You probably can guess what happened next: a bunch of mouth-breathing cretins took to Facebook and Twitter and bashed the team for having the temerity to express their sad emotions in public where everyone could see.
I’m not going to waste one word defending the team; there’s nothing to defend. I’m going on offense instead. I’m going to say the things the team perhaps would like to say but won’t because they’re admirable, responsible USA Hockey ambassadors.
I have the luxury of not wearing the United States flag on my shoulder when I take the ice. I am not a public figure who represents my country on television. I’m a private citizen and I’ve got a few choice words for you keyboard cowboys who like to kick people when they’re down. So buckle up, Sparky.
How sad you are, you emotional coasters who have no idea what it’s like to sacrifice so much of yourself for an unknown. To love unconditionally something you have no control over. What a shallow existence you must have in this world, skimming through life’s experiences, one numb monochromatic day after another. How sad.
How small you are, tearing down strangers awash in their most agonizing moments. Do you feel better now? Stronger and smarter and more powerful than these women who have accomplished more than your pea brains can even conceive? You hold on to that illusion, pumpkin, ’cause it’s unlikely you’ll ever sniff competence in real life much less be celebrated for excellence.
How cowardly you are, hiding behind your aliases and avatars. Surely you’ll share your criticisms and helpful behavioral suggestions with the team when you go see them play? Oh, you didn’t know they play games other than at the Olympics? You weren’t aware they went on a pre-Olympic tour with stops in Burlington, Grand Forks and St. Paul? Oh. Well guess what, they play games other than at the Olympics. And they usually do a pre-Olympic tour and play in cities like Burlington, Grand Forks and St. Paul. Now that you know can I count on you to speak to the team in person so you can tell them how you feel? Right. Cowards.
How duplicitous you are. That means two-faced, Einstein. You’d prefer these weeping women hide their emotional hysterics behind closed doors so no one need suffer their tear-stained faces or classless displays of disappointment. Because this is the time for the winners to celebrate and OMG how selfish are these girls for stealing the spotlight from the Canadians, right? It’s their turn to be happy, eh! But then you’d just blast them for that, for not conforming to your vaporous, shifting expectations of how little ladies should act. How duplicitous.
How hypocritical you are: you’re certainly not grunting positive mouth-noises toward these women. You exemplify the very same negativity you claim they’re exhibiting. The crushing loss of their dream is a valid reason for tears. What’s your excuse for whining? You’ve lost nothing. Invested nothing. Are you mad because you wasted two hours watching a game you barely understand because that’s what was cool at the moment and now you don’t get to be cool too? I’m
sorry pleased to inform you no amount of fist-pounding posturing can hide your hypocrisy.
The fact you fingerwaggers think any Olympian requires advice about how to feel about a medal is pathetic. Did you plumb the vast depths of your experience as an athletic champion for those pearls of wisdom? Yes, the second-place t-shirt you got for the President’s Day pub crawl during your junior year of college is absolutely comparable. Team USA doesn’t need your self-centered two cents. They’ll feel pride each time they remember their Olympic experience whether you approve or not.
Then while you’re skipping your workout because it’s cold or you have a hangnail or forgot your favorite socks, they’re lacing ‘em up and hitting the ice. And when the first session of their two-a-days is over they’re going to tack another 3:26 on as a reminder that 55 minutes is not 60. When they finish a cardio session they’ll sprint for an extra 55 seconds because there’s another gold medal at stake in four years and the journey down the road to Pyeongchang has already begun and champions don’t settle for second best.
Praise Granato for that. Team USA should never be satisfied with losing. This isn’t the Oscars; these women aren’t just happy to be nominated. They play to win, every game, every time. So you take your rec league participation medal and slither on down to the bar and drown your mediocre existence in cheap beer and pork rinds. And in 2018 when you jump back on the women’s hockey bandwagon on the day of the gold medal game, we’ll make ample room… and keep the exit route clear for when you turn the channel back to Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
The U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team will succeed in spite of your fair-weather fandom. And when they earn that next Olympic gold medal, when they climb the podium while joyous tears splash down onto the ice, maybe then you’ll understand. Maybe then you’ll grasp the concepts of loyalty and sacrifice and team. Maybe.
But I doubt it. Instead you’ll pull on your cloaks of anonymity and cry foul about something else. You sad, small, cowardly, duplicitous, hypocritical, self-important, pathetic Olympic Medalists in Nothing.