The Lou Marsh Award, named for a former sports editor of the Toronto Star
, is the highest honour for Canadian athletes. A committee will deliberate on Tuesday among the deepest field of candidates in memory. Some of our amateur athletes had remarkable accomplishments; Marlene Streit winning the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur golf tournament at the age of 69 was amazing, while Perdita Felicien excelled on the track, Charmaine Hooper on the pitch, and Melanie Turgeon on the slopes. Hayley Wickenheiser playing pro hockey against men would be enough to warrant the award some years. The NFL's best placekicker, Mike Vanderjagt, is a mere afterthought in this field.
In almost any other vote, Paul Tracy would be honoured for his CART championship, but he figures to finish a distant third in 2003. It's a foregone conclusion that Masters champion Mike Weir, the first Canuck ever to win a golf major, will relegate NL Cy Young winner Eric Gagne to second place. Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette
may be expressing both a regional bias and a passion for baseball when he complains that golf "barely qualifies as a sport." In the Star
, Dave Feschuk
makes an impassioned plea for Gagne, while Doug Smith
argues the case for Weir.
Gagne was tremendous, but his Cy came in a season when no NL starter was an obvious choice. Now, if Eric had pitched 250 innings, gone 25-3, struck out 300 and led the Dodgers to a championship, it would really
be close. Even then, Weir's unique individual accomplishment would stand out as the greatest single sports memory of the year for this Canadian. What do other Bauxites think? I'm especially interested in the perspective of our friends from other nations. Who was "our" best athlete this year?