Canada's players celebrate winning the final match of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying soccer tournament against Mexico in Cancun Nov. 8, 2010. Could the team strike the podium at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Germany? (Gerardo Garcia/Reuters)
What to resolve for 2011?
How about that the Canadian hockey juniors reclaim the world championship?
That's a given.
Or that a Canadian based NHL team should, for the first time since the Montreal Canadiens of 1993, win the Stanley Cup?
Now that would be sweet.
But beyond the ice there are other pursuits that might warrant concerted effort and attention as the calendar flips to a brand new year and the onset of sporting seasons yet to be admired.
Maybe Canadian fans should consider resolutely backing the female national soccer squad. Indications are this team can make an impact at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Germany and in the process ignite tremendous support for the sport back home.
Considering the number of people in this country who play and love the game, success by the women on the world stage could make Canada a future host of major tournaments. That kind of breakthrough could also spark rededicated efforts to improve the men's national program with a view to getting Canada qualified for the FIFA World Cup Brazil in 2014.
Summer Olympic idols
As far as high performance/amateur sport goes, Canadians should resolve to maintain the momentum that the Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler established. The Summer Games in London are now less than two years away and an array of Maple Leaf stars deserve to be in the spotlight as they gear up for the pre-Olympic season.
They include Brent Hayden and Ryan Cochrane, two of the best swimmers in the world. There is also diving's Alexandre Despatie, triathlon's Paula Findlay and hurdler Priscilla Lopes-Schliep to name but a few. All are worthy of generous and consistent support.
In 2011, Canada should also resolve to become less of a spectator nation and more active. There are too few tracks and swimming pools in this country. Too many schools lack gymnasiums and make health education an optional proposition.
Our sense of well-being goes far beyond tuning in the TV set to check in on the exploits of our favourite hockey or football team. It requires a broadening of scope and attention to role models from a variety of athletic endeavours.
In short, a Happy New Year when it comes to Canadian sport might hinge on a national resolution to consider a wider field of play.
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