preferred method. There's also a "low cut" switch on *some* mics and *some* camcorders' audio menu option that "rejects" the low rumble of wind passing over the mic element. with a dead cat, "fuzzy" or zeppelin, the goal is to get a dead-air space between the mic element and the blowing wind.
*Generally* and assuming the audio is at a "normal" level (not real loud, not real soft), the best audio capture will happen when the mic element is close (within a couple of feet) of the audio source.. This is not always possible, so we have (directional) "shotgun mics" and clip on mics (many time wireless and clip on a shirt or lapel). This is why clip-on mics work well - and why newscasters in the field using a handheld mic hold the mic so close to their mouth when speaking (not yelling).
When a mic is built-in to the camera or camera mounted, there can be some challenges to balancing the characteristics of the mic with what the camcorder can see. Given the use you have stated, this is likely not that big of a deal for you.
The camcorder's built-in surround sound is a fun concept - when the camcorder is in the middle of the action so the front and rear speakers are fed various audio. If one is in the stands watching/recording a basketball game, all the audio behind and in front of the surround mics will be recorded. If the stereo (only) mic is used, then the bulk of the audio in front of the camcorder will be recorded (and loud portions of the audio behind the camera that makes it in front of the camera. (Point of reference: generally, movies in a theater or home with audio coming from the surround speakers had that audio manufactured and added during editing - not recorded during the scene shoot).
Personally, I do not think surround sound has that much value (unless picking up audio from behind the camcorder is important). In my opinion, surround sound is about as useful (for home/hobby video) as digital zoom is (which should be disabled when you get the camcorder).
Knowing which Macintosh, (RAM, CPU, version OSX, all available under the Apple in "About this Macintosh and available hard drive space usually available at the bottom of a finder window when looking at hard drive contents) can help us help you through the capture/import or convert/edit/export process.
Headsup: Video uses lots of hard drive space and is very computer resource intensive. Investing in a large capacity external drive to store the video editing project files is recommended. Use of a tripod or other steadying device during video capture is also strongly recommended.