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Monday, August 16, 2004

Saw a bumper sticker this weekend: "Somewhere in Texas, a village is in need of an idiot."

Thank God for sports. Although it's Monday, I'm energized following an exciting week of rugby and Olympics action. South Africa crushed New Zealand - my prediction wasn't even close. The 'Boks have turned the corner, as America's Village Idiot would say, and are favorites to win the Tri-Nations this coming Saturday, playing the Wallabies at home. And the Olympics are here; the Avant house is a crack den for Olympic junkies, the DVR set to record hundreds of hours of coverage on NBC and CNBC, giving us all the team handball, badminton, modern pentathlon, and table tennis we could possibly hope for. These are the REAL Olympic sports. Gymnastics? A parade of deformed circus freaks. Track? Cheaters all, with their steroids and horse tranquilizers. Diving? Call me when someone has the balls to do Rodney Dangerfield's Triple Lindy.

The fringe sports give us the best drama. These athletes train in obscurity, work day jobs to finance their efforts, bust their asses and make sacrifices in ways you and I can't even begin to comprehend, all for one shot at greatness every four years. Example:
World's best in taekwondo - and he trained in his garage. That's great stuff.

Which was why I found myself cheering for Puerto Rico in yesterday's Olympics hoops game.

The Dream Team was on the receiving end of a good old fashioned ass-whooping, and it was a joy to watch. I say this as a diehard NBA fan who can't stand the college game. Forget the fact that the clowns who wore the red, white, and blue couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat; the guys from Puerto Rico played for each other, for the pride of their team, and the pride of their country. (Jerry Buss - get on the phone and do what you need to do to get Carlos Arroyo to L.A. ) Iverson and his peeps are a disgrace to their country. Not for losing, but for eschewing the Olympic village to stay on a luxury yacht, for giving the impression during the opening ceremonies that they really wish they were back home in their mansions, and for talking smack to the Puerto Rican team during the final few minutes of the game (how do you say "Scoreboard" in Spanish?). I completely disagree with those who say we needed to send our best players (Kobe, Garnett, T-Mac, etc.). I remember watching the Barcelona Olympics, when we sent the first Dream Team, and while they were arguably the best team ever assembled (Magic, Bird, Jordan, Drexler, Barkley), you could tell that being there MEANT something to each of them. They knew how to represent. After each game, they took time to take photos with opposing players who idolized them, signed autographs for and talked with fans from all corners of the world, and showed up to cheer for their fellow Olympic team members - swimmers, runners, rowers - at other events. They had a level of respect for the Games that our current guys lack. My suggestion to Larry Brown: take your collection of primadonnas over to the Olympic Village, and have them sit down and chat with the members of the Iraqi soccer team. Ask the Iraqis how they feel about being in the Olympics.

I'm no economist, but this weekend's hurricane disaster in Florida is going to be one more nail in the coffin of the Bush administration. With reconstruction costs in the billions, not to mention the damage to Florida's agriculture and tourist industries, we'll all be waxing nostalgic over the days when we had a budget surplus to help the country deal with unexpected catastrophies. Bush has to grant Federal aid - remember, this is Florida, without whom...and thus the deficit will get a big bump and continue to grow at a horrid pace. The challenge for Kerry will be to address this without coming across as insensitive or indifferent to Florida's plight. He opted not to visit the state to get a firsthand look at the wreckage (a good move in my opinion - showing up there could easily be perceived as being opportunistic, using a disaster as a photo op). Kerry needs to remind voters that we HAD a surplus, which could have gone a long way to provide more aid than what Florida will get, but was pissed away by the Bushies.

Finally, it's official - my favorite band Phish is no more, having wrapped up their last concert in a weekend festival. Good news is that when they do the inevitable reunion tour in 10 years, Lucas will be old enough to go with me. I will then have to tell him why he can't buy one of the magic brownies the hippies are selling out of the backs of their vans.


At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I was looking for blogs about taekwondo and came across yours. Some interesting topics you discuss. In any case I have a taekwondo school in Dallas, TX. Keep up the great blogging.

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