Team USA: Hearts of Gold

(Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

A Sochi stray
(Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Say what you will about Americans. We may be spoiled, lazy, and unintelligent (generally speaking, of course), but you can always count on an American to stand up for the little guy. In this case, the little furry guy.

The Olympics are ripe with stories of passion, glory, and perseverance. But, there is no Olympic story that warms my heart more than the athletes from Team USA bringing home stray dogs from Sochi.

Stray dogs are common in the Olympic Village area and made headlines when the games opened. In an effort to avoid any nuisance and more likely, any embarrassment…the Russians sent out crews to capture the dogs and well, you know…

Enter Team USA.

First, we saw pictures of American freestyle skier, Gus Kenworthy, taking in a mother dog and her four puppies.

Photo: Twitter/@guskenworthy:
“puppy love is real to puppies.”

Then, American cross country skier, Holly Brooks, tweeted out this picture of snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis and her adopted pooch.

Photo: Twitter/@brooksha1:
“This Sochi Stray scored a one way ticket to the USA with @LindsJacobellis. #luckydog #justintime”

 And now, we hear several members of  the USA Hockey team have dogs living at the hotel with them and plan to bring them home.

Photo: Twitter/@A4A_org:
“Meet Sochi Jack and Sochi Junior with @dbackes42 and @shattdeuces during the @Sochi2014 with @USOlympic”

One of the dogs has even become the unofficial team mascot. From the streets of Sochi to Olympic housing…talk about a wags to riches story.

These athletes have to jump through many hoops to bring foreign dogs home and many are extending their stay in Sochi to do so. But, that’s nothing compared to what they went through to get there. Or, the unconditional love they’ll receive in return.

No matter how they perform on the slopes, at the rink, or in any of the Olympic events…these athletes have already won gold.

Team USA showed the world their hearts of gold…and won ours in the process.

And that, more than anything…makes me a proud American.



Crushing: On David Beckham

Last Friday I felt a strange surge I couldn’t explain.  I wondered if we had another little earthquake.  It didn’t really cross my mind again until I saw it for myself (five hours later, thanks to NBC’s tape delayed broadcast).  But now I’m sure.  It was the collective gasp, then sigh of women around the world, when one soccer playing Brit captivated our attention and stole our hearts for a beat…

David Beckham.  In a suit.  Driving a speedboat.  Need I say more?  Certainly not, but I should.  Also on board, the Olympic torch, which he drove up the River Thames into the poor East London neighborhood he grew up in.  In a real life James Bond moment, Bond (I mean Becks) seamlessly arrived at the dock and transferred the torch to…some British athlete…simultaneously lighting up a dark and forgotten corner of the city and hearts around the world.  Women hearts.  Mostly.

Was there ever anything more suave and debonaire?  Will there ever be?  Becks and his Olympic speedboat driving actually inspired a weekly column in Pigskin ‘N Pearls.  So, let’s here it for…Becks, the inaugural Crushing feature, and the Olympics.  David Beckham may not win gold, as he was unexpectedly left off the British football squad.  Shame on them!  But he won our hearts as a football player (I know, wrong kind, but still…), underwear model, and now as British spy/Olympic speedboat captain.

Best of all, Beckham re-signed with the LA Galaxy (American Pro Soccer team) this year, saying his family is happiest living across the pond.  He told Britain’s Mail Online, “We love living in America.  We’ve adapted to the culture and everything the country has.”  Freedom…and Becks.  Now we really have it all!  US-2, GB-0.

I would like to dedicate this premier column to my sister, Jenny…who I know agrees.


Olympic Fail

“The future of journalism is more promising than ever–limited only by editors and producers unwilling to fight for their readers and viewers, or government using its heavy hand either to over-regulate us or subsidize us. The future of journalism belongs to the bold, and the companies that prosper will be those that find new and better ways to meet the needs of their viewers, listeners, and readers.”

-Rupert Murdoch, “THE BASIC TRUTH REMAINS” Delivered at a workshop of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, New York, N.Y., Dec. 1, 2009

We live in a world where information is delivered to us immediately, continuously, in many different forms, and on many different fronts.  It is quick, easy, and free to be informed on what is happening in our neighborhood and across the globe.  The whole wide world has become our backyard…and it gets smaller every day.

Which is why NBC’s decision to tape delay the major events of the 2012 Olympic Games will go down in history as one small backwards step for viewers, and one giant leap for the network…into obscurity.  It is a perfect demonstration of what many have said, that the mainstream media is arrogant, out of touch, and fearful of the changing world and its role in it.

It used to be that watching the Olympics meant avoiding the evening news so as not to know the major events of the day.  That grew harder to do with cable television and 24-hour news.  The Internet made it even more of a challenge, but with social media such as Facebook and Twitter now at the center of our lives, it is not only impossible, but ridiculous to even suggest to do so.

Viewers in the United States saw tweets, viewed Facebook posts, and read Internet updates describing live, minute by minute updates of the opening ceremonies, while being forced to watch them hours later and after the fact.  While the world joined together…we waited.  When Team U.S.A. marched out in pride…we waited.  When David Beckham wore a suit and drove a speedboat up the River Thames carrying the Olympic torch (my favorite part personally)…we waited.  And when the Queen officially declared the 2012 London Olympic Games open…we were still waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  All the while, seeing and reading about the celebration taking place in the rest of the world.  We were invited.  But we were left out.  In the dark.  By our network, NBC.

I’m sure we weren’t alone.  There were probably other Olympic fans forced to watch an edited version of the opening ceremonies.  In China.  And North Korea.  But this is the U.S.A.  Where liberty and freedom ring.  We declared our independence from England for freedom of religion and a free press.  And now that press is going to tell us when (and how) we watch America’s games?  The world’s games?  I don’t think so.

What makes NBC think they can pull this over on us?  We are home of the brave and the free.  And the iPhone.  It’s time to take our country back.  Starting with the Olympic Games.  These are our games.  And no one is going to tell us how we watch them.  Not the Queen…and not NBC.

Who’s with me?