Beijing Olympics, Sports, Track and Field, WNBA

What It Means Or What It Ought To Mean ………..

Much   has  been   made    of  late  as to   the  ongoing   ramifications   of the  very    fact  that   WNBA   player    Becky  Hammon   has   chosen  to  play  for    Russia  at the   upcoming   Beijing   Olympics.     Hammon’s    patriotism   has   come    into    question  and    that   of   her   loyalty    to  her   country. 

Becky Hammon    playing    for    the  San  Antonio  Silver   Stars of  the  WNBA .    picture  courtesy of……. 

I for    one    view    Hammon’s   decision   as   no    different   from   someone   who    goes   out  to   chase   an  opportunity    for  financial  gain.  As  it  is ,  she’s   not  selling     state  secrets     that   are  of   national  security   and    therefore   that’ll     prove   fateful   for   this   country.    What   she’s    indeed    doing    is     to   ply    her    trade   to   the  highest   bidder.    In  this    case    it’s  Russia.    Were    it  anyone    else   I   seriously   doubt  that   there’d   be  this    furore  arising   from   this.    But     there  are   some    amongst   us    who  still    view    the    country   as   one    vast  evil   Empire     that’s   still    out   to   spread   Communism   to   all   corners  of  the  globe.    

Bernard  Lagat  of  the  United   States    who   was   born    and   raised  in  Kenya.   Lagat    competed  in  the  Athens  Olympics  for   Kenya   at  the   1500m  and   won  the  silver   medal  there.   He’s   now  seen  as   the   presumptive    favorite   for  this   year’s title at   the   Olympics.   picture   courtesy  of  …………….

Well   considering   that   the  Iron Curtain  has    now   fallen  and   the  Berlin  Wall  is    nothing   more   than  afterthought   to  many.    The     talk  of     being   unpatriotic  and   allegations   of  a  traitor    on  the  part  of Hammon,     is    something   that  I  view   with  a   great   deal    of  cynicism  and  being  outright     farcical.    As   with   anything    thought  of  being   somewhat    being   done   surreptitiously  .  Albeit  that    Hammon    is  being   granted   citizenship    by  the  Russians  in   order   that   she   can   compete   in    the   Beijing   Olympics.    This  is   no  different     to  athletes   that’ve    been    given   the  same   sort   of   benefit   here   in  the  United   States  whereby  they’ve   foregone   their    birthright  to  take   up   citizenship   of  another   country   to    compete  at  the   international  level   for  another    country.     

Marathon    runner  Meb Kelfizighi   whose   silver  medal  at the    Olympic  games  in   2004   was   a  deserving   one.  Here    he’s   seen    competing   in  a   road   race  the    Quad City Times  Bix  7.  Kelfizighi  born  and  raised   in  Kenya    was  granted    citizenship   to the  United  States   ten    years  ago.   picture  courtesy  of 7 

This  has  been     done   for   a  number  of  years   by   not   only  the  United  States   but    by  several  countries   around   the  world    in  a     litany    of  other    high   and   low  profiled   sports.  Furthermore   when  the   best  and   brightest  of   minds   are    lured   away  from   abroad  to    be  of   benefit  to  this    country .  We  hear   no  apparent    outcry      but    yet   when  it   comes   to   an   athletic    endeavor  .   It’d appear  that    many  it  is their    right  to   question  a    person’s    right  to  make    decision  as  to  what  is   best     for   them   at  that   particular  time.   

Khalid  Khannouchi (left)   the  former   world   record  holder   in the  marathon   who   was  originally  born  in  Morocco,   but   is   now   an  American   citizen.  picture  courtesy   of……………..

Khannouchi’s   citizenship   was   fast tracked    through  the  INS   by   none   other  than   New  York  senator   Charles  Schumer  (D-NY).   We   shouldn’t  feel  aggrieved   by   the  fact   that   this   senator  was   behind  this.   But   it  does   set  aside    precedence   with   regard  to  others   who    seek    political  asylum   legitimately.   In  the  case   of Khannouchi   he was   granted   his   citizenship  as  nothing   more   than   the   fact   he  was   deemed  as  a   special  need   for   the   mere   fact   of  his   prodigious   talent  as an   athlete.     It   wasn’t  done   out  of  necessity  for  a    need. 

A  young  Cassius  Clay (center)  stands  atop  of  the  podium   having   just  won  the  gold   medal  in  the  light heavyweight  division   at  the  1960  Rome  Olympics.   Having  returned   home  and then  seeking a   professional  career  in  the  ranks   of   boxing.   Clay’s  career   was  later   derailed    by  the  US  government   as  he  was   stripped   of  the  heavyweight  title   and  sentenced   to  six years    in  prison   for   his   refusal   to  serve in  the  military  at  the   height  of  the  Vietnam   War.    That   judgement   was  later   overturned    by   the  Supreme  Court   in    1972    ,  some   five  years   after   the    original   verdict.  Perceived   as  something   akin  to  a  traitor     at   the   time   ,  Clay  was  later   forgiven   in  some  circles.   But   in  the   eyes   of   many    he’s   still  seen  as a pariah.     picture  courtesy  of

Professionals    from   all  walks   of   life  are   granted    patronage   within  this    country  and   are   afforded   the  chance   to  practice  a  vocation    at  various  levels,     from   lawyers  to  doctors   to   scientists,   to   college  professors  and   other   fields   of   endeavor.    Many  in   the  end   choose  to  give   up  their    birthright  and   become an    American  citizen.    No   outcry   there   if  it’s  to  the  benefit    of  this   country  by   those  who’ll    benefit  from  it.  Which    is  in  effect   the  whole   country  at   large    in  one  form  or  another.    But  yet  there  are those   who’d   opine   and  say     what   is  being    done   by  Hammon   is  reprehensible  and    tarnishes   the   country  and  what  it  stands   for.         

 So   before    we   think   about   going   out to   tar  and  feather   Hammon.  Don’t   you   think  that  we    ought  to  get    our   priorities    straight   first  ?     OK   so   an  international  basketball   game  was    lost  to   the Russians  some   thirty    six   years   ago.    Hasn’t  the   Dream  Team    made   up   for  that    escapade    since   then  ?    And   as  far  as    I  can   remember    this    game    we   so   dearly    love    to  call  the  game   that  the   whole   world  wants   to  see  the   Americans     do so   well   in     has  now   become   something  of  a   global   phenomenon.   The   United  States  in  hockey  prevailed   over    the   mighty   Russians  in   the  Olympic   games      under the   tutelage  of   then   coach   Herb  Brooks.    If    nothing   else  this   is  bordering  on  whining    of   the   highest   order    by   some   who    are   in  effect    being    extremely    infantile   to   say   the  least.    Patriotism    can    in  many   forms    but    it’s    how   one  defines   it   and   the  actions   therein   that   really   counts.

The    talent  will  go    to  wherever   its   needs  are  best   met     and   fed.   And   that’s   all     that  is  happening   here   with    Hammon .  The   fact  that   there   happens   to  be      a  large    financial   gain  to    it  all   shouldn’t  be    lost.  But   look  at  this   way   the   Olympics   is    no   longer    representative   of  the   ideals   of   Baron  Pierre  de Coubertin ,  the  founding    father  of   the  modern Olympic  games.   The  athletes   may  well  be   chasing    glory    for    their    country  but  it’s   the   financial  goals  that   now  seems   to  wet    their   appetites. 

Below    you’ll   find  a  transcript   of  an   account    written    by   me   with  regard  to  this   very   topic   that   was   placed   on  another   site.      Take   time  and   an   effort   to    read   not     only  this   piece   but  also    the  link   provided.   And    then   having   done  so    ,  I’d   be   most  obliged  to   read    your   comments  .   No  matter   whether    they’re    to  the  contrary    in   its   objectivity   or   for    the   pro   side   of  the  subject    therein.  But  To Do  So  With Distinction  And  Pride



abritishman   aka  tophatal  ………………………

8 thoughts on “What It Means Or What It Ought To Mean ………..

  1. another thing to consider is this: if an athlete really wants to be an olympian, abut his/her talent level isn’t at par to make the US squad (not saying anything about ms. hammon’s talent, just generalizing), i’d see it possible for the athlete to opt to play for another country.

    take me for example. i was born and raised in switzerland, and i would rate myself a double-black, very good skier. that wont make me a ski racer though. would i make it on the swiss olympic team though? probably not. however, if i offer my services to my mother’s nation (philippines), i might just be the first filipino participant in down-hill ski racing at the olympics. why not? i’d probably do it in a heartbeat, even if it meant being out-classed on every level imaginable.

  2. kdjs
    Hammon was given the chance of making the US squad. They felt at the time she wasn’t up to par. She was asked again and returned for a second tryout and was told that her services were no longer required. A slight perhaps as she’d deemed it ? May be !

    But on the face of it if she’s offered the chance to compete on that very stage that she so desires then why not . She’d be a fool to look a gift horse in the mouth. It’s not as if the same thing hasn’t been done here by the United States with regard to not only athletes but others who are deemed to be of importance and of benefit to the country. It’s been done with doctors, scientists and engineers. The only difference is that they’re not competing at the international level in a form of athletic endeavor.

    They’re still being paid to ply their trade and in this case Hammon is no different. But yet she’s being decried as some sort of an unpatriotic Benedict Arnold . Which if anything is the furthest thing from the truth.

    abritishman aka tophatal ………….

  3. unpatriotic is a very harsh word to put on a player. we arent china who would want yao to play even if he were on crutches, and the slightest hesitation on his part would “severely question his patriotism”.

    so if we could, just like we did with the church, separate sports from politics, that would just be dandy.

    given our thirst for sensationalism, that’s not going to happen though. too bad. really a pity that sports has to be ruined by politics and money, huh? (hope my dripping sarcasm gets noticed).

    so if i buy my gas south of the border coz it will save me a buck (i live 15mins from mexico), would that make me unpatriotic?

    or i drive a honda for reliablity, which in turn, saves me thousands in avoided repairs by ford (sorry, ford drivers). does that make me unpatriotic?

    hardly, i believe.

    i’m just doing what’s best for me and my wallet. its a shame in the 1st place that these wnba players have to go over-seas during their off-season here, just to make ends meet. guess it keeps everything in perspective.

    reminds me of the book “hunt for red october”…

    aswissfilipinochineseamericanman aka kdjs

  4. kdjs
    In no way would I have the temerity to suggest that Hammon was being unpatriotic. If anything more damn power to her in her stance. I’d have done the same thing given the chance to do so.
    The world around us is changing and it’s about time people wake up to that very fact. The US’s power is slowly diminshing on the world stage and no one is any longer in all honesty prepared to play second fiddle to her. It’s only the politicians and their laymen that’d want us to believe otherwise.

    With the rise in power of such countries as China and Russia as well as India . The US has to now realize that things are now changing and they’ll either have to go with the flow or become an isolationist all over again.

    abritishman aka tophatal ……….

  5. ah, we’ve come to the inevitable transition into either politics or religion.

    but those are my sentiments, exactly. just as the world has caught up with the US in basketball, so has the world caught in many other ways as well.

    it’s called globalization. correct me if i’m wrong, but wasn’t that inherently an american idea? ironic how it’s the US that now suffers the consequences of globalization.

    some might call it imperialism. others mcdonald culture, but it all means the same: the world is getting smaller by the day and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.

    call it the “end of days” if you’re into that, call it “opportunity” if your glass is always half-full. i’ll simply call it “change”, known to be the only constant in this world anyway.

    there’s nothing we can do about the chinese building cars cheaper than we could ever dream of. or india, for that matter. truth be told, an indian car company has purchased the brands, and along with the brands, all the development and engineering secrets of jaguar/land rover.

    as one of my favorite comedians once said about globalization and race(ism):

    there’s nothing you can do about it: black, white, brown, 200 years from now, we’ll all be beige.

  6. kdjs
    There is something that can be done but it’d would mean the US having to listen for once rather than always dictating terms. And as far as having all the answers to a problem it’d help if they were prepared to listen once in a while from a willing partner.

    Globalization being what it is, is a situation that the country should’ve seen coming. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see it.
    I spent eight years working international finance and banking for a major international financial concern in the heart of London. Mergers and acquisitions is a real eye opener as to the various economies around the world.
    But I can also tell you this having served in the army and travelling around Europe , N Africa and seeing action in Ireland is all that I’d ever want at this juncture.

    The woes of the country is far and wide and they’re culpable to the indifference to the duplicitousness of the administrations of the successive governments.

    abritishman aka tophatal ………..

  7. Melandroweb
    Be that as it may there are still many who’ll have their own agenda. And at the same time question the fact that the games are being held in Beijing, China.
    To me it’s rather pointless of those questioning China hosting the Olympics. When for all intense and purpose the US emboldens the actions of countries such as the Sudan with the sentiments bandies about by the administration and in particular that of the State Dept and the President. On one hand we state that the country is an ally on the war on terror . But the depsotic leadership of Omar al Bashir is allowed to follow with the atrocities that the world witnesses in the Darfur region of that country.

    It’s somewhat trite to deride the Chinese for their alleged actions but to overlook what’s happening in Africa.

    abritishman …………….

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