Sports This Week - The ups and downs of being a sports fan

To absolutely no one’s surprise Canada again cruised to the Indoor Lacrosse World Championship.

It was the fifth time the championship has been held, and the fifth straight win for Canada.

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In fact, Canada has yet to lose a game, even in round robin play, at the event.

This time around the final was a 19-12 over the Iroquois, after Canada thumped on England 21-4 in their semi-final contest.

While the Iroquois hung around through the first half, being at least within striking distance as they went to the dressing rooms, the game was never in doubt.

The dominance by Canada is frankly a problem for the sport internationally. There was little to come out of the latest tournament to suggest Canada will be greatly threatened in four years.

Yes the Iroquois and bronze medal winning USA, could get better, unless it’s a major step forward and a matching stumble by Canada, the dominance is going to continue. One country dominating for so long really thwarts the perception of a sport being truly international.

It would have been the same a half century, or so ago, when Canada dominated hockey. The game is better for there now being at least half dozen teams on the international stage that are in the mix at world and junior championships.
Lacrosse needs that development to happen now.

Even as a fan of Canada, obviously, the championship was largely anticlimactic. There was never a moment of concern in terms of even the briefest thought Canada might lose. It was all rather ho hum to be honest, and at the top event in the sport that is not a good thing.

But, winning is ultimately better than the alternative.

Losing is no fun, especially when you lose in massive ways, as has been the case at the current Rugby World Cup for Canada.

Canada lost their first game in pool play to Italy 48-7, and then were frankly obliterated by New Zealand 63-0.

To be fair to the boys in red New Zealand is the world superpower in 15s rugby, as they are defending back-to-back World Cups this year in Japan. The All Blacks are frankly amazing when it comes to rugby.

Still allowing 111 points, and scoring only seven is ugly. Neither game was remotely entertaining as a Canadian fan. As a realist I anticipated both contests being losses for Canada, but I had at least hoped they would have kept it in some way respectable. They didn’t.

Of course in terms of rugby the good news came on the Rugby League (13s) side of things.

The Toronto Wolfpack hosted the Featherstone Rovers in the 2019 Betfred Championship Playoff Final Saturday.

It was a game that was must see for me. I had the DVR set as the game was scheduled for GameTV, but then learned of a planned power outage. Afraid that the game would not record, I headed to a local restaurant for a lunch of burgers and poutine so I could watch at, testament I suppose to the effort I would go to too watch the game.

The game was a nail bite early, the pesky Rovers working hard and leading 6-4 at the half.

The deeper roster of the Wolfpack made the difference in the final 40-minutes, scoring 18 unanswered second half points for a 22-6 win.

The championship is the third by a team I follow closely in 2019, the Toronto Raptors and Saskatchewan Rattlers the others winning in basketball. Secondary teams I watch, Seattle in Major League Rugby and Milwaukee in Major Arena Soccer League also won so five championships is a big year, with a Roughrider Grey Cup still hoped for.

As for the Wolfpack they will play in the top-flight Super League in 2020, bring the best in 13s rugby to Canada, which is huge news for a fan, and the potential growth of the sport in this country. If you haven’t tuned in yet, you will want to in the new year if you are a fan of entertaining sport.

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