Saturday November 22, 2014


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Olympic daydreams


A few weeks ago, Canadians were asking several questions:

How many medals will Canada win at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi?

Has it really already been four years since the Vancouver Olympics?

Will men's hockey win gold?

Will there be a terrorist attack in Sochi?

The answers were 25, yes, yes and no.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are over. And daytime productivity at Canadian workplaces has returned to normal.

If you would have tried calling many CEOs, business executives, politicians (or newspaper editors, for that matter), on February 20 during the third period or the overtime women's gold medal game, you would have been greeted with emotions ranging from seething anger to spontaneous elation. If there was cursing or shouting during your phone calls with these people, please forgive them.

If you would have called those same people in the late morning or early afternoon of the 21st, during the Canada-U.S. semi-final game, you likely wouldn't have reached them; they were away from the desk.

Thankfully, most people didn't have to worry about work on the 23rd, during Canada's man-handling of Sweden in the men's hockey gold medal game. Except for bar owners and servers. Kudos to legislators who had the foresight to allow bars to open early on the 23rd.

(The massive revenues generated by fans who packed the bars during the game offset the frustration of having to be at work at 5 a.m. Hopefully everybody tipped their server generously).

It was occasionally frustrating that the events in Sochi happened during the overnight, the morning and the early afternoon hours in Saskatchewan. The upshot was we woke up to find out that Canada had won gold medals, we took extended breaks during the morning to watch curling, hockey, bobsled and moguls, and we left the office for two or three-hour lunches to watch Team Canada hockey games.

Most employers were likely taking protracted Olympic breaks, too, so the employees caught a break.

Of course, we had to pay for it by working some longer hours in the final week of February to compensate for our Olympic-induced productivity declines.

Olympics tend to do two things. First of all, they traditionally boost patriotism for a couple of weeks. There's that extra sense of pride in being Canadian when we see Canada take gold, regardless of whether it's hockey or ski cross.

They also tend to foster healthier living once the Games are over. Many are so inspired by an outstanding athletic performance that they decide to venture to the gym and work on their fitness levels. This typically lasts a couple of weeks.

But the memories generated by the fantastic efforts, the magnificent athleticism, the perseverance and the sacrifice will last for a very long time.




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