Canadian women were great reps

Record-setting crowds and unbridled passion for the home team will be the lasting memories of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup of Soccer.
No, the tournament isn’t done yet but it may as well be over for the majority of Canadians following it. That’s because Team Canada had its march to the championship stopped cold with a 2-1 quarter-final loss to England on Saturday.
Tournament organizers will rue the loss of the host country as a Canada-Japan semi-final tomorrow (July 1) in front of 50,000-plus screaming supporters at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
It would have been huge for the sport’s profile in the land of hockey and hosers.
But while the country was proud with the effort in reaching the quarter-finals, I experienced even greater pride in watching Canada’s post-match behaviour.
Despite what had to be a crushing feeling of disappointment that they didn’t go further, the red-clad crowd favourites didn’t shy away from their commitment to not only their fans but to their responsibilities.
Players went over to the heart-broken fans in the stands and instantly brightened their day again by posing for “selfies” and signing autographs.
Find me athletes in any other sport who would do that immediately following the toughest loss of their careers rather than scurry to the safety of their locker-rooms; away from the well-wishers who happened to pay good money to come watch them play and yet couldn’t get even as much as a high-five from their heroes as they depart the playing surface.
I’m thinking that search will end in futility.
Then there was Christine Sinclair, the face of not just women’s soccer in this country but Canadian soccer, period.
The captain, who scored the team’s lone goal against England and who did all she could to will her squad to victory, bravely faced the TV cameras and delivered eloquent responses to what had to be difficult questions to answer after what had just happened to her, her team, and her nation’s dream of World Cup glory.
This country rallied around Team Canada for two glorious weeks for their accomplishments in the heat of battle.
But their greatest accomplishments very well may have been the classy way they handled themselves in defeat.
• • •
I’ll try not to make this a weekly column feature (the odd mistake can be cute; chronic mistakes are most definitely not).
But I do own a “whoops” moment from last week’s story on Fort Frances Lakers’ vice-president Bev Kotnik, who passed away recently.
I had Larry Patrick listed as being on the team’s board of directors, which, in fact, is not the case.
Patrick did a bang-up job as chairman of the Dudley Hewitt Cup tournament here this past spring.
He also is spearheading the upcoming visit by Chicago Blackhawks’ defenceman and former Fort resident Duncan Keith, who will have the Stanley Cup (and possibly the Conn Smythe Trophy) in tow.
My apologies for the error.

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