The voracity and consistency with which Newfoundlanders tear down their own never ceases to amaze me. If a softball or soccer team medals at a tourney, someone from another sports community takes a swipe at them on our comments section. If Brad Gushue does well, anything really, hes raked over the coals repeatedly. Pretty petty stuff. The latest indulgence comes in a series of attacks aimed at St. Johns AAA midget Fog Devils coach Wally Bray. Since the team captured a bronze at nationals a couple of weeks ago only the third medal ever won by an Atlantic Canadian team many have felt it necessary to publicly criticize the veteran coach on his decision to use goaltender Scott Bray in every game. The goalie, you see, is the coachs son. Some readers suggested Wally was only looking after his own agenda, giving his boy all the opportunity and taking away any chance of backup Scott Walsh getting noticed at the heavily scouted tourney. Others have gone so far to suggest it wasnt in the teams best interest to stack the roster with third year players as opposed to bringing in younger major midget talent in preparation next years Telus Cup at home. Frankly, its all BS to me. If a team is fortunate enough to make it to nationals, in any sport, theyve got to play their absolute best. The experienced players have to lead the way. You play for nothing short of winning and you have to dress your best to do so. Even if that means playing your own son game after game. Besides, with nationals in Sin Johns next April, and Walsh set to take over the No. 1 job, wont he have equal opportunity to be scouted then? Wouldnt it have been unfair to not give Bray his last chance to shine after being overlooked in last years Quebec Major Junior draft (he was the tourneys top goalie, by the way)? And the same can be asked for most of the teams third-years who werent drafted in 2009. Look, with no Q team in St. Johns, its back to the way it was when it comes to getting our boys out of here and on to bigger and better things in hockey. So as far as Im concerned Wally and his staff did exactly the right thing in giving their graduating players one last chance. And a bronze at the Telus Cup is nothing to turn your nose up at, especially considering how our boys did it faced with disadvantages like regular competition (the team was undefeated locally this season) our geography and lack of funds that arent faced by other squads. So we can continue to rip on one another and let our envy dictate things, or we can suck it up and simply celebrate our collective successes.
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