Opinion Column

Eldersplaining takes shine off WJC medal victories

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

Another World Junior Championship tournament, another excuse to tear down kids for winning their country a medal.

Every year, there’s something new. In 2011, Team Russia was booted off their flight home for being “unruly,” or “intoxicated” according to their bus driver. Team USA’s “Do or Die” chant rubbed a few Canadians the wrong way in 2010 when Canada lost the gold medal in Saskatoon.

On Friday, there were two incidents that blew up on social media – Swedish captain Lias Andersson throwing his silver medal into the crowd after losing to Canada, and Team Canada players celebrating in the dressing room by sitting on their phones.

One was attacked for being too in the moment, showing emotion and heart in a sport where fans routinely criticize athletes for falling back on clichés and being emotionless to the media. The others were criticized for not being in the moment enough, all by people sitting on social media, not remotely in the moment themselves.

Tough crowd.

Forget the fact they haven’t been able to use their phones for the duration of the tournament, that they often give up Christmas with their families, and have very little time between the conclusion of the tournament and heading back to their respective junior teams. Nevermind that by the age of 20, these players have accomplished more for their countries than most of us can hope to accomplish in our entire lives – how dare they take a few moments to share this moment with friends and families?

How dare they, as competitive athletes, be unsatisfied by anything less than gold? How disrespectful to see silver as a failure and strive to be better and do better? We all should take a page out of the Edmonton Oilers book and be OK with ending up in the bottom three of the league for years on end because drafting a top prospect is way better than a team actually becoming better.

You’ve all heard about mansplaining, and now we have “Generation/Boomersplaining” or “Eldersplaining” - where older people tell those younger than them how they should feel and react to winning a medal for their country in an era of social media.

Post-game is for hangin’ with the boys, not thanking those who supported you and helped get you to that moment. Silver should be seen as an equal accomplishment, because competitiveness in sports is overrated and everyone just played so gosh darn hard they should all get a gold medal.

This kind of thinking needs to stop.

Who are we to judge how others celebrate and enjoy one of the biggest moments of their lives? Let’s be real – most of us have done far less greater things, especially before turning 20. Chances are, if we were in their position, we’d do the exact same thing. After all, the same people criticizing them were sitting on social media as it all happened, not enjoying the moment in hockey history without technology.

They’re kids – as we’re always reminded at the closure of the tournament. Let them live and learn and grow from the experience instead of eldersplaining to them how winning a medal should go. They did their country proud. Don’t take the shine off their moment. 



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