COLUMN: This summer will be ‘foreign’ for me

International sporting events, rather than the weather, appear as though they will determine how I spend my time this summer.

International sporting events, rather than the weather, appear as though they will determine how I spend my time this summer.

For example, we’ve just had two weeks or so of the Euro Cup football championships, the final result of which will be known by the time you read this.

Anyone who follows the ponies was also held breathless recently in anticipation of a Canadian, remote as it was, component to the Triple Crown. Unfortunately, at virtually the last minute, the horse pulled up lame and was unable to complete its challenge to the history books.

And some weeks ago, Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal won the prestigious Giro d’Italia, and this weekend began his quest for supremacy in cycling’s premier event, the Tour de France.

So there will go much of July, captivated by the television coverage of the amazing endurance of the riders and the often spectacular scenery of the Tour  … if nothing else, I get an armchair visit to Europe, marveling at just how spectacular is the countryside and mountain vistas.

B.C. is outstanding, but it doesn’t hold sole rights to being “beautiful.”

While bike racing, and the Tour in particular, has been tainted with doping scandals, most of the elite riders are competing without “enhancements.”

Their phenomenal fitness levels that allow them to race, usually uphill, 190 kilometers a day for three weeks is a demonstration of extreme conditioning. Compare that to the 15- to 20-second shifts pro hockey players deliver. The bike races are giving it full out for hours on end!

Even if you are not a cycling fan, some time spent watching the Tour de France will you get hooked.

Then, as the Tour winds down, the London Summer Olympics will bring on breathless anticipation of Canadian wins – rowing, kayaking, and with luck, track and field, the triathlon, pool sports and possibly even another cycling victory.

The lawn and yard will suffer, but when I look out the window and see how slowly things have been growing around here lately, there likely won’t be a lot of stuff to worry about, especially if the next couple of months (if wishes were horses…) are hot and dry.

Regardless, with Canadians figuring prominently in cycling’s most significant event and, hopefully, in the Summer Olympics, the old Maple Leaf will definitely earn respect on the world stage this year.

So, while international sporting events, foreign economic crises, and impending presidential elections capture media headlines and dominate television coverage, we in this nation – made up mostly of immigrants – have created a place that is the envy of all.

We have stability, freedom and relative wealth.

What happens in other lands may make us laugh, or cry, or sometimes wring our hands in anguish. But when it comes right down to it, even with some poverty issues, this is still the best place on Earth.

I hope you all remembered that on Sunday, during the celebration of Canada’s birth, and during this summer’s cornucopia of competitive world-class events, your Canadian pride will shine.


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