Some great hockey was played this past weekend when Canada battled Sweden for gold at the IIHF World Junior Championship.
Also on display was a world class example of poor sportsmanship, as Swedish captain Lias Andersson threw his silver medal into the crowd.
We know that at the highest levels of sports, much importance is placed on winning.
And with much of the world watching, losing a gold-medal match in your last chance before aging out of the under-20 competition is no doubt disappointing, if not heart-breaking.
In that context, the tears shed by some of the young Swedish players are understandable.
We can also understand Andersson being overcome by emotion and frustration after his team failed to achieve its goal.
Despite their skill, these are still just teenagers, some of whom have been working toward such a moment most of their lives.
Andersson’s comments afterwards, that he already had a world u-18 silver and missed his last chance to win junior gold, further show his mental state and maturity level.
“… so this sucks,” he said.
But tossing the medal away doesn’t make it suck any less.
Only more so.
For him, because clips of that display could follow him for the rest of his hockey-playing life.
We hope they don’t. We hope sometime in the future, maybe when the New York Rangers’ first-round pick is playing in the NHL, he’ll redeem himself.
Maybe one day he’ll get to experience the feeling of winning a major championship, to look across the ice at the sad faces of his opponents and remember what that feels like, and see what losing with dignity looks like, what leaders do in the face of adversity, setting an example for others.
Then he will skate over and shake their hands.
– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News