– Mark E. Smith

Kanadski bobsledders were wheeled into town last November for some absurd demo down at City Hall. I chatted up most of them, plus an Amerikanski coach (as strapping as you’d expect). When I was not being induced to talk to the girl bobsledders for some godawful reason, I was greeted with blank stares and various ricti of discomfort.

Dudes in black uniforms emblazoned with the Canada wordmark futz around a white bobsled

Poor Chris Spring, a perfectly nice Australian who is not a ginger, seemed politely baffled, while his occasional brakeman, Lascelles Brown, stood at a great remove with his arms crossed and barely grunted a response as his eyes averted mine. Some of us remember how this Ben Johnson manqué was hastily granted Canadian citizenship a mere fortnight before the Torino Olympics. (Run the following word by Lascelles Brown the next time you see him: “Monégasque.”) Only this country would send an Australian and a Jamaican down an international bobsleigh track and call it a “Canadian” team.

I had a nice chat with Alex Kopacz, his parents hovering nearby. “You must be very proud,” I said, as they smiled a firm yes. As I shook his hand goodbye, I turned it over in a way I have licence to do and saw an iron ring. I felt stupid for not having spotted that before rounding the corner. Yes, he’s an engineer.

And, unlike his teammates, he’s capable of being happy. Here’s Alex with the handsome and quite smart Justin Kripps after the two of them won gold.

Broad smile and upraised arms from tall fellow in background, with broad smile from slightly-less-tall fellow in foreground

The young man who was nicest to a fan turns out to be most able to express joy. I’ll take a happy giant over a squadron of grumpy ones any day.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2018.01.13 13:16. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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