Sunday, July 29, 2012
Before you answer that, let me explain.
Some of us cheer for underdogs. The person who might not be as physically gifted, as naturally talented, or even as good looking as the “superstar”. Maybe I'm just cheering for me, as that is how I view myself, but I hope it is because I value someone who overcomes long odds to succeed more than I am in awe of someone who seemed destined since birth to do what they do.
Lebron James is an example. His size, speed, and leaping ability gives him many advantages over a much less imposing player in the NBA. While I respect his work ethic and his desire to improve, I won't call him “king”, I won't be hoping he wins not one, not two , not ANY more titles, I won't be buying something because he has a commercial for it, and I will never be a member of his fan club. I'll never understand the fascination for the athlete that has always been the big man on whichever campus he played. Obviously I am in the minority again, because an awful lot of #6's have been sold all over the United States.
Who, you ask?
Well, none other than the shortest player to ever score 30 points in an NBA game, pound-for-pound maybe the strongest player in the NBA (he's known to bench press over 300 pounds!), and the assist record holder from Eastern Michigan University, that perennial powerhouse.... OK they HAVE a basketball program! Surprisingly, Earl went undrafted. Maybe it was because of his towering height – all 5 ft 5 inches of him, or his athletic 133 pounds ready to play! In comparison, Lebron is 6 ft 8 inches and 250 pounds! Doesn't seem fair huh?
DESPITE the size (or because of it???) Earl has crafted a place for himself that more gifted athletes sitting in the stands only dream about. Does it matter if his face is not plastered all over the world? Does it matter he doesn't make the nightly highlight reel on ESPN? It SHOULD matter that he idolized his father growing up and obviously never listened to people laughing at the idea of his playing professional ball.
Sorry Lebron, I'll cheer for Earl every time.
I kind of feel the same way about the Olympics and our role as a country. We are a powerful and diverse land that has taken many of the best people from all over the world in the last 520 years, and called them our own. We have pride in our accomplishments and we should. That shouldn't exclude being happy when someone from another part of the world kicks our butt. Humble, we are not! And that is sad. We should always encourage those with less than we have, which is a large part of the planet!
I'll admit to hoping the basketball team gets beat.
NBA millionaires, in my opinion, generally aren't there holding the flag unless the cameras are rolling. To have already famous (or infamous) people representing is an embarrassment to me. Where are the athletes that have tortured themselves to make it in a competitive field that never gets a mention on Sportscenter except every four years? They are there. I am way more proud of THEM than I'll ever be towards Kobe.
I'm not just picking on the NBA or it's players. (Although “flopping” to me is the worst thing in sports!) They are just an example of a question I've had on my mind for years – when did WE become the bully everyone loves to hate?
Even I do....