Monday, August 23, 2004

This Time I'll Make an Exception

Anyone who's read my posts on watching the Olympics knows how I feel about our national anthem. I've also engaged in discussions in the comment sections of other people's blogs, and one of the biggest beefs many of us have had is with the inability of many young athletes to sing the actual words to the Anthem.

Yesterday, the US Men's 8-man crew won the gold in the 2000m event. The first man across the line was Jason Read. As they stood on the medal podium and the Star Spangled Banner played, Jason tried to sing the words, but he just couldn't. This time, I'm inclined to be more charitable.

You see, along with being an Olympian, Jason is a Volunteer Firefighter in his New Jersey community. In the days follwoing September 11, Jason was in downtown Manhattan, helping weith te rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. He saw the worst of it, and it affected him deeply. He poured himself into his rowing to help deal with the emotional and psychological scars. And yesterday, he was the first rower across the line as the US ended a 40-year gold drought in rowing.

So when he tried to sing, it wasn't an ignorance of the lyrics that prevented him. It was the tears and the deep, choking sobs. The kind I found hard to hold back as I watched him. So not only did I forgive him for not singing the lyrics, I sang them for him. We're proud of you, Jason.

In other Olympic News:
Congratulations to Deena Kastor for the spectacular comeback to win the Bronze for the US. Condolences to Paula Radcliffe, and apologies for the shameful way the NC cameraman dogged you as you tried to find a few moments prvacy to mourn. To any Brit who may reasd this, if you punch an NBC crewmwmber on the face, I woun't blame you one bit.

Further Kudos to Justin Gastlin, not only for showing Maurice Greene who's the new champion, but also for showing him how to ACT like one.

Condolences to Gail Devers and Stacey Dragila.

And finally, an Olympic prayer: "Dear God, please let the United States win all its events. But if we cannot win, please let us lose to Australia. Amen."

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