Don’t be so ignorant

Warning: If you are stupid, you may find this column offensive.
So the Greeks won the Euro Basket Championships in Belgrade last week.
You had no clue, right? Well, neither did most of us poor North American buffoons.
Didn’t hear how the Greeks won in the semi-finals against France even though they were down by seven points heading into the final minute? And that it was Dimitrios Diamantidis who nailed a three-pointer with only a few seconds left to give them the 67-66 victory?
Don’t blame yourself.
The only way I found about the news was by checking in with Greece’s main newspaper’s website—www.ekathimerini.com—since TSN didn’t have any mentions of the game, nor did ESPN or even Sports Illustrated.
Had no idea the Greeks thumped the Dirk Nowitzki-led Germans in the championship final by a score of 78-62 to give them the title, which was about as unexpected as their 1987 victory?
I’m not surprised since not even our daily paper had any space reserved for the 16-team tournament that only takes place every two years.
I may not be surprised, but I am disappointed.
I’m more than disappointed, and not just because I’m Greek and that Greece won. There are more layers to my anger.
Basketball, for you uneducated dolts, was invented by Dr. James Naismith, who was (guess what?) a Canadian.
He passed away a while ago, but you can bet your left shoe the doc was rolling in his grave at the utter lack of attention given to a tournament that showcases some of the best teams, with some of the best players, for one of the most popular sports in the world.
But what did get 100-point headlines?
There was the story of Lance Armstrong having to go to the emergency room—not for himself—but for his dog that was feeling ill.
There was the unproven Sidney Crosby, who hasn’t even played a regular-season game in NHL and yet already is considered the saviour of the league.
There was Keith Tkachuk being booted off the St. Louis Blues’ lineup after he came to training camp looking like a poster-child for Chips Ahoy! cookies (he has since returned to the lineup).
There was the ongoing soap opera update between Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb, who have since kissed and made up—until sweeps week, that is.
There were pre-season NHL games that read like struggles of life-or-death when they should have been given only 50 words of copy.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
How is it that the game that ceased play because of its greed (i.e. NHL hockey) is being given headlines and stories that makes the Bible seem modest?
But why was this tournament—which didn’t have any players test positive for steroids, players that weren’t being paid, players that were representing their countries and not themselves—not be given an iota of space?
How stupid can we get?
I have not forgiven the NHL for the childish behaviour it displayed, but yet there are many who are—and will—tune in as if nothing ever happened.
That’s ignorant.
I have sworn not to nuke popcorn or crack open a beer on a Saturday night—or any other night—and watch a game filled with players that won nothing from the lockout, but lost everything.
They lost their respect, but more importantly they lost my respect—me, a fan.
It still is a wonderful game—when played for the right reasons—but these professionals acted like a bunch of spoiled brats crying for a new toy when they already have a basement full of them.
It took me years to start watching Major League Baseball after they went on strike in the early ’90s (about 2,000 games lost). It was the same for basketball when they hit the picket line in the late ’90s (928 games lost), and it will be the same for hockey.
So don’t ask me what I thought of last night’s game when you see me in the street. Don’t ask me which player you should choose for your fantasy draft.
And don’t you dare ask me to help you out with your Sport Select picks unless you want me to go triple O.J. on you (another headline I read was the 10-year anniversary of the O.J. Simpson verdict—what a good use of space).
So consider this your wake-up call. But before we dismiss today’s class, there is one question I need to ask.
Not since the U.S.S.R. has a country been both the European champions in soccer and basketball. So, does that mean the Greeks are the best athletes in Europe, if not the world?
Yes. A resounding yes.
emoutsatsos@fortfrances.com

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