Irwin Blitzer (John Candy) in Cool Runnings: "Those guys have earned the right to walk into that stadium and wave their nation's flag. That's the single greatest honor an athlete can ever have."
Question: Is waving your nation's flag and competing against other nations still the greatest honor an athlete can have? Has this ever been the case?
Lebron has caught a lot of hell lately; he deserves it. 1: He has a tattoo that says "KING" 2: He said they'd win multiple championships before they won a single ring. 3: He had a show to announce where he would play. 4: He continually backtracks off of stupid statements. 5: He needs a brush.
My question is what's worse: doing these 5 things, or turning down a chance to represent your country?
In the summer of 2008 I stayed up pretty late a few nights to watch Kobe, Dwight Howard, Lebron, D Wade, and Carmelo "redeem" USA basketball from the "nightmare" team of 2004 captained by Iverson and Duncan. As much as I hate Duncan and Iverson, they devoted their offseason in the midst of declining careers to represent their country. Hell, Iverson wanted to play again in 2008 but wasnt invited.
Last summer, the World Cup caught fire in the United States (until mighty Ghana knocked us out). Of course, not watching made you anti-American, but that's for another time (wonder how many of these people watched basketball and luging with the same resolve in 2008). Anyways, say what you want about Donovan and Altidore, but they go out as underdogs, knowing many of their fellow countrymen root against them and they bust their asses- the effort and emotion they put into it is unquestioned. Correct me if I'm wrong Schiv, but with the exception of jackasses like De Rossa who play for other countries, when USA Soccer comes calling, people don't turn it down.
Here's a list of some NBA guys who refused to represent their country in the Olympics at some point in their careers: Shaq, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Vince Carter, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Richard Hamilton, Rashard Lewis, Jared Sullinger, Kendrick Perkins, and Tayshaun Prince.
Here's a list of MLB players who wanted no part of representing their country in the World Baseball Classic: John Danks, John Lackey, Tim Lincecum, and Joe Mauer. I understand the World Baseball Classic is new and not that important but these are all young, well-liked guys, and they wouldn't play for USA.
So along with trying to portray Lebron in a little bit of a positive light, has the greatest honor for an athlete ever been to compete for one's country? If so, why do so many guys turn it down? You'll never convince me of a good reason not to play for your country. If you're injured, they won't want you.
Refusing to play for your country is worse than any "Decision" or stupid tweet one can have.
If Lebron turns down Coach K in a few years, I'll hate him too.
In lower classifications, an off night against a more talented opponent usually results in a double digit loss. Hell, Calvary beats teams by 20, even 30 some nights. Earlier in the season Savannah High beat us by 50 at Benedictine. Up 40 with 2 minutes to go, they kept the press on. Losing like this builds character. It prepares you for the real world. If you weren't smart enough to go to Harvard, you still compete against Harvard grads in the job market. BC should play the best to prepare our young men for the real world. If you don't give great effort, are missing players, and don't come to play, you deserve to lose by 50. We learned a lot about ourselves that night.
Fast forward 5 weeks. Franky and Mike Hill are back. We are much more competitive taking Bradwell and Glynn to overtime. Guys begin to buy in and believe we might knock off one of the big boys. In no way am I saying we expected to win that Tuesday in January. But we knew we were going to compete and we were there to play.
Hinchey played his ass off. I will be forever indebted to him for his effort that night. A 6'0 doctor's son who played in SPAL stood toe to toe against a frontline with a 7 footer and a team with a total of 6 college basketball players. Mike Hill hit some big shots and Barker played solid D on a guy who was just a sophomore but was already their best player. That player was Casey Mitchell. I think there were 20 cadets there: 10 basketball players and 10 fans.
We did the unthinkable. Im still not sure when the last time BC won at SHS before we did, and I don't know how long it will be until it happens again. What I do know is that you remember games like these forever. Cannon shook each one of our hand's after that game, and they turned out the gym lights before we could exit the gym. I wouldn't have it any other way.
BOYS' ROUNDUP Region 3-AAAAA Benedictine 40, Savannah High 37
Benedictine posted its first Class AAAAA (A) win by stunning Savannah High 40-37 at the Ron Love Athletic Center. The Cadets (3-11 overall, 1-6 subregion) made 7 of 10 free throws down the stretch to clinch the victory. Donnie Bell and Michael Hill led BC with 12 points each. Savannah High (11-5, 6-2) was led by Kevin Parker with 11 points. The Blue Jackets fall out of a three-way tie for first place in the subregion with the loss, a game behind Groves and Glynn Academy. BC (40) Hinchey 1, Barker 7, Jackson 8, Donnie Bell 12, Michael Hill 12. SHS (37) Kevin Parker 11, Mitchell 7, Smith 6, Brown 10, Tambon 2. Halftime—SHS, 14-12. Records — Savannah High 11-5 overall, 6-2 Class AAAAA (A); Benedictine 3-11, 1-6
Losing to Windsor in the region playoffs my junior year still haunts me. We had beaten them 3 times that year, all double digit wins, and they ended our season in a shocker at Groves. We played too tentatively and tried to force it down low all game. Windsor was young and athletic- it was their time. The would go on to knock off Wayne and make the state playoffs that year. After the game, they ran around shouting next year is here. I've never felt worse after a sporting event in my life. I doubt I ever would. 18-8 in 3AAAAA is outstanding, but we underachieved. We should have been playing as SSU for the region championship.
The class of 2003 was full of talent. We lost our dominate post player in Brady. We lost our shooting wing, Keenan. Our captain, best shooter, and best defensive player took his talents to GSU intramurals (where he would average 30). Bryan and Matthew were athletic guards who could defend and slash- both were gone. Jermaine's physical presence would be missed. Most of all, the momentum from the previous two years was gone. Worse, Franky was ineligible and Mike Hill was taking a 3 month vacation to start the season.
On the other hand, Windsor had lost nothing. Eron Riley was a year older and stronger. Eric Scott was the 2nd best guard in the city. Mack and Bell were outstanding guards. Our starting lineup was Barker, Hinchey, Lorenzo, Bell and Scott. No Franky, no Mike Hill. No Brady, Shane, Keenan, BG, Matty, or Jermaine. Still, we pulled one out of our asses. Windsor still ended BC's only serious hopes of a region championship the year before, but this game wasn't bad payback.
Donnie Bell led all scorers with 22 points as Benedictine battled past Windsor Forest Friday night. Eron Riley led Windsor Forest with 13 points. BC is 2-3, while Windsor is 4-2. WINDSOR FOREST (41) Eron Riley 13, Scott 8, Bell 7, Lewis 4, Moore 4, Mack 3, Jones 2. BENEDICTINE (45) Donnie Bell 22, Hinchey 8, McDonald 6, Scott 4, Barker 3. Halftime—BC, 24-14. Records—WF 4-2, BC 2-3
After knocking off Savannah High during the summer and losing a hard-fought game to them earlier in the season at Ron Love, the tables were set for a showdown. This was our big chance. We had to beat Savannah High, and we did. The atmosphere at this game will never be duplicated; GHSA rules were altered because of it.
Cannon had been tossed the previous Saturday in a devastating loss at Beach. Kieffer coached us to victory. New had the noodles. Schwarz had the dolls. I still get chills thinking about this game. We controlled the game from the tip. By the 4th quarter, I'd wager 4 out of 5 people in that gym were waiting on us to blow it. But this was our game and we held on. Brady put an exclamation point on this game with a dunk. I'll always respect Thomas Crawford for his actions after the game. The walk back to the locker-room was amazing.
Benedictine 61, Savannah High 50
Brady Cannon scored 19 points to lead Benedictine to a 61-50 Region 3-AAAAA (A) win Tuesday against Savannah High. Three other Cadets cracked the double-digit mark. Keenan Summerlin, Donnie Bell and Bryan Gray scored 14, 13 and 12, respectively.
Savannah High was led in scoring by Thomas Crawford with 14 points. Blue Jacket teammate Michael Wingster chipped in with 13 points.
Brady Cannon 19, Donnie Bell 13, Keenan Summerlin 14, Bryan Gray 12, Jackson 4.
SAVANNAH HIGH (50)
Thomas Crawford 14, Michael Wingster 13, Sandes 8, Brown 5, Tambon 4, Jones 2, Washington 2, Deridder 2.
Halftime -- Benedictine, 26-17. Records -- Benedictine 11-6, 4-3 Region 3-AAAAA (A).
I figured I better go ahead and do all of them. Maybe this well get us some Friday traffic. If nothing else, it will give us something to discuss this weekend. Keep in mind, these are the most memorable games to me, not the most important or anything.
4: BC vs. Camden @ Cannon Court 2002.
The previous year we finished 7-17, but we had everyone back except Owens and Holland. The absence of Holland would hurt, but that's for another post. Anyways, we came into the season hoping to have a winning record, and there were whispers of us being as good as the Koncul/Williams team. It was a tumultuous offseason: we had beaten SHS in a summer league game, Brady suffered a collapsed lung, Walden hospitalized me in his one day tryout, and Dotson and Franky duked it out a week before the start of the season.
The atmosphere for this first game of the season was electric. Unfortunately, we fell behind by more than 10 in the first half. During half time, the conversation consisted of, let's get our shit together, or everyone is going to think we suck again. The day before the game, Cannon put in a half court in bounds play. We got into that situation, and we executed it flawlessly. We would go 3-0 in the Joe Greene Tournament.
Benedictine 63, Camden Co. 61
Camden County led 15-5 after a quarter and by 12 points at halftime, but BC came back and won when senior forward Brady Cannon converted a layup with 20 second remaining in the Joe Greene Tournament. BC's comeback was headed by Cannon and post player Donnie Bell, who scored 12 of his game-high 17 in the latter minutes of the third quarter and the fourth quarter.
CAMDEN CO. (61)
Charles Williams 10, Johnson 9, Holloway 9, Massey 9, Emerson 8, Small 6, Green 6, James 2.
Donnie Bell 17, Brady Cannon 13, Frankie Jackson 12, Keenan Summerlin 10, Murray 8, Gray 3.
For the next 5 Fridays, there will be no Friday Haiku. Instead, I am going to recount the most memorable 5 basketball games played while I was at Benedictine.
5: Benedictine v. Bradwell @ Cannon Court
Why it was significant:
It was the first region win for Benedictine in over 2 years. The previous year Benedictine went winless in region play. The core of Pierce, T West, Logan Sevier, Richard Polote, and Lamar Owens made it a habit to compete in the toughest basketball region in the state and even defeated Johnson in a non-region game. The 02/03 squad saw Owens take a backseat to guards Holland, Jackson, and Dotson. Gray, Summerli, and Murray grew into dangerous wings while Bell and Cannon learned to work together down low.
The atmosphere at this game was unbelievable. It set the stage for next year, and more than anything it proved that our group of sophomores and juniors was already better than the previous year's seniors. This was a stepping stone game. We took our lumps throughout this year, but knowing we could beat- not be competitive against- the big boys made us hungry, and we worked our asses off the following Summer for good reason.
Here's the story from the SMN,
Bell, Cannon ignite Benedictine to upset against Bradwell
Donnie Bell's 12 points and Brady Cannon's 10 sparked Benedictine to a 43-38 upset win against Bradwell Institute in a Region 3-AAAAA (A) boys' high school basketball contest.
BC (6-12, 1-6) recorded its first sub-region win of the season. Keenan Summerlin added nine points for the Cadets.
Romeo Montez led Bradwell (13-6, 7-4) with nine points.
BRADWELL INSTITUTE (37)
Montez 9, Nelson 8, Milton 4, Clay 4, Thomason 4, Green 2, Gillespie 2.
Donnie Bell 12, Brady Cannon 10, Summerlin 9, Owens 5, Jackson 4, Gray 2. Dotson 1.
Well Ric Starr made his television debut earlier this evening in TNT's Franklin and Bash. I just watched it for a second time and was able to grab some screenshots with my phone but I don't think they do me justice. I'm much more photogenic on television. I will say for such a small role my performance was award show worthy. Nobody's ever played a tailor like that in cinematic history. Not to mention this was less than 2 months after my car accident, which is a made for TV movie in and of itself. Anyways, in case you missed it, or thought I was lying, here you go: