and some in venues which have never been realized by the U.S., heretofore.
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