The Ties That Bind…Fatherezsms Day And Patriotism…Maybe.

With Sunday being Father's Day,there were a number of great pieces that sho. the passion that links families…especially Father's with their sons and daughters… sports. With the shocking passing of Tim Russert, Jim McKay, and legendary announcer Charlie Jones this past week, the nostalgic looks back by some of America's best writers have come fast and furious, and all give us a chance to take pause to be reminded as to why sports is important to us as a cultural touchstone. Mike Lupica's piece on Russert in the New York Daily News is a great example, as is Bill Dwyre's column in the LA Times on the healing of a long fractured relationship between NBA star Mike Bibby and his dad, Henry, and Jackie McMullan's column on on Celtics Coach Doc Rivers and the relationship with his late dad, Grady. The best summary piece is by Ian O’Connor in today's Bergen Record, which links Tiger and Earl Woods, Grady and Doc Rivers, and so many others together to show how sports can cross generational lines, feuds, and geographic distance as a motivational tool for success . However the theme is the same in all these examples. Sports, fo.the big business that it is, remains th.emotional lin.for generations of fathers with their children. Great job capturing that emotion without the commercialism by all these great writers today.

On to other topics as well…two interesting pieces revolving around the issue of Olympic citizenship arose this week. First came WNBA star Becky Hammon and her admission that she has become a Russian citizen in order to play in Beijing Olympics this summer, a dream that she would have not been able to fulfill had she stayed as an American. Then in today's New York Times is an extensive piece on Naturalized American citizens who will compete for the United States this summer.?There have always been opportunities for those who can trace lineage but spend most of their lives living and the U.S. to go and realize their Olympic dream. However these two pieces show a growing trend and a mix of opportunities for athletes who are relying more on opportunity and less on nationalism.taking advantage of opportunity, which can lead to potential endorsement and exposure on the business side. Whereas in the past, an athlete like Butch Lee playing hoops for Puerto Rico or an American baseball player playing for Italy was about the thrill of being part of the world's greatest spectacle, the opportunities here can now lead to more sponsors, TV exposure and branding for the athlete, with much more of a dollar figure attached. Will be interesting to see if the trend is cracked down on by the IOC going forward, as these athletes take the spots of homegrown, but sometimes less talented, athletes who have spent their lives pursuing an Olympic dream as well as a nationalistic one.the best stories about the Olympics have always been about the “little guy” getting the chance to shine, and this trend seems to be bucking that ideal for now.?