The Sports View
This past week we made a major decision in our family. One of our sons wants to go to the East coast to visit a girl and her family that he met on the internet. I have spoke with the parents on the phone, have gathered some information about the situation and feel comfortable with the trip. However, my wife is not as comfortable.
She worries what this young man might encounter flying clear across the country. She is justifiably concerned about the situation he will find himself in when he gets there. She is fretting over his safety both on and off the ground.
I on the other hand, remembering what it was like to be a teenage boy (even though it was eons ago) and understand his need to do this. Other than some airplane trips to family, he has always had us right by his side whenever he's travelled. One year he went on a number of business trips with me when I had my own business. Because of this he has seen more of the U.S. and Canada in his young life than most people see in their lives. He is fairly travel savvy as well as used to being in other places, in very different cultures.
It's a big step for him and for us. Scary in some ways, but necessary in others. He has a dream and I want him to be able to follow it.
Another young man will be making a much longer trip this week, to a culture he has never been in before; even to a different country. It's also to follow a dream.
Raul Lopez, the newest Jazzman will visit Utah for the first time this week, and will begin to make plans to come here to live so he can follow his dream too.
He is older than my son, but not by much. He has been traveling for years playing basketball, but none of it as far from his home turf where he is regarded as one of the best point guards in the land. He is coming here for money (a sure thing) and glory (never a sure thing).
But you have to think. Is his mother any less concerned about him coming to a foreign place than my wife is about my son going to New Jersey? Don't you think she is fretting over the fact he is leaving home and going somewhere else?
I know when my son reaches the airport in Newark his hosts will be waiting for him with open arms. I am sure he will have a great time and will, for a week, forget about work and school and mowing the lawn.
My question is, are we going to be as good of hosts to this talented young man from Spain as that family will be to my son? I have heard some grumbling from Jazz fans about all the foreign players coming into the league, and how they took so many spots in the draft this year.
Kenny Anderson said during the draft program a couple of weeks ago that the number of foreign players coming to the U.S. should be a wake up call to American athletes.
"It's not that they are better players," he said to the national studio office. "But they do have good fundamentals, and some U.S. players are lacking those."
Andrei Kirilenko came last year and has won my heart. His personality and his hustle, and his continually smiling face has made him one of my favorites. Give me a whole team of those guys. Compare that to the complaining and moaning we hear from some of the highest paid players on the team and I will take these foreign guys any day.
I know I will open my arms to the spiffy point guard from Madrid. I know the rest of the Jazz fans will too.
His mother shouldn't worry so much.