According to Luke Wileman, after Canada's 4-3 extra stoppage time loss to the United States in the semi-final of the women's Olympic soccer tournament, Christine Sinclair had one message for Canadian fans. "Sorry we let you down."
No. I'm sorry, Sincy, but that just won't do. I don't just mean you individually; you've buried the always-unfounded "Sinclair doesn't deliver in big games" slur so deep that if someone digs it back up it's grave-robbing. I mean your entire team. Sophie Schmidt played the game of her life. Desiree Scott was one of the world's best holding midfielders until she got a brutal cheapshot to the knee from Heather O'Reilly, at which point she waved off the stretcher, got back up, and returned to the game. Melissa Tancredi and Diana Matheson were both dominant in all areas of the field. Carmelina Moscato did as much as possible to ensure we didn't miss Candace Chapman. Erin McLeod made everyone calling for Karina Leblanc to start look pretty stupid.
I'm sorry, Christine. You didn't let anyone down. Nobody has ever gotten more from their athletes than Canada got from you.
What a heart-break; a heart-break that had nothing to do with Canada's skill or their desire. Big Red was almost falling down with exhaustion in the last moments of extra time; the Americans always picking their players for their athleticism and proving that iota stronger in the end. But the Canadians played themselves to death because they beat the Americans, cleanly, over the ninety minutes.
Norwegian referee Christina Petersen has either got a nice new house in Oslo paid for with dirty money or she is the worst referee to ever lace up boots in a major competition. She is either dirty or dumb; corrupt or crap. There are no other options. If she's dirty, then we can only pray she gets what coming to her. If she's just a completely useless official, which is personally what I believe, then hopefully we'll be asking questions about the odd sort of affirmative action which says women's games must have female referees no matter how terrible, as if women's soccer doesn't deserve officials picked on the basis of ability rather than gender.
The Americans should feel cheated; an all-time soccer classic between two teams in scintillating form decided by the ref. I know my American readers want to win, and won't look a gift horse in the mouth if they do get gold, but I also know that real American fans still stare at their feet when the 2007 Gold Cup comes up and that was an incident far less nightmarish than this game. In a game like that, the American deserved a chance to win with their own considerable prowess and prove they are the greatest team in the history of women's soccer, not to have anything handed to them undeserving.
I'm disappointed. Shattered, in fact; I've never felt worse from sports than I feel today. But let down? By the Canadian women's national team? No. Never. If those women fail to win a medal they'll still have silenced their doubters and written their names on this country in letters far brighter than gold.