By Ryan Laverty
The inevitability of the situation was overwhelming. Nearly a decade has passed since its intensity burned hottest. Some had even written it off as a piece of history, a moment in time that will never be forgotten, but never repeated. Yet, over the past few months, the sleeping monster has begun to stir, and all members involved are realizing that it wasn’t dead, just dormant.
As the Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones eloquently pointed out, the cities of Calgary and Edmonton have competed with each other for as long as can be recalled. While the rivalry has had its serious moments, much of the friction between the two is attributable to sports. From the great Flames-Oilers battles of the ’80s, to the Eskimos-Stampeders gridiron competitions of the past decade, there has always been animosity between the cities’ sports enthusiasts.
Maybe it’s because both the Oilers and Flames have been fighting for mediocrity for nearly a decade. Maybe it’s because the Stamps have repeatedly manhandled the Esks for almost the same time frame. Whatever the reason, the focus has suddenly shifted. Football and hockey are no longer a point of contention between the two. In an unlikely turn of events, the good people of Edmonton have chosen to complain about track and field.
Track and field? Now in all fairness and with no disrespect to the athletes involved, who really cares about it? It obviously isn’t the Canadian media, who have seemingly only just heard of things such as steeplechase, triple jump, and javelin. And certainly it isn’t corporate Canada, who could care less for the majority of the time. It’s not an Olympic year is it? All of a sudden, with Edmonton hosting the World Championships in Athletics this August, everyone has a vested interest in the sport. The fact that Canada’s Head Coach in track Les Gramantik, who also coaches the Dinos track and field team and is based in Calgary, has set up a series of mini-meets in Calgary prior to the major competition, is a real thorn in the sides of Edmontonians.
A piece of advice: quit your crying Edmonton. No one said life was going to be fair. If you can’t be satisfied with one of the world’s greatest international competitions, and the resulting revenues the city will generate over the 10 days of events, you don’t deserve them in the first place. The reality is there isn’t a city in this country that deserves to host such a formidable event, and the fact that Edmonton is hosting it should be looked upon for what it is, a stroke of pure luck.
I don’t doubt Edmonton will do a good job in welcoming the international community, but don’t get your panties in a knot because they wanted to come to Calgary first.