June 28, 2011
Canada's next game in the women's World Cup comes Thursday. We expect that shortly after kickoff, Christine Sinclair will pick up the ball, chew off a chunk, and spit it in the face of her French opponents, before mowing down six of them with flying elbows. She'll then march downfield and score a goal just by telling the ball to get in the net.
Usually, a four-day gap between games can hurt the hype cycle around a tournament. Not so with Canada's national women's soccer team, which is riding the wave of nationalism forged by Sinclair's Youngblood-esque performance Sunday. If you missed the Eh Game post, Sinclair broke her nose thanks to a wayward German elbow, shrugged it off, re-entered the game against the orders of doctors. And then she scored a goal late in the game to give Canada a chance at beating the #1 team in the world. Go check it out; we'll wait.
If that's not tough enough, Sinclair's going into Thursday's match looking like Hannibal Lecter. The national team released a photo Tuesday morning of the mask she'll wear:
Unfortunately, the mask might not be enough. Reports on Tuesday afternoon said Sinclair might be forced to miss Thursday's game, after missing practice on Tuesday. She suited up, but couldn't run, and won't be able to until the pain subsides, according to The Canadian Press.
Whether she plays on Thursday or not, Twitter is building Canada's biggest star a legacy that echoes a combination of Chuck Norris and The Most Interesting Man in the World. All day Monday and into Tuesday, the hashtag #ChristineSinclair was trending in Canada, thanks to a series of hilarious tweets form Canada's soccer community. Here's a sampling.
It's called a "dead ball" because #ChristineSinclair killed it- @7semiao
I heard @SteveNash wears #ChristineSinclair pyjamas. So, now I do too. -@vankayak (Adam van Koeverden)
There are no steroids in women's soccer. Only players that #ChristineSinclair has breathed on. - @whitecapsbeat
#ChristineSinclair gives the cable guy a list of times and dates when *she'll* be home. - @SCGGrant
Sinclair's been one of Canada's best-known female soccer players ever since she took the NCAA by storm, but that's not saying much. Most of the national team toils in obscurity; Sinclair's toughness and skill are helping to shine a well-deserved light on the group as a whole.
There's talk in the media that Sinclair's heroics have elevated her into the pantheon of our most-heralded warriors. That's a bit much. But with Canada Day mere days away, it's fitting that an undervalued jock is winning us over with her skill and her heart. It's enough to make you want to drape yourself in a flag and belt out O Canada.
Follow Andrew McKay on Twitter @apmckay