Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I can no longer resist

I was going to see how far into the Olympics I could go without blogging about them. I am not anti-Olympics. I just can't stand the coverage restrictions that are implemented on news gathering organizations (what we can show, when we can show it, etc.). Can't stand that at all.

I love me some Olympics, though. Big time.

I'm getting this post up a little earlier than Monday's, but not by much. Hard to wake up early when you stay up watching boxing and softball until 2:30 a.m.

Monday's action was outstanding. US Swimmers stole the show early-Michael Phelps wins his 3rd gold, Aaron Piersol wins one (although it sounded like the announcers were dogging him about not having a "competitive" outward appearance), Natalie Coughlin wins one. Good stuff.

The US Gymnastics team took bronze in the team competition, which was pretty good, apparently, as I don't follow my men's gymnastics like I should. The only thing I would have changed was the smack-talk from the US after winning bronze. They were looking into the camera, and chirping "third place, baby!"

Hold on.

Look, I like the idea of a podium finish, getting the hardware, it's a great feat, considering this team was very inexperienced. Chirp when you win it all and no one expected it. The bronze medal high-fives amongst the teammates is cool, just don't scream it into the camera that 3rd place rocks. It really doesn't.

I congratulate them on earning a medal, considering nobody thought it possible. What hurts worse is that they actually led for the silver heading into the final rotation. The first 2 Americans on the pommel horse basically fell of the thing, giving them low scores. The final American was brilliant, and that performance salvaged the bronze. Had they won silver, behind the Chinese, I never would have written the above paragraphs.

The Games have provided plenty of great moments, and Phelps will try to deliver 5 more in the pool before it's all said and done. The US basketball team, now known as "The Redeem Team", flushed Angola 97-76 on Tuesday (sorry to spoil it if you were taping it for viewing later). They have the promise of bringing hoop gold back home. The US women's hoop team rolls along as well.

Better get the coffee ready for some more late night TV watching.

-Carolina Panthers with just 2 practices in Spartanburg remaining, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. The team will fly to Philadelphia on Wednesday for Thursday's pre-season game with the Eagles. Good to see some of the injured bodies back to practice (Jon Beason and Damione Lewis were back to work), and Ken Lucas is working out on the sidelines, just staying in shape. Wednesday promises to be a fun morning. A light workout, the last speech from Head Coach John Fox, and the annual rite of passage for the first year guys--the rookie hazing.

Normally that phrase gets people up in arms, because hazing, in the past, has consisted of a collection of things that just don't jive in the culture we live in today. Panther rookie hazing is quite harmless. The new guys are taped to a goalpost, and the veterans douse them with the ice-cold water buckets, Gatorade showers, or whatever. Someone cuts the rookies loose, they shower up, and all is well.

Sounds silly, but it's a wonderful team-building thing. The veterans see a rookie that is willing to take that abuse (albeit mild) from them, but they also see the laughs going along with it. Those vets then know that these kids are a part of their family, and they can be counted on when the chips are down.

I won't even tell you about how I was hazed on my college hockey team as a freshman.

You don't want to know.

Mike Solarte

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