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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Keeping Score


By Fred Wallace


Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".

Norway finished the 2018 Olympic Games by setting a new record for the most medals won by a single country at a Winter Olympics; 39, of which 14 were Gold.

As Norway roared to the top, it was revealed one of the keys to their success was planted at the grassroots level.

Apparently in Norway, no matter what sport you're talking about, scorekeeping is not conducted until the youngsters are age 13.

The suggestion is this keeps kids happy, motivated, involved and allows them to grow as athletes without throwing in the towel because they're on the wrong end of lopsided results.

It does represent a difference in culture though.

For example, at the highly successful Jack Rabbit Carnival conducted by the Georgian Bay Nordic Club at Sawmill Trails, the first question the kids ask me at the announce table is ' Who won ? '

I'm pretty neutral on the scorekeeping issue.

As a youngster, and as an adult, I've been on both sides of a blowout, and neither scenario is that much fun.

Still I go back to something that happened an awful long time ago.

My first rep hockey team in 1968, the Midland Dorion Sand & Gravel Tykes lost our first game to our arch rivals from Penetanguishene 11-2.

It was awful.......But, it was also motivating.

Through the remainder of the season, the margin of defeat was lowered and by March, Dorion Sand & Gravel stunned our rivals at the prestigious Timmy Tyke Tournament.

In fairness, that was 50 years ago and times have obviously changed and the Norwegians might be onto something.

I'm Fred Wallace


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