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JIBBER JABBER

Just when I thought there was nothing worse than spending an hour shopping at the Mart, life stepped up to prove me wrong once again.

It's obvious after last night that waiting an hour in the Mart's parking lot with a newborn and 2-year-old is every bit as bad, if not a tad worse.

You still have to put forth the Herculean effort to find parking. Plus, the lot is so well lit and the van's front window so large, that everybody got to peek in on me like I was a zoo animal. To make matters worse, I was spending all my time tending to the boys, so I didn't get to scope out -- and eventually make fun of -- some of the more original clientele that seem to frequent the store only after the sun goes down.

The thought of missing all of those sweat pants, bellies and mesh caps only adds to what was a completely empty, pride-sucking experience. The fact that I didn't receive any compensation for my suffering only made things worse. There was no PS3 in the bag or even MLB 10 The Show, which came out that very night, Instead, it was just a bunch of diapers, some children's clothes and a box of Golden Grahams. OK, the GGs were pretty sweet.

Being a winner, I knew after about 15 minutes of sitting in that lot that I better figure out something productive to take out of this torture, so I started thinking about this week's column.

And sometime between losing at Brickbreaker (curses to whoever included that "flip" brick) and tickling YJ3, I realized I wouldn't be worth a lick if I didn't congratulate Canadians on winning the gold in ice hockey. Especially considering how much junk I'd been talking the last couple of weeks.

I hope you Canucks realize that stuff about touks and aloofness was meant in jest. I love Tim Hortons and poutine. I'll also be the first to admit the Falls are way bigger on the Canadian side of the border.

But before things get too wishy-washy and you start wondering if things are going all Maple Leaf up in here, let me be clear on one thing I will never admit: I'll never admit Canada was the best team in the Olympics.

That's not to say O'Canada didn't deserve the gold medal because they did, by virtue of winning the gold-medal game Sunday.

However, facts and a minimum sports IQ leaves little doubt our boys in Red, White and Blue were every bit as good and truly a victim of circumstance and scheduling.

Here is my argument: Both teams finished the tournament with a 5-1 record. Canada outscored their opponents 31-12; USA, 24-8.

More importantly, the teams split their two games against each other with the U.S. outscoring Canada 7-6, despite facing the greatest home-ice disadvantage in the history of hockey.

Now, in my sports-watching experience, if a team plays twice against each other, that constitutes a series. And in any series, whether it be the World Series, NBA finals or even the Stanley Cup, all the road team wants to do is split the first two games. That's exactly what the U.S. did.

Now, of course the Olympics are different, and in an attempt to not sound like I'm smashing sour grapes, let me reiterate that Canada did deserve the gold. All I'm saying is they didn't deserve it because they were the better team. They deserved it because they won the game that matters.

Semantics maybe, but being a winner who always looks to make lemonade, be it in the Mart's parking lot or my sport's psyche, that means something -- and that's always better than nothing.

If you have comments on this or anything to do with sports, contact me at chad.t.jones@us.army.mil, or you can find me on the Fort Meade Web log at http://meadetv.wordpress.com/ under the Jibber Jabber link.

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