Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Costas on Canada

I attended a dinner the other night headlined by the great Bob Costas, play-by-play man for the 1979-80 Chicago Bulls and America's best sportscaster.  He was predictably funny and thought-provoking.

I won't repeat his pat twenty minutes of after-dinner material because I'm a fan and I don't want to prevent the guy from continuing to pick up five-figure checks on the rubber-chicken circuit.  I will, however, repeat a grace note he struck as the dinner wrapped up.

After his canned remarks, Costas entertained questions from the audience on such subjects as steroids in sports, NBC's narrow-minded Olympics programming choices, and the increasingly lethargic pace of major league baseball games.  (He pointed out that a recently discovered Kinescope reveals that Game 7 of the 1960 World Series between Pittsburgh and the New York Yankees, a 10-9 slugfest, was played in just 2 hours, 37 minutes.)

The final question of the evening asked Costas to name the most memorable sporting event he's ever attended.  After thinking for a moment, he said the 2010 Winter Olympic hockey gold medal game between the United States and Canada would be hard to beat:

"You've got the Olympics host playing their national sport.  They make it to the title game against a talented American team that beat them earlier in the tournament.  It's a close, exciting game and as time is running out, the U.S. ties it and sends it to sudden-death overtime, where Canada wins it on a goal by their national darling, Sidney Crosby.  If it had been a movie, no one would have believed it. 
"When we were off the air, because I never would have said this on the air, I said to Al Michaels that the ideal result would be for the U.S. to send it to overtime and Canada to win it.  The U.S.A. wanted to win this game.  Canada needed to win this game.  It was so important to their national identity.  
"You could make a case that this was the greatest moment in the history of Canadian sports.  Winning an Olympic gold medal on Canadian ice against the United States?  It will be remembered in Canada forever.
"If the Americans had won, sure, everyone would have been happy, but would it really resonate as an all-time moment?  Here in Chicago, would everyone rank it up there with the six NBA championships of the great Bulls teams of the 1990s?  The Super Bowl the Bears won in January 1986?  The Cubs winning two of three from the Pirates?"


Mike said...


Anonymous said...

Except . . . who really gives a rat's ass about hockey EXCEPT Canadians?

Ben said...

I don't know... the Chicago Blackhawks are five wins away from the Stanley Cup and the 22,000 Americans at their overtime victory tonight looked to be having a pretty good time.