The Thunder rolls

As I have confessed in this space, I have pretty much stopped watching basketball, due to the feeling that I always jinx the team I want to win.  Well, the Oklahoma City Thunder–from my home state–are so good that they even overcame me.

When they were down two games to the San Antonio Spurs, a team that had won 20 in a row, I thought I might as well watch them, since they were going to lose anyway.  Well, they didn’t.  They won.  I kept watching.  They won again.  Then won again.   Apparently my curse has been lifted because last night they won game 4–even though they were down 18 at one point in the game–winning the Western Conference and going to the NBA Finals.

The Thunder–Oklahoma’s first professional major-league team– is a good example of how a sports team can be good for a community and a whole state, sparking a sense of unity, confidence, and all kinds of civic virtues.

Thunder finish Spurs, advance to Finals – USATODAY.com.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Rose

    Keep watching, Ed.
    The Thunder hear you cheering all the way from Virginia.

  • Rose

    Keep watching, Ed.
    The Thunder hear you cheering all the way from Virginia.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    No offense, but I wish you had jinxed them.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    No offense, but I wish you had jinxed them.

  • http://princetonlutherans.com jgernander

    They defeated a team who pioneered those virtues listed in your summing-up, Prof. Veith. The Spurs are very much a community team; at the national level they are fairly ignored. The Spurs for years have set a tone of professionalism, dedication, hard work, no glitz, just teamwork. Their coach used two phrases early in his tenure that personified who they are: (1) “pounding the rock,” a tenacity to keep doing what they do best until “the rock” breaks, that is, they break through; and (2) “get over yourself,” which sums up the type of unselfish players he has sought. He yells at his stars and they take it. Their roster — and the team leadership — has long been mainly international players who did not grow up with the me-first mentality of AAU ball here in America. The Thunder’s GM, Sam Presti, apprenticed with the Spurs and tried to model their approach the same way. I’m not glad the Spurs lost at all (I went to my first Spurs games in person in 1974, in the ABA days), but the Thunder went out and beat them, and do things “the right way.”

  • http://princetonlutherans.com jgernander

    They defeated a team who pioneered those virtues listed in your summing-up, Prof. Veith. The Spurs are very much a community team; at the national level they are fairly ignored. The Spurs for years have set a tone of professionalism, dedication, hard work, no glitz, just teamwork. Their coach used two phrases early in his tenure that personified who they are: (1) “pounding the rock,” a tenacity to keep doing what they do best until “the rock” breaks, that is, they break through; and (2) “get over yourself,” which sums up the type of unselfish players he has sought. He yells at his stars and they take it. Their roster — and the team leadership — has long been mainly international players who did not grow up with the me-first mentality of AAU ball here in America. The Thunder’s GM, Sam Presti, apprenticed with the Spurs and tried to model their approach the same way. I’m not glad the Spurs lost at all (I went to my first Spurs games in person in 1974, in the ABA days), but the Thunder went out and beat them, and do things “the right way.”

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I like the Spurs too. So would you say that the Miami Heat represents the other approach?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I like the Spurs too. So would you say that the Miami Heat represents the other approach?

  • http://princetonlutherans.com jgernander

    Yes.

    By the way, this year when Spain’s young Ricky Rubio came to the Minnesota team, the Spurs coach, Popovich, was asked about Rubio’s adapting to American culture, and he said: “These guys, they travel around the world. They’re more cultured than we are. Everyone acts like Americans are the ones… we have sort of an arrogance about us. Like we’re the cultured ones? Are you serious? Have you watched TV lately? Have you seen what Americans do? How many languages do you speak? And you wonder how they’re going to adjust to our culture? I hope they avoid it and keep their own!” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, January 3, 2012)

    Pastor Jerry Gernander
    Expatriated South Texan, residing in Princeton, Minnesota

  • http://princetonlutherans.com jgernander

    Yes.

    By the way, this year when Spain’s young Ricky Rubio came to the Minnesota team, the Spurs coach, Popovich, was asked about Rubio’s adapting to American culture, and he said: “These guys, they travel around the world. They’re more cultured than we are. Everyone acts like Americans are the ones… we have sort of an arrogance about us. Like we’re the cultured ones? Are you serious? Have you watched TV lately? Have you seen what Americans do? How many languages do you speak? And you wonder how they’re going to adjust to our culture? I hope they avoid it and keep their own!” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, January 3, 2012)

    Pastor Jerry Gernander
    Expatriated South Texan, residing in Princeton, Minnesota

  • Jon

    Go, Pop!

  • Jon

    Go, Pop!


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