Saturday, August 9, 2008

Basketball has begun in Beijing

Finally. Basketball is what I've been waiting for here in Beijing, and the men start on Sunday. The game between the U.S. and China is so much bigger here than it is in the States, I'm sure. Front page of the China Daily today....on one side, Kobe Bryant. On the other side...Yao Ming. Huge headline. Game on. It's probably page 5 in the United States, the opening game for Team USA, but here, it's national pride on the line. This game is a big deal here, and I hope that the U.S. understands that.

Saturday was a strange day in Beijing. You had the horrible story of the father in law of the head men's volleyball coach. If you didn't hear, some nut job stabbed the mother and father in law of US Head Men's Volleyball Coach Hugh McCutcheon while they were touring one of Beijing's landmarks, then threw himself to his death. Awful story, and a shocking story, because random violence like that is very rare in Beijing. I can say this....I've been here for over a week, and have been all over the city. I've never once felt in danger, even at night while walking around in a Chinese neighborhood, looking for a hole in the wall neighborhood restaurant.

One other strange note from Saturday, and a much lighter note. President Bush sat about three rows behind me at the U.S. Women's basketball game on Saturday. He's obviously enjoying this trip very much, looking relaxed and comfy. Even slipping on a team USA baseball cap while he sat and watched. But there's just something disconcerting about watching the leader of the free world do the wave. Yes, President Bush was a part of one of the worst things in sport, the wave. It started in the upper deck of Wukesong Stadium, and kept going and going. I watched the President and thought, "I hope he doesn't do this..." but then, he did. Stood up and did the wave. Why, oh why, Mr. President, would you perpetuate something that needs to disappear from the sports landscape?

More from China soon.....Game on!


Buck Mahoney said...

I'm watching a C-SPAN program where American journalists formerly stationed in Beijing are discussing the government restrictions when they were there. I thought of you and I'm curious. Who has the stronger restrictions, the Chinese government or the NCAA?

Husker Mike said...

Or, for that matter, Steve Pederson?