An Olympic Shout Out for East St. Louis Native

Olympics Dawn harper gold at finish line

Sure I am as ecstatic as anyone who has witnessed the dominance of Michael Pehlps.  Usain Bolt is literally destroying the competition with Carl Lewis like command.  The Redeem Team known as USA basketball is ready for the medal rounds and they look fantastic.  But I got to pause to give some love to home girl Dawn Harper.   Today she won the gold medal in the women’s 100 meter hurdles. 

This marks the first time an East St. Louisan has won Olympic gold since my home girl Jackie Joyner-Kersee, arguably the greatest female athlete of all time.  Her brother Al also won Gold in 1984.  The other commonality linking Joyner-Kersey and Harper is that they shared the same high school coach in Nino Fennoy.   Fennoy is an international track and field coaching legend.  His teams have won 15 Illinois State Championships.  When I attended East St. Louis Lincoln high school in the mid 80s, the girls track team were in the midst of an 8 year state championship win streak.   Keep in mind Lincoln was a rather small school (my class graduated 357) and they had to compete against school from Peoria and Chicago.  Fennoy has kept the tradition going winning the girls state title this year as well at East St. Louis Sr. High School.

The connections don’t stop there.  Harper’s current coach is none other than Bob Kersee.  Harper also attended college at UCLA, following in the footsteps of Jackie who met Bob while attending UCLA.  I am happy for Ms. Harper and for all the kids in East St. Louis who can look at these accomplishments and know they can achieve anything they choose to as well.

Congratulations Dawn!

BBG C-Notes Week Ending Aug 15-17

Peeps, I know its been a week.  I have been on a bit of a sabbatical lately.  So i have not been able to post.  Thanks for sticking around.

We Will Remember:

Black Moses (Isn’t that redundant?)

And Bernie (I want my milk and coooookies) Mac

 

Rest in peace brothers!

Olympic News – (In Bad Taste)

What the hell were the Spaniards thinking about when they decided to pose with the “slanted eyes?”  Their poor excuses were not fooling anyone either.  Pau Gasol (who played Pau Gasoft when I last saw him foshizzle fizzle against the Celtics while wearing my beloved purple and gold of the Lakers) said, ““It was supposed to be a picture that inspired the Olympic spirit.”  What Olympic spirit would that be Pau?  Hey if the Olympics were ever in Africa, maybe they can all wear blackface!

Speaking of black faces, I tend to agree with USA’s Jason Kidd who pointed out that if that were the Americans, specifically the black Americans who pulled such crap they would be on the first plane smoking back to the States.  David Stern would be on the war path suspending players and condemning them left and right.  The world would have reacted and the powers that be would be ready to give up some American booty.

Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number 

At least the Chinese Olympic Team doesn’t think so when it comes to the age limits.  They sent Jr. High schoolers to do their deeds and win gold.   I mean just look at these girls!  Do they look 16 to you?  I know how sometimes a child looks older or younger than they really are – but practically the whole squad?  They look like they should be watching Spongebob!  Mitch Albom (Detroit Free Press Sports – Tuesday’s With Morrie) said it best: “What did you expect? Any country that would lip-sync out a 7-year-old singer because she wasn’t cute enough for the opening ceremony wouldn’t hesitate to use underage children to capture gold medals. That’s a no-brainer.” 

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Thats the Chinese government for you though.  Rules only apply when they are the ones making them.

On The Upside:

Suffice it to say it DOES NOT SUCK to be Michael Phelps does it?  This dude is cold smashing cats globally in these games.  How about starting off with 6 golds with 6 world records! (12 total in his career and counting)  I read today that this cat puts away 12000 calories per day during training.  DAMN!  I bet thats a record too for a world class swimmer.

Memo to the USA Olympic Committee: How could you be so stupid as to not invite Mark Spitz?

Michael Phelps

I guess that ASS whoppin that USA Men’s basketball put on defending gold medal team Greece sent a clear signal that this isn’t 2006.  They may have gotten Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) out of his game.  But Coach K’s is a coach who truly believes in beating opponents into submission.  Before the game he showed the team a tape of Greece celebrating on the court aftet the game two years ago.  Needless to say, they got attitude.  Especially the ones who played on that team.  Spain!  Your next!

Chris Bosh

On To Politics:

Memo to Kwame Kilpatrick- Brotha stay in D Town.  Don’t be tryin to crash the Dems convention in Denver.  Take a page out of the John Edwards handbook!  This is not about you!

Memo to geographically challenged brothers and sistas – While Russia has invaded the capital of Georgia, Atlanta is Ok.  You can still drive down Peachtree!

Memo to bitter Hillary Clinton Supporters: Get over yourselves.  Your girl lost!  The Obama camp has bent over backwards to accomodate the Clinton’s ego all summer.  The convention is coming up in two weeks.  Please don’t go there and show your asses.  You just look bad not to mention its an invitation to insert John McCain.  Its like free advertising.  Of course some of you don’t care.  And you tend to look like racist in the meantime.  Check this quote out from Will Bower, co-founder of the Just Say No Deal Coalition, a rabid Clinton Supporter.  “I have been voting Democratic for 18 years. I only voted for Democrats, from dog catcher to president and everything in between.  I will be voting for someone other than Barack Obama come November.”

You mean to tell me that Obama and Clinton’s policies proposals are that different?  Can you be any more obvious?

First Blood: Chinese visa rejection should open floodgates for dissent

 

US Olympic speedskater Joey Cheek

When asked the other day if USA Basketball players should speak out on human rights issues in China, Kobe Bryant said in effect that he and other players are not politicians but are there to “play the game.”  Normally I would say that’s a big cop-out!  After all, we know the power of the dollar these days and how much marketing makes a difference as players follow the “Jordan Rules” for remaining race and issue neutral on all things that do not pertain to promoting themselves or their brand.  I could site LeBron James’ reluctance to speak out about Nike sweat shops as an example. 

For sure the days of the concious athlete, i.e. Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, John Carlos and Tommy Smith, hell Billy Jean King are gone for the most part.  The rare exceptions for example are basketball players like Adonal Foyle, Dikembe Mutombo, and Etan Thomas.  Craig Hodges the former sharpshooter for the Bulls during the early Jordan years gave a letter to the president at the Rose Garden during their championship visit.  The letter talked about poverty and brought up issues that Hodges and others were concerned about that rarely ever get presidential attention.  He was blackballed by the league after that.  These people are conscious of not just their personal benefit and consumption from the sport, but of community and world affairs.  I don’t expect Kobe Bryant to know or care much about Tienanmen Square in 1989.  I don’t know that he is familiar with the issues regarding greater Los Angeles.  I would rather those speak who do know the issues so that the” stars” don’t make fools of themselves or degrade the cause.

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And so it goes with these Olympic games in Beijing.  I didn’t expect athletes with monolithic perspectives to chime in on weighty issues such as the Chinese human rights policy or the geopolitical stand of The Dali Lama.  Too bad the Olympics are in China in the first place, but perhaps we could just play nice and get through the games.  NOT!  Not now that the Chinese government has revoked the visa of Olympic Gold Medalist skater Joey Cheek.  Cheek is the founder of Team Darfur, a group of 70 athletes whose goal is to raise awareness of the human rights violations taking place in the Darfur region of The Sudan as told by Yahoo Sports.  China has many military, economic and diplomatic ties to The Sudan.

Again, initially I understood the modern athlete’s reluctance to get into political discussions during the games.  After all, it takes all one has just to prepare to qualify to compete with the best in the world on the world’s biggest stage.  The Olympics only happen once every four years.  Many American athletes have toed the line and not made any political statements regarding Chinese human rights issues and have focused their energies to promoting the games and making them attractive to fans, who may not otherwise know them.  However, China has thrown down the gauntlet two days before the opening ceremonies themselves.  American athletes should respond likewise by voicing their disdain for the way the Chinese have decided to treat Cheek.  They should use every opportunity especially during the medal presentations to make it their business to rally around a fellow American.  Talk about patriotism!  This is not a time to be politically correct but to make a morally definitive statement in supporting another American’s attempt to make the world better.  With the treatment of a great American like Cheek, it is unacceptable for any athlete to say with a straight face that it’s “just about the games.”  Damn the endorsements – speak truth to power!