Posted on: February 21, 2010 10:23 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2010 12:26 am
Most Americans who don't closely follow hockey have never heard the name Brian Rafalski. Now, he'll become one of the most well known Brian's in two countries.
Because of Rafalski it's so quiet in Canada right now you can hear the maple syrup freezing. That other noise coming from across the border was John Candy turning in his grave.
They're not jumping off bridges in Canada. They're jumping into ice holes.
Before the Olympics, Rafalski had four goals in 57 games for Detroit. In the Olympics alone, he's equaled that. It's an incredible outburst of a previously mostly unknown guy outside the hockey world. He was one of the catalysts in America's important victory over Canada.
Names like Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller and Apolo Ohno are the Olympians the casual sports fan knows. Brian Rafalski wasn't a household name. Until now.
Now, you can expect Rafalski to have his own clothing line, McDonald's commercial and Nike spot. He'll also spawn a new lingo. To be Rafalski'd, i.e., to get beat down by guy who came out of nowhere.
This USA hockey team has the chance to produce an entire new generation of heroes. Their inspiring game against Canada may just be the start of something special.
It's at least the start of a new life for a man named Rafalski.
Posted on: August 24, 2008 4:22 am
The basketball gold medal game was stunning, the officials absolutely awful but in the end the Redeem Team lived up to its name.
It wasn't their best night. The Americans at times played defense with the intensity of a Sunday afternoon jogger.
This game will go down as one of the top five in Olympic basketball history and Spain deserves a great deal of credit for taking the Americans to the limit.
Still, overall in these Olympics the Americans were spectacular, particularly Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. They enabled you to root for USA basketball again, they rebuilt our image, and they mostly handled themselves with class and dignity. If you can't be proud of what they did -- and the women as well -- then you're more cynical than I am. Which is impossible.
While these Olympics will be remembered for Michael Phelps what the basketball team did was far more impressive. Yes. Far more.
The reason why is pressure. If Phelps had earned five gold medals instead of eight he wouldn't have been called a failure.
If the United States won a silver or bronze the players would've been treated like total losers. They'd be called embarrassing. Media and fans would be screaming for massive changes.
The world and many people in this country waited for the Redeemers to fail so everyone could wag their fingers and portray the Americans as street ballers incapable of playing the precision International game.
You don't think the Americans knew this? You don't think they felt this pressure and it didn't weight on their chests like Shaquille O'Neal's backside?
Phelps had only Mark Spitz to worry about. The basketball team was fighting the failures of the recent past as well as our cynicism.
It's late on the East Coast and the game just ended. My eyes are barely open but I'm nevertheless giddy. Actually, I'll say it, as corny as it sounds, I'm proud as hell.
Posted on: August 22, 2008 11:52 am
Just when you want to believe in Carmelo Anthony, he does something really stupid.
In the United States-Argentina game, Anthony came close to starting a fight. Nothing justified Anthony's anger. Other Redeemers were walking away and then had to grab Anthony. and calm him down.
The crowd rightfully booed Anthony.
The Americans have conducted themselves with such dignity and then Anthony almost screws the whole thing up.
Anthony has a well documented problem with his stupid temper but Anthony has said the guy who was a key component in starting a brawl in New York is a different man these days. Yet his little flash of temper in a situation that didn't call for anger almost ruined the team's hard earned good guy image.
Calm down Carmelo and take some anger management classes while you are it.
Posted on: August 20, 2008 9:55 am
My Redeemers continue their march towards playing the mythical game against the Dream Team.
Because that's the only game in these Olympics that matter: The Redeem Team vs. the Dream Team.
The Redeemers are going to win every game in the Olympics by 25. They just beat the Australians by 31.
As I wrote earlier this week the Redeem Team would give the 1992 Dream Team a very tough game. The Dreamers would win but it would come down to the last few shots.
This Olympics has little to do with the rest of the world. We've established we're the best again. The United States isn't going to lose.
Some of you want them to lose, but they're not going to.
No, these Olympics continue to be about that mythical game and former Olympic basketball standard bearers, the 1992 Dream Team and the more I see the Redeemers, the more confident I become they'd give the Dreamers a great game.