On a day where we were bombarded with news items about the headaches the Olympic broadcasters are still going through to secure access to everything they need to do their jobs in Beijing, and a bus bombing in Kunming, Yunnan province, after months of warnings about possible terrorist threats to the Olympics, the one piece of good Olympics-related news had to do with a grown man crying.
There are definitely a few places where public crying is okay in my book (for both genders): wedding days, the birth of a baby, when the New York Giants upset the Patriots to win the Super Bowl in the last minute of the game, and when a bazillionaire NBA star who has done just about everything he could do in his sport has just qualified to compete in the Beijing Olympics. Dirk Nowitzki and the German national basketball team qualified for the Olympic tournament yesterday, the first time Germany will be there since Dirk was all of fourteen years old. There was just something lovely about seeing that for Dirk, as for many of his internationally-born-and-bred colleagues in the NBA, this game isn't all about money. (Note that I feel the same way about many of the American players; our men's national team in particular has grown leaps and bounds in positive attitude since Athens.) There really is something to this phenomenon of giving the best athletes in the world the opportunity to represent their countries in the greatest international sporting event in the world. For all of the negative press that these Olympics are generating outside of China, this was a good day to have a good story from one of the good guys in pro basketball. He's going to have a great time in Beijing, and something tells me that somewhere in a locker room in China where the Chinese national team is practicing, Yao Ming is smiling for his fellow seven-foot Texan-playing NBA superstar. Who, by the way, will play him when China matches up against Germany on August 16.