Mo's Manic Monday - Club

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2008 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to another Manic Monday with Morgen. Don't forget to cruise by MM HQ at It's A Blog Eat Blog World. Today's theme is Club.

I refused to join the club calling the USA men's basketball team the "redeem team". I felt that was disrespectful to the rest of the athletes from other countries who had worked hard to develop their skills. Basketball has become an international game, and we are no longer guaranteed that our teams are the best.

I still believe that we have the most talented basketball players in the world. But it is arrogant to maintain that the rest of the world's players are in awe of NBA talent and can't possibly compete with our teams. That period of time existed briefly when professional basketball players were allowed to compete for the first time.

It was only a matter of time until the rest of the world caught up. Blame the NBA itself for extending its reach into Europe and Asia. The NBA is no longer an exclusive club for American talent. Foreign players make up just a little more than 11% of the total number of players in the NBA. That creates interest in youngsters as they are able to identify with and emulate athletes from their own countries.

The rest of the world isn't intimidated by NBA players anymore. It takes more than just throwing together a collection of talent and sending it off to collect the gold medals that we say belong to us.

Only when our athletes set aside the me-first mentality and put the goals of the team ahead of their own personal agendas can we expect success.

Photo credit: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

And this time, the collection of NBA multi-millionaire superstars did just that, ending a three-year plan with a superb team effort to win a gold medal.

Team USA was a true team, and not just as a participant in the Olympic basketball tournament. This group of athletes was part of the entire USA Olympic experience, from marching as a group with the rest of the USA athletes to cheering on their counterparts in the women's tournament to taking in the Michael Phelps spectacle at the water cube to watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh defend their gold medal in beach volleyball.

And most importantly, they were outstanding ambassadors of American sport.

I can say that I'm proud of this team.

Congratulations Team USA.

Congratulations also to the Little Leaguers. They were a bit over-shadowed in this Summer Olympic year, but the play was as inspiring as it is every year.

The most telling sound bite I heard was from the kids from Maryland. Evidently they were in an odd position of not only having to win a game, but to score 12 runs in doing so. They didn't have to win by 12, they just had win the game and score 12 runs. With the mercy rule at 10, that's a tall order. And I also don't think it's the right message to use number of runs as a criteria to advance.

But the kids had that covered. As their coach was trying to explain what he wanted them to do to position themselves to get the right number of runs, one of the kids said, "Or we could just have fun."


The clubs from Waipio, Hawaii and Matamoros, Mexico met yesterday to determine the champion.

Hawaii overpowered Mexico 12-3 to win the fourth US championship in a row.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

I couldn't find a word in Hawaiian for congratulations. The nearest I could get was celebrate. So ho'olaule'a, hau'oli boys!


  1. Alice says:

    Great post, Travis. Some people use a baseball bat as a club, lol. I guess not at the level that you post about tho.

    Alice at I Was Born2Cree8

  1. Team GB did rather well at the Olympics this time, though not in basketball.

  1. TopChamp says:

    I went to see a baseball match once in Wisconsin - 11 years ago now. They were called 'cheeseheads' but I can't remember the real team name.

    It was SOOO different to a sport match here as there was so much noise and spectacle.

    Here we go in, sit down or stand at the side, the team play. They have half time - we maybe hit the bar or the coffee stand depending on the sport - then they play again and we go home. Sometimes they play loud songs through the speakers when certain people score. Generally there's only crowd noise.

    In the baseball match I remember bright colours and flashing lights, people shouting walking round selling drinks in the stands, big screens, the mascot dropping down a slope into a barrel with effects and music... I'm sure there was loads that I have forgotten too. Very different atmosphere.

  1. bv says:

    I absolutely LOVED your post about the US Men's BB team. I was up late and watched the very end of that final game. While I knew they secured the gold I knew very little else. Your thoughts were refreshing and informative. Thank you for that!

    I grew up in the Williamsport, PA area where the little league baseball events takes place each year. Unfortunately I took it for granted being that it was so close and hence I never attended or even visited. My brother went to the museum there as a young child on a little league team as I remember he carried around a little wooden bat for a long time after that!

    Happy Manic Monday!

  1. TopChamp says:

    I am getting so bad at this! I go completely off the point and forget what I meant to say in the first place!

    It is good that basketball is spreading. I have a couple of pupils in Paisley who play so the kids are starting to get involved here now.

    Is there more money in sports in America? Salaries and such?

  1. hi trav! this is sports, right? see i got that part! ha ha ha

    smiles, bee

  1. Linda says:

    I'm still not sure how I feel about professional athletes competing at the Olympics. I still think it should be reserved for amateur athletes who have managed to become the best in their field without benefit of major corporate sponsorship or tons of fame already. However, that's just my opinion and I know that all of the countries do it and it's like trying to fight city hall or spitting in the wind in the end.

    Still, I liked the Olympics so much better before they let the professional athletes in.

    My favorite moment of the Olympics had to be the final dive of the Men's 10 Meter Platform Diving Competition when China thought they had it in the bag and then Australia's Matthew Mitcham snatched the gold from Chinese favourite Zhou Luxin. That was absolutely fantastic as it just went to show what a person can do when they put their mind to it.

    Oh dear, I seem to have gone off topic here! Sorry!

  1. Anndi says:

    "Or we could just have fun..."

    Smart, the boy is. Hopefully he'll hold on to that. Winning is not the end all be all, it's nice, but all can't rest on a win. That very wise boy is a winner in my book.

  1. Mags says:

    I love kids. The only trouble is that some of them want so badly to impress adults, they'll push that "Or we could have fun" comment back.

    They grow up too fast anyway-baseball shouldn't be one of those times.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I like how you integrated your love for sports and the word club...

    ya know, I haven't seen one thing on the Olympics... Just not into it with it being in china and all. I really wish it were somewhere else...

  1. Congrats to the kids. As for the US basketball team, I thought the Olympics were supposed to be for amateurs.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    They are actually too many big egos on the national team, so I was surprised they even learnt to work together and got the gold. Congrats to them :o)

  1. I was actually glad when the American basketball pro squad first lost in the Olympics. Their arrogance was embarrassing and it was good to see 'em taken down. I no longer watch basketball because the egos are so overblown.

  1. who do you like in the majors for baseball?

  1. I wasn't aware that they were calling the USA Basketball team that. I hate it when people get cocky... it's just an invitation to get pulled down.

    Nice post!

    Happy MM!

  1. Gayle says:

    Great post for club...

  1. Not playing this week, but wanted to comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the Olympics Travis. Have a great day. :)

  1. Kimmie says:

    I loved the Olympics this year, but I totally get what you are saying. I think China did an extroidinary job of being host.

    Hey! Its almost time for DANCING!!! Woot Woot!!!


  1. I think ethnocentrism exists in sports and various other areas the world over.. Americans seem to be the most open about it. For me, the "redemption" with this Team USA basketball was in that they needed to redeem themselves with the American public. The behavior of the so-called second and third editions of the "Dream Team" was disgraceful. I'm glad this year's team was a team in the true sense of the word.

    Also, I'm glad they all draped their medals on Coach K and on Jerry Colangelo as well. Nice gesture.

  1. Jeff B says:

    didn't catch any of the LL games this year around. Like many others, the Olympics seemed to take center stage.

    That kid's sound bite was priceless wasn't it? Something all fans and athletes alike could benefit from.

  1. Travis says:

    Alice: I used to keep a baseball bat in my car, just in case I ever needed a club.

    Anthony: Team GB is set up quite nicely for 2012. I heard of a number of youngsters getting some good experience this summer.

    TC: That would have been the Brewers you saw in Milwaukee. I've never seen a game there, but I can say that there are a lot of extra things built into the new ballparks these days. I guess owners aren't confident anymore that the game on the field is enough.

    BV: One of my dream sports vacations is to spend a couple weeks at the LLWS, then to hit all of the various halls of fame.

    TC: I don't mind you going off point. I enjoyed your other comment too! And to answer your questions...salaries in the major pro sports - football, baseball, and basketball - are huge.

    Bee: It's sports, but it's also about giving your best and playing hard for your country.

    Linda: Well, it's a good thought and I think the World University Games generally still operate that way. But for years amateur athletes from western countries competed against what amounted to professional athletes in communist bloc countries. It was the job of one of those athletes to train and compete, whereas western athletes were not subsidized to train. I like to see the best athletes compete. Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate your perspective.

    Ann: There are lessons to be learned in the winning, the losing, and the playing of games. That's why we keep score.

    Mags: When I watch these kids, they generally seem to have it in perspective.

    Lois: I've been able to find a way to write what I wanted with the words for three weeks in a row now.

  1. Travis says:

    Lana: The Olympics haven't been about amateurs in the major events for some time. Even the swimmers and track athletes can be considered professionals. The top athletes make enough money from appearance fees to train year round without getting real jobs. It's been like that since the 80s.

    Ivanhoe: Sometimes the goal is more important than the individual egos. That happened with this group.

    Charles: I understand that. The attitudes of the last two national teams really made me angry. But this team was different and I'm pleased for the players.

    Bitter Betty: I've been a Dodger fan since 1975.

    Clancy: I don't think it was so much about being cocky. I think it was more the thought that they were reclaiming image as well as status as the premier team in the world.

    Gayle: Thanks!

    Sandee: Lots of good stuff to enjoy.

    Kimmie: Less than a month to go for Dancing! YAY!

    Songbird: Now that was well reasoned. I didn't really consider it from that perspective. And I appreciated the gesture for Coach K and Mr Colangelo too.

    Jeff: I think the lessons from playing, winning, and losing are important. And I agree that the kids that reach the LLWS seem to have those things in perspective.

  1. DrillerAA says:

    I didn't watch much of the Olympic Basketball tournament, but I did get a sense of "team" spirit that I had not seen is some time. It was a pleasant change.

  1. Roger says:

    Awesome post Travis!

  1. Very nicely done, Trav. I'm proud as well. :D