Sunday, August 24, 2008

One Last Thing About The Game Tonight.

I know most of you don't care but I wrote this So I am going to post it :)

United States Wins Gold Metal 118-107 over Spain in classic Olympic final.

Well it’s over. I stood, I cheered, I cussed, I exhaled and when it was over I took a bath. I had to. not just because of 2 ½ hours of watching a great basketball game and sweating until the very end. I had to because my love for my country caused me to go places and say things that I have never said before, and damn sure never hope to say again. With 3 minutes left to go in an unexpectedly tough Gold medal game The United States clung to a 5 pt lead and Spain had all the momentum in the world. Kobe Bryant, you know, the “Hey Kobe tell me how my ass tastes” Kobe Bryant? Made a 3 point shot and got fouled for a 4 point play. It was then my mouth actually said these words before my brain could tell it to stop. “Yes Kobe big shot Way to go Kobe

After saying that what else was left for me to do but take a bath? In one night not only was I openly rooting for a player that I might just despise more than any other player in the NBA being coached by a man that I might just think even less of in Mike Krzyzewski. Earlier I said I hated Kobe more. I don’t know about that now. It’s a toss up and I flip flop like John McCain on this issue. Come Tomorrow? I’ll hate those SOB’S again. But tonight they lead my country, my team to a gold medal and I couldn’t be happier. Even if I did need a bath to make myself feel clean for singing the praises of the anti-Christ afterwards.

I had joked during the game that…”normally I would say that Spain is a team full of Bitches but since some may find that objectionable I’ll just say they are a team full of Gasols.” Well I can tell you after the game that they are still a team filled with “Gasols” but I definitely would not use that other term. Not after their performance tonight. Time and time again the United States was on the verge of breaking this game open only to see Spain dig down and pull something out of themselves that nobody thought they had. Was this the same team that fell behind early against the United States early in pool play and then said screw it and lost by 37? It couldn’t be.

This team scrapped for 40 minutes, in fact in many of those 40 minutes they out-scrapped the United States. How many times did the United States take a double digit lead and have you thinking “here it comes” only to look up and see that lead dwindled down to 4 or 5? Even the Gasol brothers, who are so often the brunt of my jokes because of their soft play and the fact that Marc Gasol grabs his “fellas” before he shots every free throw, were not the same Gasols tonight. Where was that intensity in the game earlier in the Olympics from them? For that matter where was it from Pau Gasol for the Lakers in the NBA finals? If I were a Laker fan, and if I were np amount of baths could wash that stain away, I would really like to know the answer to that question. My God! have I really rooted on Kobe, cheered for K, and praised the Gasols all in one night?

For The United States’ part somehow this much tougher than expected fight to win a gold medal was a far more impressive achievement then it would have been if they had won 157-47. Time and time again it looked tonight like The United States would be just another Mike Tyson look a like. You know plow through everybody who goes down at the first punch but then fall and fall hard at the first opponent who actually throws a punch back? But they never went down. Time and time again the United States seemed on the verge of loosing it all. Their composure, their team unity, their very sense of purpose and even more tragic the game itself but it never happened. They would allow it to happen. Just as Spain made a run every time the United States was on the verge of blowing this game open so too did the United States make a run every time it seemed Spain was about to steal what they had worked so hard for.

In a game that was as tightly contested as this game was the United States never allowed Spain to take the lead after the 1st Quarter. Every time Spain would get it to 3 or 4 the United States would get it back up to 10. The United States was punched back at tonight and punched back at hard and they kept fighting back. They wouldn’t allow Spain the pleasure to be the team that scored the knockout and to me that is more impressive than beating a team by 50 and never breaking a sweat. The United States Men’s basketball was asked tough questions tonight and they had the answers. That’s why for the first time since 2000 they are THE Gold Medal champions.

In the end it would be Spain who would finally crack under the pressure. I was about to praise the FIBA officials for the improvement they have shown over the past years but their effort in tonight’s game saved me that task. Maybe they gave it the best effort they could and were just flat incompetent. This was one of the worst officiated games I have ever seen. It wasn’t Munich 72 bad but it was nothing for FIBA to be proud of. And it wasn’t just a United States thing. Not only were the officials bad they were streaky. They started out with some awful calls against two of the United States best players in Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and then once they got them in early foul trouble they decided it was time to screw Spain over for awhile. These officials idea of a fairly called game seemed to be to call really bad calls against one team for awhile and then switch off and call them on the other. Then as if to show they were proud of their diplomas from the Big XII school of Basketball officiating, they completely changed the way they were calling the game. After calling anything and everything the officials suddenly and for no good reason decided they weren’t going call anything.

This more than anything the Americans did, was what finally broke Spain. The United States showed it’s displeasure with the officials with facial expressions and some relatively unanimated conversation the Spaniards were up screaming and yelling and throwing towels on the court the entire game. They were warned repeatedly through out the game about this by the incompetent officials but it wasn’t until less than a minute left when the refs had had enough and called Spain for a technical foul. This coupled with a “unsportsmanlike” foul gave the USA 4 free throws and the ball and finally put the Gold medal safely in the hands of The United States.

In the end the “redeem” team got what they went to China for, redemption. It turned out they had to work harder for it than maybe they thought they would have to but that isn’t at all bad. They were asked the tough questions and they came up with the answers and found themselves fighting for survivors in deep dark waters. But survive is what they did. And how about those spoiled millionaire athletes not caring at the end of the game? Did this finally put that BS to bed? Did you see that genuine emotion at the end of the game? Did you see how proud these guys were to win this medal for their country? They’re humans, some better than others and some that quite frankly I will wake up tomorrow and have that old familiar hatred for them that I always had. But tonight they were representatives of The United States and at this time and place on the world stage where The United States needs all the positive representation it can possible get I say great job and I am proud of you each and everyone. Thank You.

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