USA Basketball takes Gold!

Team USA celebrates the Gold

Team USA celebrates the Gold

Team USA takes Basketball Gold in a 118 – 107 win over Spain.

I sat and watched the game live in Herat, Afghanistan.  I was in the Dining Facility with about 100 other American personnel.  There were also 5 to 10 Spaniards in the room with us.  I didn’t realize this  until Pau Gasol made a play.  I and the other Americans screamed “ARRRRRGH!!!”  And a few other expletives that I won’t type here.  The Spaniards applauded.  Every American in the room turned towards the applause with malice in our eyes.  lol  Being intent on the game, we had not noticed the Spaniards enter the room.   After the initial shock, a couple of us laughed and returned our attention to the game.

It’s always a special experience watching momentous games such as this in remote corners of the earth with fellow Americans.  Back in the States.  Everyone is American.  It’s all taken for granted.  This victory was made all the more special for me having watched it in Afghanistan.  I can’t explain it.  I just feel it more.

America reclaims it’s rightful place in Olympic Basketball.  International Basketball. It was a game decided in the last minutes. Team USA was never down.  But the Spaniards pulled to within 2 with a little less than 3 minutes remaining.  Team USA started to act a little frazzled.  Anger surfaced.  They recovered quickly and retook the lead.

Navarro, the Gasol brothers and Ricky Rubio, the 17 year old future pro, were pulling out all stops.  Fernandez seemed unstoppable at times.  Dunking on Dwight Howard and showing no signs of quit or surrender.  He eventually fouled out defending Kobe Bryant after sizzling Team USA for 22 points.  That shot of him dunking on Howard will be shown as an Olympic highlight for the nest 100 years.  It was that good.

It was a great game.  The Spanish Team acquitted itself nicely.  Played hard and played well.  They played to win.  But fell short.  Team USA held on.  Took the lead back to Ten and kept it there.  Dwayne Wade was the high scoring genius with 27 points.  Kobe Bryant and Lebron James were equally stars of the game for the USA.  Tayshaun Prince even got some valuable playing time in there over the more heralded Carlos Boozer.

AND IT WAS A GREAT GAME! Well Played and hard fought.

Team USA 2008 will be remembered as the team that brought the Gold back to America.  In Basketball, the Gold belongs in America.  It’s our game.  James Naismith invented it.  Our people perfected it.  It’s THE American game.  More so even than Baseball.  Jerry Colangelo deserves a good deal of credit for the redemption of USA Basketball.  He was the architect of this Team USA.  Coach K and the Boys deserve equal credit.  After all, it is a team sport.  They earned this Gold Medal over the course of last four years of work.  The USA finally played as a team in the Olympics.  And it paid off in Olympic GOLD!

Congratulations Team USA.  Well played.  The Basketball Gold is once more where it belongs.  In America.

They lived up to the legacy of these guys.

The First Dream Team.

New York Times

It is hot in Herat!

Hot as hell. Walking outside is like walking into a blast furnace. In 6 days, I will begin the journey that takes me home to my Momma and then on to Asia.  I am so so looking forward to rolling out of here. 9 Days at home to visit my Momma and some of the rest of my family.


Off to Bangkok for some real fun. Two days there to relax and become acclimated to Asia.

Next stop is Cambodia. Something about that place that I love. I want to explore a bit more. Go deeper into the place. Go a little off the beaten path. I’ll probably spend about 8 days in Cambodia. Two in Phnom Penh and 6 or so in and around Siem Reap. Must see Angkor again, of course. I want to get away and see Battambang and other places that don’t get the usual tramp of tourism. See what I can out there. Just gotta be careful. Landmines out there in the wilds of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge were as ugly as the Soviets and Taliban when it came to emplacing landmines.

My buddy Becca will join me when I get back to Bangkok and then it’s off to India and on to Egypt. Two of the most exotic locales on the planet. Pyramids and Tah Mahals. Moghuls and Khans and Pharaohs. Perhaps, we should leave early and take a side trip into Jerusalem. I’ve been to Jerusalem before. It’s one of those places where you can feel humanity and the ages speaking to you. History wails through the cracks in the Western Wall. The legend of Christ can be felt there. His pain and his love for humanity. The oppression of both the Roman and Islamic Empire can be felt still floating through the air. The victims still cry for justice. You can smell the blood that has been spilt. Feel the rage of the rebellions and revolutions. Jerusalem is truly a special city. It’s a magnitude of “exceptionality” that one can not comprehend until one has experienced the City of Peace. Likewise, visiting the Pyramids is extraordinary. Thousands of years of history. One follows a multitude of pilgrims to Ghiza, Saqqara and Memphis. Millions of Egyptians look to the Pyramids with pride. Knowing that their country, their culture produced such wonders in antiquity. I’m sure it makes them feel as though they can rise and do so again. With leadership and true philosophy, I’m sure that they could. But Egypt, like the rest of the Muslim world, will do nothing again until they throw off the mind numbing shackles of Islam. Islam where Insha’allah prevails as the philosophy of progress.

India. Who can truly summarize the Golden Continent of Gandhi. All great Empires of the old age coveted this realm of spice and riches and magic exoticism. Beauty and uncommon wealth are ubiquitous on the subcontinent. Yet, dwelling in the house of beauty and affluence is their stepsisters poverty, famine and death. I have read much of India but have yet to experience it. I shall on this journey for the first time. Hopefully, more trips will follow and I will get to know India well.

I still can’t believe how hot it is here today. I don’t want to step outside my door. I don’t remember the Sinai being this hot. I feel like the Sun is a mere inch from my face while outside my door. Scorching my skin. Incinerating my nose and ears. Yet, January saw the worst blizzard Herat had seen in decades. 2 feet of snow. Freezing temperatures.

And I thought Kentucky weather was insane.

I read in the news that Kobe has choked again. Kobe will never be the great player. He will always be the one who could have been. The one who should have been. Too much was given to Bryant. He hasn’t learned that sometimes one has to take the prize. Reach out and make it so. He still thinks that he deserves the prize. No one deserves anything. One achieves or one does not. Kobe does not. His instinct is now and will always be to expect to win. He has not learned that he must keep fighting until the last ounce of sweat has been sacrificed. He still hasn’t learned that he can’t do it alone. He still hasn’t learned that leadership is a full time job. Not a sometimes job. He settles for the question when he should drive to certainty.

Therefore, another Kentucky boy will get a ring.

Go Rondo! Go Celtics!