MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: And the winner is…

Sports can be cruel when it comes to the fine line between winning and losing

Sports can be cruel when it comes to the fine line between winning and losing. But then that’s what makes it so darn entertaining when there’s so much at stake.

And it seems like there’s been so many examples of heartbreak and oh-so-close scenarios lately that it gives one pause for thought, or at least a reason to muse a little, so to speak.

One close to home is the fantastic finish at the RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A hockey championship at our very own Kal Tire Place.

With less than three minutes left on the clock and a 3-1 lead over the Yorkton Terriers, it looked like the Carleton Place Canadians were going to win their first national championship. But in the same time as it takes for a successful bull ride at the Falkland Stampede, that would be eight seconds, the Terriers scored twice, and went on to win in OT for their very first national title.

Although I was happy for the Terriers, who once were 0-2 in the round-robin and faced elimination in game three only to win four games in a row (apparently they thrive under pressure), I couldn’t help but feel the pain for the Canadians who only minutes earlier had the trophy within their grasp, not to mention a couple of good chances to win it in OT that just didn’t quite materialize.

The Canadians, looking understandably shellshocked, then had to watch the Terriers celebrate what could of, would of, should of…..been their’s if only the puck had bounced…..

However I’ll say this about the squad from Ottawa valley – to a player, and the coaching staff as well – they heartily congratulated the winners with handshakes, often hugs as well, mere minutes after an exceedingly painful loss. It showed class and revealed to the crowd that the players on the ice were all winners in most of the categories that really count. Well done.

However Yorkton gets gold and Carleton gets silver and that’s how history will record it for ever and ever, amen. And the difference is a post here or a bounce there or a….tough stuff. But thrilling too.

Even the NHL playoff game between the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night provided some fascinating fodder in the department of separating the winners and losers. The Rangers only force it to overtime when the puck goes off a Montreal defenceman’s skate with mere seconds left on the clock to tie it up at 2-2. Fans of the team fear the worst.

And then the Habs win because it goes off a player’s face and into the net in OT to give the Canadiens some life in the series, down two games to one. If the Rangers had somehow got the same break, they would have been up three games to none and the series would have been all but done. Again, the difference between winning and losing is as fine as a skate blade, or as random as the nose on someone’s face.

And then there was Mike Weir coming out of nowhere after all these years to make a run at winning a PGA tournament last weekend.

He eventually came up two strokes short but is likely thinking about that birdie putt on 17 that just missed and would have put pressure on the eventual first-time winner coming home. Yet, a guy who hasn’t won in recent memory and is getting on in PGA years earns a runner-up cheque, and he’s a loser? Hardly.

That’s the thing, just getting to the RBC final game is a huge accomplishment and against all odds, as is getting to the Stanley Cup semifinals, and being on the leader board on a Sunday in a PGA tournament (not to mention being a Masters champion and the pride of Canada), so these people are all winners on so many levels.

But thanks to the nature of sports it may take them a little time and perspective until they feel that way again.