Okay, maybe it wasn't a scorpion, but it was ugly
Here it is
Your 2008 Olympic men’s basketball champions.
The easy pick’s the United States, right? LeBron. Kobe. Wade. Kidd. But I’m just getting this goofy vibe that when it comes right down to it, Spain’s experience – as a team and in international play – is going to carry the day.
Not sure when the Americans will lose, maybe in the semifinals like they have in each of the last two big global events, or maybe they make it to the gold medal game before falling short but fall short they will.
I know the Americans have the most talent 1-12, there’s no debating that. But I’ve seen them deconstruct in the past when the most was on the line and I can see it happening again.
They don't shoot it well enough, I don't think they're big enough and I think when things get tough, they might get selfish. I could be wrong -- although that seldom happens -- and I presume you'll all let me know when I am but if Spain does win, I are gonna be thought of as very smart.
This oughta be a hoot.
On Sunday morning over here, I’m off to cover the first water polo game of my career and, because of those pesky time zone things, I have to write right on deadline back in North America.
Now, it might be the greatest water polo game in the history of water polo and I wouldn’t know. But I’m pretty sure my first question shouldn’t be:
"Hey, coach, how do you get the horses in the pool?”
That’s the glory of the Games, you go and cover things you know very little about and hope there’s some human interest angle that gets you through 600 words.
Okay, maybe that scorpion-like thing was a crayfish, but it was the ugliest looking crayfish I’ve ever seen. From about four metres away, of course.
And there was no water anywhere we could see. But what do I know? I originally wondered if it was a baby gila monster.
You know what I haven’t seen around here yet?
A submachine gun.
Usually at the Olympics, the security is oppressive and the guards at the media village, the venues and the main press centre are always soldiers carrying weapons that say, “don’t screw with us.”
I’m not naïve enough to think there aren’t guys like that lurking around the Beijing Games but so far they haven’t made their presence known. It’s sort of unsettling to have some burly dude holding a machine gun watching your every move; it’s sort of nice to see smiling volunteers greeting us at these Games.
My Man Perk’s got a really good column going in tomorrow’s paper about the circus that was the American basketball media conference here Friday (which was Thursday back there, I think) and Lucas Our Photog has a great picture.
But I’ll give you a hint: It was a freaking circus.
Did get some time to hang with Bosh, though, who sat there and patiently answered about a zillion questions, many repeated by repeated waves of reporters.
And while a lot of big-time athletes are going to avoid the rest of the Games, he’s going to be out and about watching events..
"Yeah, track and field, boxing, swimming, all the venues. This only happens once every four years and I’ll never see it happen again in Beijing. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I don’t want to be cramped up in my room. I know that we have a goal in mind and I will make sure I keep that in mind when I’m out there having fun but I’ll get my rest and drink lots of water.”
You know how kids in North America play basketball in the schoolyards and hockey on the streets as they hone their skills?
Over here, it’s badminton.
In about a 20-minute bus ride the other night, we saw about four places – school yards, I think – where impromptu badminton games, most without actual nets, going on.
They do know how to take care of us here.
A colleague was leaving the media village this morning and when his bag went through the X-ray machine, a full beer can was spied by the eagle-eyed security dude.
Apparently it’s against the rules to take it out of the village (guess they want to sell you another one at the next stop) but they didn’t want to confiscate it, it being valuable and full and all.
What’d they do?
Checked it in a locker all by itself and gave my man a claim check for it.
We’re heading back there now, about 10 hours later, and figure it’ll be there and waiting.
How nice of them, eh?
Gonna keep it a bit short today, about to rush out of the press centre to drop the computer back in the room and venture out among the people to watch the opening ceremonies.
That should be very, very cool.
Talk to you later