(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Can the Summer Games Still be a Failure for the United States? Yes, They Can Be. . .

What, am I Oscar the Grouch?  The Grinch?  Scrooge?

Hardly.  And it's hard to argue with the numbers.  The U.S. has a huge lead in medals and the success of the swim and gymnastics teams has been terrific.  The track team remains a work in progress.

That said, I will posit that the games still could be a failure for the Americans for one reason and one reason alone -- the U.S. Men's Basketball Team.  Now, that's not to take anything away from swimming, gymnastics and women's basketball, and heck the women's soccer team bowed out and no one in Washington D.C. declared a state of national mourning.  But, basketball is our game, and men's basketball is particularly our game.  And I do remember when the U.S. went into mourning in 1972 for, among other reasons, the ripoff that the men's team suffered in the final against the Soviet Union.  People were glum about that loss for years, and to this day no one on that team will accept a silver medal for the crime that the team suffered at the hands of utterly incompetent if not corrupt officials.  (And there have been other disappointments since then as well).

Still. . . the U.S. men's basketball team is supposed to represent that the best America has to offer in terms of superlative skills.  We invented this game, and we're supposed to own it.  If we lose, we lose another sense of our invincibility.  Sure, it's nice to win all of those other medals, and we take great pride not only in the accomplishments but in the stories of the people behind those great works.  That said, if we lose in men's basketball, well, the Olympics will not have been a success for the U.S. 

No pressure, of course, but it is time for the leaders on the team to emerge and to encourage more concentration, more sharing of the ball, more help defense and more movement without the ball. 

This is our game.  We have some of the best players in the world on our team.  We should do better.

We should win the gold. 


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