By Andrew Tomsky, NAU Athletic
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Kevin Taylor, a freshman starter on the Northern Arizona men’s tennis team, is spending his first year away from his home in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, located just an hour and a half by ferry from Vancouver, the host site for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Though Taylor is enjoying his time in Flagstaff, he is understandably disappointed to be away from home as his native land is in the world spotlight for two weeks as the host of the Olympics. With a family home also in Vancouver, Taylor has spent his entire life in and around the city, and is thrilled to see his country play host to the biggest annual gathering of winter athletes in the world. Taylor talked about the joy of having his childhood home in the global spotlight, the importance of the games to Canada, and the desire for a gold medal in men’s hockey, the national pastime of our neighbors to the North.
How did you feel when you watched the opening ceremonies?
I think I was more disappointed than anything that I wasn’t there. It was really good to see all of the places where I’ve grown up on TV. A bunch of my friends from high school are there and some of my family is at the games as well.
You have tennis matches here, but did you try to go back?
I asked my parents to bring me home, and they said no. A lot of people I know there aren’t even going because the traffic is always really bad in Vancouver to begin with. If I was there, I would probably only go to hockey because it’s very tough to get around.
How important is hockey in Canada?
It’s basically religion for most of us. Even if we don’t have the most total medals, everyone will be happy if we win the gold in hockey. It’s the only medal that really matters to us. If we lose, it will be devastating.
What is the American equivalent of Sydney Crosby in Canada?
He’s the Lebron James of Canada. He’s in every commercial and he has a lot of star power. It’s funny because nobody really has anything good to say about him other than he’s a really good hockey player, but he’s the Lebron of hockey.
How was it to see Canada win its first gold medals as the host country?
It was great, but those medals don’t mean much compared to hockey. It was still really good to see us get some early medals. I was really happy about that, I was yelling for joy.
What is it like watching the games with all the other international players on the tennis team?
David Flodberg (Gothenburg, Sweden) and I talk a lot of trash to each other about hockey, since they won the last gold and we won it before that. The guys from Germany (Patrick Schimmelbauer) and France (Hugo Ramadier) say stuff too, but they really can’t back it up, at least in hockey. Germany has a lot of medals so far, but I don’t think they can keep it up!
Being away from home for the first time, how special is it to get to see your hometown every day on TV?
Its weird to see BC Place (venue for the opening/closing ceremonies) all decked out, because I’ve been there a bunch of times for football (home of the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League) and it looks totally different. To see Vancouver on TV and know that the whole world is looking at it is pretty special. To me, it’s just a place in my town and it’s cool that everyone is making a big deal about it.
On Sunday, Taylor, wearing a Canadian beanie and one of his many Vancouver Canucks jerseys, watched with his teammates as the United States shocked Canada with a 5-3 win in men’s hockey. He was stunned and disappointed at the defeat, as was the rest of his country. He is still optimistic, however, that Canada will rebound from the loss to win gold. The strong play of the Canadian men’s and women’s curling teams is of little consolation to Taylor and his hockey-crazed nation, needing a gold in men’s hockey to consider the Vancouver Olympics a success.
April 29, 2010 Reiff, Ramadier, Flodberg on All-Big Sky Mens Tennis Team
April 25, 2010 Mens Tennis Falls in Big Sky Final to Sacramento State, 4-0
April 24, 2010 Mens Tennis in Big Sky Final after 4-1 Win over Weber State
April 22, 2010 Mens Tennis to Open Big Sky Championship vs. Weber State
April 10, 2010 Mens Tennis Rallies to Beat Eastern Washington, 4-3
April 9, 2010 Men's Tennis Opens Road Trip With 7-0 Route of Gonzaga
April 4, 2010 Mens Tennis Rebounds to Defeat Idaho State, 5-2
April 3, 2010 Mens Tennis Drops Big Sky Match at Weber State, 4-3
March 28, 2010 Men's Tennis Blanked by New Mexico, 7-0
March 26, 2010 Tennis Teams Volunteering Time to Help Youth Development
March 12, 2010 Montana Rallies to Defeat Men's Tennis, 4-3
March 11, 2010 Mens Tennis to Host Montana in Home Finale Friday
February 28, 2010 Bad Weather Cancels Men's and Women's Tennis in Las Cruces
February 27, 2010 Mens Tennis Overwhelmed in 7-0 loss to No. 59 New Mexico State
February 26, 2010 Ramadier, Taylor Stay Hot as Men's Tennis Falls to Texas-Arlington, 5-2
February 25, 2010 Mens Tennis Battles Back to Top Texas-Pan American, 4-3
February 24, 2010 Mens Tennis to Face No. 59 New Mexico St., Three Others in Las Cruces
February 23, 2010 Winter Olympics Close to Home for Mens Tennis Freshman Taylor
February 21, 2010 Men's Tennis Wins Fourth Straight, Tops Grand Canyon 7-0
February 19, 2010 Mens Tennis Back Home to Host Grand Canyon Sunday
February 14, 2010 Mens Tennis Stays Perfect in Big Sky, Blasts Northern Colorado 7-0
February 13, 2010 Mens Tennis Opens Weekend With 5-2 Win Over Air Force
February 12, 2010 Mens Tennis Heads to Colorado for Two Matches; Media Guide Available
January 31, 2010 Mens Tennis Rallies to Beat St. Marys, 4-3
January 30, 2010 Mens Tennis Defeated by Utah State, 5-2, in Las Vegas
January 29, 2010 Reiff Lone Winner as Mens Tennis Falls to No. 75 UNLV, 6-1
January 27, 2010 Golovics, Reiff Sweep Big Sky Weekly Tennis Awards
January 23, 2010 Mens Tennis Completes Perfect Week with 7-0 Sweep of Montana State
January 21, 2010 Mens Tennis Upsets Sacramento State in Season Opener, 6-1
January 20, 2010 Mens Tennis to Open Season Thursday; Match Moved to Noon
January 12, 2010 Women Picked Second, Men Sixth in Big Sky Tennis Preseason Polls
October 31, 2009 Mens Tennis Ends Fall Season at Rebel Classic
October 30, 2009 Mens Tennis Plays with Tough Field in Rebel Classic Opening Day
October 23, 2009 Mens Tennis Concludes Play at ITA Regional in Vegas
October 22, 2009 Schimmelbauer Shines For Mens Tennis in ITA Regional Day Two
October 21, 2009 Reiff Leads Mens Tennis on First Day of ITA Regional
October 11, 2009 Mens Tennis Wins Five Matches on Final Day of UNM Balloon Fiesta
October 10, 2009 Taylor Advances to Finals at Mens Tennis UNM Balloon Fiesta
October 9, 2009 Mens Tennis Competes in Busy First Day at UNM Balloon Invite
September 13, 2009 Mens Tennis Adds Nine Wins as Aggie Invitational Concludes
September 12, 2009 Pezzutto Powers Mens Tennis on Day Two of Aggie Invitational
September 11, 2009 Mens Tennis Opens Fall Season at Aggie Invitational
September 9, 2009 Mens Tennis to Open Fall Schedule at Aggie Invitational
September 1, 2009 NAU Tennis to Host Fundraiser This Saturday