The One E-mail That Wasn't Insulting

Actually, upon further review, Canadians can be slightly less than nice. To the inbox:

A Canadian team hasn't won a Stanley Cup in 17 years -- that may be true but I think you're missing the bigger picture. Roughly 50% of NHL players are Canadians so we practically win the Cup every year. In fact, if it wasn't for us beaver-loving Canadians there wouldn't even be a league for your sub-par U.S talent to play in.

-- Chris Warden (Toronto)

Let's see: U.S. 5, Canada 3. Would you like to trade for some of our subpar talent before the medal round?

Relax, you sound a little cranky. Was your handgun confiscated at the border?

-- Gordon Robson (Waterloo, Ontario)

No, my umbrella.

Being a Canadian but having lived and worked on both sides of the border, I actually found some humor in your original piece. I thought that you were just trying to make yourself sound ignorant. Now I know that it isn't an act.

-- G (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Thank you?

Are your parents going to judge the sports writing awards for a 12th year?

--Kevin Richardson (Toronto)

No, they've both passed on. Did your parents teach you tact?

Normally love your stuff but I had to stop reading this one after you wrote "Compliment (Canada's) national anthem. It's way better than ours." A slap in the face to all of us who serve for your freedom. Every night our soldiers, airmen, marines and all other servicemen and women end our day with our nation's song. Think twice before you put another nation's heart, soul and pride ahead of ours. To an American that's the depth of what OUR anthem means!

-- Steve Bacci (Wichita, Kan.)

Really? Our national anthem is our "heart, soul and pride"? A song? A song with notes that only one person in 50 can hit? Wouldn't you like to have something catchier to sing at the end of the day? Something easier on the throat? Nobody's dishonoring your service. I thank you for it. But I'm an American, and I vote we come up with a new one. Forget Francis Scott Key. Call Alicia Keys.

No apology required! I laughed my 'arse' off. Anyone whining about that piece must have an icicle stuck up theirs.

-- Paul Murphy (Calgary, Alberta)

Funny you would comment on "us" (Canadians) speaking English - when it's y'all 'merican's that drop "u's" and "gh"s from spelling, not to mention your regional dialects (read Western, Southern, New Yawk). It's friendly banter on your side I am certain - we do apologize much too often here - something our southern neighbours may like to emulate a bit - would make you all a little more bearable internationally. Those "U.S.A." chants are equally as boring, uninspired and don't impress much - but then we know y'all can't spell much down there.

-- Michael Proulx (Toronto)

At least we don't put an "X" at the end of our names for no apparent reason.

You are misguided. 3 medals in (the first) 22 events IS owning the podium by Canadian standards.

-- Aaron Grover (Oshawa, Ontario)

Tell you what, if you guys get to 20 medals during these Olympics, we'll make you the 51st state. How's that?

And speaking of podiums ...

You wondered why Tiger brought up his Buddhist roots -- I'd say it was because his Buddhist mother was sitting in the front row and he was letting her off the hook for her son's extreme self-indulgence.

-- Mike Doege (Macomb, Mich.)

I didn't wonder why he brought it up. I said it was a pointed reference to Fox News' Brit Hume suggesting Tiger give up Buddhism for Christianity. Tiger was raised as both a Christian and a Buddhist. (I was in his childhood room once, and he had a Buddhist shrine on one wall and a crucifix on the other.) During his mea culpa, Woods went out of his way to say he's going back to Buddhism, the religion his mother taught him.

Your comments to Colin Cowherd on the post-Tiger conference are humorous. You were "very impressed how gutsy that was." Really, Rick? You're smarter than that. Gutsy? He finally comes out of hiding 3 months later and that's gutsy?

-- Doug Thompson (Bend, Ore.)

I agree that it was nine weeks too late. I'll never understand why he waited so long. David Letterman apologized before his scandal even hit the Web, and the storm passed in three days. Tiger let this broil for three months, giving every stupid fake e-mail and ridiculous rumor credence because it filled the information vacuum.

Still, it was just so strange to see a man I've known since his freshman year in college, a man I always thought was bulletproof, standing up there exhausted and defeated and small. It was like seeing Superman in pajamas, fumbling for his glasses.

I guess you had to know the man to realize how hard those 13 minutes were for him. The most competitive person I've met, a man who would rather chop off his pinkie than lose to you in anything, standing there and admitting he'd failed, he'd cheated, he'd been a fool. It was astonishing and mind-melting and, yes, gutsy.

I'm disgusted by how many bloggers and columnists and commentators dismissed his confession, made fun of it, called it "robotic" and "insincere." My God, have a heart. The man has been pilloried around the world. He's been a laughingstock from the Azores to Zimbabwe. He's paid a hellacious price, and you could see it in his eyes. How polished and ad lib would you be if you had to slice yourself open in front of 150 million people? If you knew him at all, you knew those words came out of his mouth like spitting up a tumbleweed.

Anyway, on to a lighter subject, such as my newfound love of curling.

My drinking team has a curling problem.

-- David Pritchard (Ottawa)

And a heavier subject, potentially Afghanistan-bound U.S. bobsledder John Napier ...

I served in combat, but it was Desert Storm. If I'm going to die, I'm going to die for a reason. It's unfortunate I can't say the same for John Napier. It's honorable what he's willing to do, but the cause isn't.

-- Mark Mills (Las Vegas)

Wow. Thanks for cheering everybody up.

What writers do you admire?

-- Charlie Calzonetti (Hamilton, Ontario)

They're all Canadian.

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