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A Sports Rant…

May 8, 2010
Disclaimer: I wrote this in between the second and third period of the men’s World Hockey Championship game between Finland and Denmark being played in Cologne, Germany. At the time Denmark was leading Finland 3-1. What is wrong with this picture?
Picture this…
Paavo Nurmi
Lasse Viren
Janne Ahonen
Matti Nykänen
Sampa Lajunen
Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi
Marjo Matikainen(-Källström)
Jari Kurri
Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko
All of these athletes – and many more were at the pinnacle of their respective sports when they were in the competitive world. I won’t go into details – many of these names are recognizable to millions of sports fans around the world. I have left many names of the list because there are too many to name and there are a few that are at the top of their game at the present time (Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Anssi Koivuranta, many current NHL players, dozens of women hockey players and ringette players…)
There is something seriously wrong with the state of sport participation by young people in this country and it shows. Finland failed to perform to expectation at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and in every world championship whether it be in athletics, cross-country skiing, hockey, curling – you name it – the expectations are high and the populace expects its countrymen to perform…
Here is the problem – let the rant begin… There is a serious lack of daily organized sport and exercise for all children, during the school day. We now have a generation of obese, lazy kids who do nothing (and don’t want to do anything) except spend time in front of computers. They eat terribly – cheap, sugary, junky, fatty food is available everywhere… More conscripts into the Finnish army – at this point only men are conscripted for service – are let go because they cannot handle the physical (and psychological) rigours of the service. Finns are fatter than ever before and the only ones that seem to be getting their arses in gear are the 35+ generation who have taken up cycling, running, skiing and other sports more than ever before.
The result is that we do not have the next generation of elite athletes to fill the void left behind by the high performers of the past – because they’re too fat and too lazy (aversion to sweating is a real issue apparently – I say that sarcastically – or maybe not) to make Finland the envy of the sporting world they once were… We can see this in the game currently rolling between Finland and Denmark. Antero Mertaranta keeps repeating that Denmark is on the doorstep of an historic win over Team Finland.
Is it that everyone has just gotten better…?
You decide.
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