123108 World Junior Hockey: Slovakia vs Finland, Ottawa, ON

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New Year’s Eve 2008*: me and m’lady taking in an early-evening World Juniors hockey contest between Slovakia and Finland at the very-nearby Civic Centre arena, tickets courtesy of my good friend Huss.  Slovakia wins 3-2.  Huss and I would see them win again two days later in the quarter finals against the American team but woe to the Slovakians, Sweden would go on to beat them in the semis before getting beat themselves by the hometown Canadians (natch), who took home (kept at home?) the gold medal for a fifth consecutive year.  Hooray.

The game was really fun.  Watching the World Junior Championships on tv has long been part of the Snelgrove family Christmas tradition and I was quite excited for the opportunity to attend some games in person.  After the game m’lady and I bee-lined it from Lansdowne Park to Maverick’s to spend NYE proper with The Spades and most of our friends which – as I tend to point out – is another story.

Now, you must know by now that there’s no way I’m gonna dust off my hands with a job well done and step away from this ticket story with barely a paragraph-and-a-half spilled, right?  This is the part where I expound on the grandiose and colourful ticket stub or bellyache about how the Ottawa Senators should have built their big arena right there where the Civic Centre is or about the price of beers or tickets or or or…

Well, you know I hate to disappoint so here ‘goes:  What is the difference between a game and a sport?  Hmm?  If you find this question easy to answer then you’re a lot more or a lot less something or other than I am.

Is Monopoly a sport?  Of course not!  Is hockey a game?  Well…I suppose it is.  At least they call it a game.  Same with football and basketball, all of which are certainly sports as well.  Boxing is no game – I’m pretty sure of that – and poker just can’t be a sport, right?  I started to think that a contest requiring physicality qualified it as a sport, but then is tag a sport?  British Bulldog?  Playing catch is a game but as soon as there are nine of you per side it becomes a sport.  Tennis has got to be a sport but how about tether ball?  Hopscotch vs long-jump: both sports?  Both games?  Is keeping score required to elevate a game to a sport?  If so, are little kids that play in those leagues where they don’t keep track of the goals actually playing sports or not?  Is a NASCAR driver an athlete?  How about a jockey?  Or are they both just gamers?  How about chess…game?  Probably, but they do call them “matches” don’t they?  Just like soccer: “matches”.

Is limbo a sport?  Century Club?  Skipping stones, flying kites?  Running, jumping, yelling, singing?  Tug of war?  Paintball?  Pinball?  Skeet shooting?  Pole sitting?  Hunting?  Archery?  Crazy eights, hog-tying, dance-a-thons, skydiving, competitive eating?  That thing where you try to win a car by being the last person to keep your hand on it?  Are they sports?  Are they games?  You tell me, ‘cuz I sure don’t know.

Anyway, I mentioned that Slovakia won, right?  3-2.  It was a pretty good game.

*As in: the final day of 2008, as opposed to the day preceding 2008.  It’s another one of those annoyingly vague terms that is deeply entrenched in our vocabulary.  This one is not nearly as bad as “biweekly”, “next Thursday”, or “move it back an hour”, but it’s in the ballpark.

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