- Rick Reilly, Columnist, ESPN.com
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Apparently, I may have inadvertently upset some of our Canadian friends with my recent column in which I pointed out that Vancouver is somewhat rainy, as evidenced by a mallard winning the women's moguls.
Many people thought I was making fun of this fine city, such as local resident Kev Holloway, who wrote: "Yeah, it's tough living in a city that's consistently voted as one of the best places to live. ... Bitter much?"
And Pat Gibson, of Calgary, who wrote, "Are you sure you weren't in Michigan?"
So, as they say in Canada, sore-ee aboot that. I love Vancouver. I love rain. I love algae growing between my toes.
I am also sore-ee that:
• Vancouver's opening ceremonies were so boring that I wanted to jam my official Olympic drumstick into my brain and stir. Of course, Vancouver had to follow the greatest spectacle in theatrical history -- the opening ceremonies of the Summer Games in Beijing in 2008 -- but, wow, most of it was duller than a Mennonite knitting workshop. Although I liked the Coca-Cola polar bear.
• The big, emotional moment -- the lighting of the Official Olympic Giant Reefers -- was botched. Only three of the Official Olympic Giant Reefers came up, and points are deducted for going for the quad and pulling only a triple. Although I did like torchbearer Wayne Gretzky being taken to the lighting of the Official Olympic Giant Outdoor Reefers in the back of a pickup truck. It was just him back there, holding on to a steel bar, riding through town. That is what's known as a Canadian limo.
• Vancouver officials tried to tell people that "3 billion people" watched the opening ceremonies. Three billion? No. Not possible, no way, no how. Consider: There are around 6.8 billion people on Earth. Three billion is 44 percent of the world's population. Really? Forty-four percent of the world's population watched, when approximately 1.5 billion people live without electricity? When nearly 2.2 billion are children? No.
Huddling man by a dung fire in Mongolia: Whatchu doing tonight, Gorg?
Gorg: Dude! Watching the opening ceremonies on TV! I'm all about k.d. lang!
Huddling man: What's a TV?
• The Canadian team's promise to "own the podium" has not exactly come true yet. After the first weekend of competition, 30 medals were handed out, and only three went to Canadians. Perhaps Canada is leasing the podium out?
Anyway, my apologies, Canada. You are a very kind people living in a beautiful country that has given the world many kinds of bacon. As soon as it stops raining, I would like to make up for it by awarding the following Canadian citizens gold in other disciplines:
• The Canadian Olympic women's hockey team, for beating Slovakia 18-0. Slovakia beat Bulgaria 82-0 almost two years ago in pre-Olympic qualifying. Eighty-two to nothing! Suck on that, Slovakia! How's it feel? Canuck women rule!
• The Canadian fans who wait more than four hours at Robson Square to ride a 30-second zip line. And they wait happily! And they say "sore-ee" when they bump elbows accidentally! Do they realize they could build their own 30-second zip-line ride in four hours?
• The guy who writes the messages that run on the front of the public buses here. About one-third of them come with a "SORRY" in huge letters, followed three seconds later by "OUT OF SERVICE." You know a country is polite when the buses apologize to you.
Really, do not blame Canada. Blame me. And for all the Canadians who now hate me, I offer up this story of vengeance, which involved me, my wife and accidental nudity:
We arrived in Vancouver to find our hotel had screwed up our reservation. We had nowhere to go, so the hotel allowed us to work out in the empty fitness room and shower there. But the women's shower didn't work, so my wife, Cynthia -- a curvaceous blonde who would make a male figure skater drop his sequin gun -- decided she'd shower in the men's locker room. "But there's no shower curtain in there," she told me. "So you have to watch the door."
Well, we were so alone in there, I never dreamed anybody would come in. Which is how I managed to miss the pool guy.
I heard a kind of muffled shriek, followed by the pool guy coming out of the men's locker room with a squeegee in his hand and a quarter grin on his face, followed 30 seconds later by my wife, furious, wrapped in a towel, tromping across the floor, leaving behind a stream of water and whispering/screaming at me: "I thought you were going to watch the door!"
OK, Canada. We're even.
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26mEthan Sherwood Strauss