Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Democratic National Convention

I have watched parts of the Democratic National Convention. I missed Senator Ted Kennedy's speech live, saw the re-run. I watched the brother of Mrs. Barack Obama introduce his sister, and watched her speech. I saw some of Senator Hillary Clinton's speech, but missed much of the content...

August 27, 2008, I had a doctor appointment. It is unusual for me to leave this doctor's office before 5 PM, but I was home by about 4:10 PM. I realized I had forgotten to put some mail out for the letter carrier, and I had a free movie from Blockbuster about to expire at the end of the month... There was time for a vigorous walk to the US Postal Service and then to Blockbuster and be home in time for the Yankee-Red Sox game this evening...

So, when I got home, I checked The Weather Channel... It was some minutes shy of the baseball game telecast, so I thought to check in on the convention, not expecting much to be happening....

New Mexico was up, next to cast their delegate votes, with Senator Barack Obama, having some 1500 plus compared to Senator Hillary Clinton's 340 plus...(I think.) New Mexico in their eloquent way, yielded to Illinois... Illinois yielded to New York... Senator Clinton came in and said two important things: all the votes will be counted, and then she made a motion to nominate Senator Obama by acclamation....It was a very emotional moment...And, of course, it was done!

I found myself in tears, and I do not know exactly why.. But, what this lead me to think is that I do want to do some sort of campaign work for Senator Obama... Things happen for a reason: Had I worked a full day, I might have been home and had the TV on at that time... More than likely, I would not have had the TV on, or, I probably would have tuned directly to ESPN where the baseball game was to be aired...(I checked into that before I left for work in the morning.)

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Monday, August 25, 2008

The Olympics, Sort of by Accident

I was really was not planning to watch the Olympics but Friday night, August 8, I stumbled upon the opening ceremony, and it was phenominal... So, I finished watching it. I loved the parade of nations, and kudos to NBC for identifying where the nations are on the globe. Because so many of us, self included, are not as worldly wise as we could be.

The importance of basketball internationally was brought home by several things:

Yao Ming carrying the Chinese flag, with the young hero Lin Hao, impressed me emotionally in a way I can not describe. Yao Ming is truly a national hero.

I do not understand "nation hopping." Well, maybe not all of it. Specifically, Becky Hammon, American born, but playing for the Russian team when she did not make the US team. For her, it is about playing, and playing in the Olympics...And, she was playing in Russia when not playing for the WNBA. I do not fault her nor any athlete who contracts to play for a nation other than their home nation. I think, in some respects, this helps to remind us "It's a Small World." Which, in some ways is a larger message of the Olympics than national pride. And, certainly, gives folks the opportunity to participate. From the perspective that it is a small world, "nation hopping" makes sense. From the perspective of national pride.... I have to wonder.

The torch lighting was beautiful.

Then, Saturday, I stumbled upon the women's basketball game between the US and Czechloslovakia. One of the things that impressed me was that the men's team watched the women. And, when I watched the men play China, the women's team was in presence.

If you will remember the trouncing of the US Basketball team in 2004 in Athens: A third, for the team that was supposed to be "The Dream Team." So, this year is "The Redeem Team." Dedicated to a 3 year committment of teamsmanship in play, to hear the announcers tell it and to see the players play it... That seems to permeate something else: A stated (publicity or accuracy) interest in supporting the US team in other sports... That is as it should be, and has been a criticism of the US team in the past. Because, afterall, it may be many sports, but it IS one US team...

This is what the Olympics is about....

Okay, so since then I have been a sporadic watcher: sometimes watching the tape delayed prime time telecasts, watching the off network telecasts, watching the live shows when I can not sleep.

I was glad for Michael Phelps that he won his 8 metals: with that hype, can you imagine the let down if he did not...

I am not really interested in the metal count. I enjoy a lot of the human interest stories. But my interest has waned. Although I actually LIKE synchronized swimming, I did not make a priority to watch it.

Last Sunday, I watched the NASCAR race in Michigan instead.

To be honest, I flipped to the Olympics regularly, but if the event of the moment did not catch my eye, well, I did not watch... Having said that, apparently NBC has made a whopping success of their broadcast (television and computer) strategy.

Which brings me to mind the first time I really heard about the Internet for home use: The Winter Olympics were in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994, and whichever network (I want to say NBC, because I used to watch the Today show back then) was covering the Olympics, they were demonstrating this great new invention of the Internet using Prodigy (do you remember Prodigy?) to air the Olympics real time in the USA.... My goodness, how our technological sophistication has increased..

And now, the end of the Olympics. I watched the USA men's basketball team win the gold medal...It was obvious these superstars played as a team. Do I believe the media hype that the team functrioned as a team in China: cheering on their countrymen, visiting places in China, being good teamsmen. I don't know, but I hope so... They certainly demonstrated a joy at winning that supercedes there millionaireships and celebrity....

Is this true, and what lesson do we learn from this? Superstars could not win as individuals in Athen, but could win, as a team in Beijing. Certainly, Michael Phelps could not have broken his records if his team members did not come through...

Okay, so what does this say to us as a nation: We are 50 states, but have to function as a team in the world... And although each nation is sovereign in the world, certainly each nation has to functionas a part of "the world team." What do you think? Do we need "a world team"? Do we have one? Can we have one?