The Highs and Lows of Sport

January 11, 2019

Doug MacQuarrie, Chief Operating Officer, CCES

Canadians in quarter-final play on the world stage, have experienced the highs and lows of sport in recent weeks. The loss of the Canadian Junior Men’s hockey team to Finland in Vancouver; in New Zealand, Eugenie Bouchard, showing great promise in the Auckland Open, had a very close loss to No. 2 seed Julia Goerges. Meanwhile, Bianca Andreescu in the same tournament shocked the world – none more shocked than Andreescu herself – by defeating Venus Williams to advance to the semi-finals*.

Social media has been abuzz. Sadly, not all the comments about these results have been appropriate – also revealing highs and lows. The junior men’s team, and captain Maxime Comtois in particular, have been the target of some on-line rage and bullying following their loss. (We can easily understand that no one is more disappointed in their quarter-final loss than the players on the junior men’s team.) Thankfully, supportive comments have also been posted online for Bouchard, Comtois and the junior men’s team as a whole.

Sport is a powerful and emotional teacher. By its very nature, sport is a contest where the outcome is unknown. Opponents compete to win each time they take the ice, court or other field of play. A fundamental objective of sport is winning. Nevertheless, the reality of sport – when tournament championships are on the line – is that there are more losers than winners; and that is a tough life lesson. No matter how hard one works in practice or play, no matter how well prepared, no matter how badly one wants to win, every outcome can’t be controlled – another tough lesson. Even chance plays a part: a lucky bounce, a deflection, a broken stick, a missed opportunity, all of these are a part of sport. Anyone involved in sport will have similar experiences throughout their lives – be it on the world stage or at the community sports facility.

That is why – win, lose or draw – we must keep winning in perspective. Eugenie Bouchard, Maxime Comtois and Bianca Andreescu all represented themselves and their country with distinction. All of them demonstrated great character in their response to their quarter-final fate. It would seem that each of them has reflected on the experience while keeping the big picture in mind.

Winning is important, yes. However, winning is only one of the many rewards that sport offers. 

If you keep the principles of True Sport – Go For It, Play Fair, Respect Others, Keep It Fun, Stay Healthy, Include Everyone, and Give Back – in mind when you play or watch sport, all these quarter-final experiences and sport in general provide so much more, regardless of the outcome: that is the BIG picture. Those of you that supported Maxime, Eugenie and Bianca – good on you!

Those who piled insult on injury for Maxime and the junior men’s hockey team, please take a step back and consider the BIG picture. Consider how the seven principles of True Sport make sport such a powerful tool to help build individual character and strengthen our communities.

*Bianca Andreescu went on to win her semi-final only to lose the final of the tournament to Julia Goerges.