Running Up the Score

Welcome to the Olympics, Italian pucksters! The Canadian women whacked ‘em 16-0 yesterday, and no doubt there will be accusations of running up the score. (Disclosure: I was the goaltender on the receiving end of a 22-0 shellacking when I was 11 or so, and rather enjoyed it; made some of my best saves and learned a lot about being a goalie and about how hard I could focus and try. My team was awful, my coach made a terrible error in scheduling, and I couldn’t lose. Bliss.) The red and white are on a mission, though, and the goal differential as a tie-breaker is a big part of the problem.

But this wasn’t necessarily the worst humiliation for the Italians. Sometimes you can shame a team worse by obviously going through the motions; it may not be so obvious to TV viewers, but the players always know. Hey, it’s the Olympics, kids. You embarrass people all the more by laughing and chuckling while you beat them by 6, and you sure as skatin’ don’t get yourself ready to play the USA.

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