The Gold Medal will once again, as it did Beijing, rest on the chests of the USA Men’s Basketball team. Although international play has clearly improved drastically over the last 20 years; the USA has again imposed it’s dominance going undefeated throughout the games of the 30th Olympiad. And yet, I feel as though I owe this team (for what it’s worth) an apology. I, like so many other people, fell into the trap of comparing this team to the ’92 Dream Team. I found myself declaring that some of these players had no business being on the court, let alone being included in a debate over their ability to compete with the likes of Jordan, Magic, Bird, and the rest of the one and only Dream Team. And for that, I am sorry. Do I now think this 2012 team could beat the ’92 squad? No, but that should not take away from what this team set out to do, and ultimately did accomplish. They believed in each other, and they had no problem expressing that belief to the world. And I faulted them for that, forgetting what it was they were playing for…who they were playing for.
As a soldier for this great nation I am not suggesting that these men and women who make up the United States Olympic teams, make nearly the sacrifices that our men and women of the United States Armed Forces do, but they are Soldiers of Sport. They go to war in arenas, on tracks, and in swimming pools. They compete against the best that the entire world has to offer, and they do it for us; for our country. Sometimes they fall or fall short; and other times they are triumphant. I applaud the USA Men’s Basketball team for always lifting one another up, despite the criticism they might receive. I was appalled and saddened by the pettiness that I saw from the 100 meter hurdles Silver and Bronze medal winners Harper and Wells, as they complained (in victory) about not receiving as much attention as 4th place runner and teammate Lolo Jones. Harper and Wells had the chance to stand with pride, Silver and Bronze medals around their necks, and lift up their teammate, but chose the road that is all too often traveled instead. They, unlike the Men’s Basketball team, did not stand in unison as a team…as soldiers of their sport.
Thank you Team USA for supporting each other, for reminding a cynic like myself what is you play for, and for fighting for your country…for our country.
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