The ramblings of cabin fever

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Did you catch the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Vancouver?

For the most part, very impressive, typically Canadian and as far as the torch lighting goes, it should have been Rick Hansen by himself.

An embarrassing moment when the hydraulic phallic symbols didn’t “rise to the occasion.” Of course, that could be typically Canadian as well. But then three of four did their job. Once again, typically Canadian I would think.

Was it me or did Wayne Gretzky look like he wanted to be anywhere but on the back of a pickup truck in the Vancouver rain, going down to the waterfront to light yet another Olympic flame? He did not look like a happy camper.

As far as the medals go, I spoke with CTV figure skating analyst Elizabeth Manley just a couple of days before the Olympics got underway. Bless her heart; she says we’re going to win a record number of medals.

I fear we will come away with the usual amount and another Olympics will come and go and then the argument of just how much money should we invest in our athletes will raise its ugly head for a while and then fritter away.

Speaking of medals, this story is now considered old as far as news goes but it just grinds my butt.

The Order of Canada medals. If you get one, you better be on and remain on the path of righteousness because if you waiver those pompous judges, whoever they are, will take that medal away from you, no matter how much good you have done.

Be advised that the Order of Canada is strictly a “fair-weather” honour.

Case in point—Steve Fonyo.

For those that don’t know or have forgotten, Fonyo is the chap who took up the Terry Fox cause and finished the Marathon of Hope that Fox couldn’t finish because cancer took our hero from us.

At that point, Fox had not only raised a bundle of money for cancer research but had raised the awareness of the dreaded disease to heights that no one could have imagined. But cancer is an insidious disease and shows no favouritism. Fox, having lost a leg to cancer was about to lose his life and we lost what many Canadians believe to be our first and only real hero before we finally started respecting our fighting forces around the world (something we should have been doing years ago).

In any event, enter Steve Fonyo. Sure he didn’t have the charisma Fox had and many thought Fonyo was just “cashing in” on the coattails of Fox. But Fonyo, at that time, was in the same boat as Fox. He was fighting cancer and he felt in his heart that the Terry Fox run should be completed.

In doing so, Fonyo too helped raise millions for cancer research and completed the dream that Fox was determined to finish but couldn’t.

Once again, the country was united and Fonyo brought the Terry Fox phenomenon back to life, long before the myriad annual Terry Fox runs across the country that live on today.

After Fonyo completed the Fox run, he too had to deal with media hype and perhaps he just couldn’t handle it. Bottom line is Fonyo’s life has tanked and he’s had several run-ins with the law. He’s in the slammer right now because of breach of probation and other issues.

So the holier than thou people behind the Order of Canada have decided in their wisdom that Steve doesn’t deserve the Order of Canada honour that he received. Steve got the honour for what he did for the country way back when, not what he’s doing now. But apparently the Order of Canada is only a “rental” honour. If during the course of your life, after receiving the award you screw up in a way that the group who award these things think is unsavory, they will take it back. I say, who needs it?

If I receive the honour for something I did serving my country way back when and my life takes a turn for the worse in the future, does that diminish in any way what I had done in the first place?

I think not.

As a matter of fact by taking the award from Fonyo, it simply has brought unwanted publicity to the honour that to me has lost some of its prestige.

When I was a kid, I remember being with the YMCA and finally swimming a couple of laps of a pool. I was given a blue poker chip—that’s right a blue poker chip with a hole in it attached to a piece of string. It signified that I had accomplished something significant in my life at that point in time and it meant everything to me.

I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my life since then and in some cases have hurt some people that didn’t deserve it, but never once was my poker chip asked to be returned. That plastic piece of nothing has more credibility right now than any Order of Canada as far as I’m concerned.

Watch it, Big Brother is watching!

I’m John Divinski.

Organizations: Olympic Games, YMCA

Geographic location: Canada, Vancouver

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