Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who's ready for some unabashed jingoism?

I first heard of this story a couple weeks ago and didn't really pay it much attention but now it's getting some more coverage and since it concerns America I figured it was time for me to weigh in.

Becky Hammon is one of the best players in the WNBA (so she would be riding the pine on any decent men's high school team) but she didn't make our Olympic team. So what did the South Dakota native do? Why agree to play for the Ruskies, that's what. Since Hammon plays in a Russian pro league during the WNBA offseason she has been granted dual-citizenship, which has allowed her to play for Russia in the Olympics.

Frankly, I'm pretty disgusted at Hammon. Some people might defend her saying that she just wants to realize her Olympic dream but I have a couple problems with that: First, basketball isn't like gymnastics or swimming or something that people only really pay attention to in the Olympics so I don't really feel bad about her not "realizing her Olympic dream." Second, say she were playing for Morocco or Barbados or Brazil or any other country besides Russia then this wouldn't be that big a deal. I know the Cold War is over but Russia is still one of our main rivals in the Olympics so I think her actions are inexcusable. Finally, and most importantly, aren't most people's Olympic dreams rooted in some sort of national pride? Isn't that the point? To bring USA the gold? I like to think so, at least.

So has Hammon turned her back on her country? Definitely. Has she disgraced herself? Most certainly. Should she be booed by the three dozen fans at every WNBA game? Absolutely. But is she, as the USA coach called her, a traitor? No. I don't think the T-word can be applied in this situation because that's about as low as you can go. In fact I think treason (real, serious, no-joke treason; not I-don't-think-getting-tangled-up-in-the-Middle-East-is-a-good-idea "treason") is probably the only crime that deserves capital punishment so I'm not a big fan of just throwing that word around. Still Hammon really needs to get her priorities straight. She's an American who grew up with all the privileges and responsibilities that that entails so I think it's pretty disrespectful to compete for Russia in the Olympics.

Also if Russia beats USA for the Gold then I say she loses her American citizenship. Seriously. She should be allowed in the country to play in the WNBA but she can spend her winters in Siberia if she loves Russia so freaking much.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ted-

Many athletes swtich allegiances to the United States every year
(http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/sports/olympics/15citizen.html).
Its not the 1930s-the Olympics today are much less about nationalism
than money. The Olympics have become a multi-billion dollar industry
and NBC, the IOC and many athletes have made millions. I must say
that surely a wild free-market capitalist like yourself should have no
conflicting feelings about someone trying to make themselves extra
money after being snubbed for consideration to even TRYOUT for the
American team. In fact, what is more American than hustling a buck?
I think the other interesting point to make here is how myopic the US
Women's basketball team was in trying to field this team. This lady
is a fan favorite, Midwestern girl and an excellent player. Why not
give her a tryout? I will not be, under ANY circumstances, watching
women's basketball this summer, but I wish this chick the best for
having the stones to do what it takes it get in the games.

Regards,

Ben

PS-Why does you co-author write 99% of the entries?

Doug the Punter said...

I actually wrote this post. I understand that the Olympics are a business but that's irrelevant to my point. I'm not writing about how things are, I'm writing about how they should be. I understand that she is making extra money but if say someone said they'd give you a $1,000 to deface the Washington Monument that doesn't mean you should do it just because of capitalism. The snubbing for the tryout is a bit bizarre but still the fact that she's playing for our major Olympic rival is infuriating to say the least. (Kinda like when Damon went to the Yankees). Thanks for posting your thoughts though, you raise some good points. Also, I don't plan on watching the women play either.

PS- Because Ted is a lazy, lazy man.

Sheedy said...

I'll shit on Becky Hammon for $1,000