So. How ’bout those Olympics, eh? Going back to Greece, where it all started, all those hundreds of years ago. Kicking it ‘old school’ — that’s sigma-chi-omega-omega-lambda ‘school’, of course. Or something.
Anyway, I’ve been watching the Athenian festivities when I’ve had time over the past couple of days. And besides the fact that reading the banners on TV is like deciphering the signs in a fraternity quad, it’s been a good time. Maybe you’re watching, too. Or maybe you don’t give a damn, and don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Eh. At least I’m consistent.
I have to say, too, that the coverage this time around seems better than the last games. I mean, I like the ‘human interest’ angle as much as the next guy — which is approximately not at all — and the last Olympics were just awash with that crap. Honestly — we all know these people are making sacrifices to be there. Of course some of them have had tragedy in their lives, or have poor families, or got injured somewhere along the way, or had a tooth pulled once. We get it, we get it. And dammit, we appreciate it — you don’t have to shove every single tearjerking saga down our throats. Show some goddamned sports every once in a while.
So this time, it’s been better, in my estimation. There’s still a bit of the hyperbole going around — just today, I saw a piece on how two of the US womens’ beach volleyball players were cut by their old partners, and how one of the US gymnasts delivers pizzas to pay the rent (oh, the horror!), and how that Russian gymnast girl who looks like a duck is pretty much holding her team together.
And all of that is fine — just keep the sappy stuff short, and not too frequent, and you won’t hear me bitching. The real drama is on the court, or in the ring or gym or pool. So let’s keep it there, and keep the extraneous shit to the minimum it’ll take to keep the old folks and drama queens tuned in. I’ll meet you halfway here, NBC — I realize a network’s gotta eat, too.
Of course, the other nice thing is that we have these network conglomerates these days. So when NBC proper isn’t showing the main event stuff, you can always tune over to MSNBC or CNBC or Bravo (Bravo — who would have guessed?), to watch beach tiddlywinks or synchronized thumb-wrestling or championship gyro eating during the off hours. Which is also cool — that under-the-radar stuff is often more fun than the stuff we see every day, anyway. I’m thinking of staying up tonight to watch some water polo, in fact. Hell, even if just to see how they keep those horses afloat. That’s gonna be cool.
Meanwhile, I’m just trying to find the few events that aren’t uncomfortable to look at. Honestly, with the female divers’ poky nipples, and the male swimmers bulging through those postage stamps they wear, and the scary little teenie gymnast girls gyrating into pretzels all over the place… in some events, there’s no safe place to look on the whole damned screen. Can’t we have some fencing or something, just to break up the anatomically-correctness of it all?
I thought of something else while I was watching today — all of these people work and train and practice for years to get to the games, right? But there’s such a huge difference in the actual time that these events take. Some of those races in swimming or track and field last a minute or less. How would it feel to work your ass off for four years, and then go to the Olympics, and *sppptttt*, sixty-odd seconds after you start, you’re done. If you’re lucky, you got a medal. Or at least raced in a semifinal or something, and get another sixty seconds in the spotlight. But for a lot of these people, it’s one-and-done; their Olympic moment is just that — a moment, literally. Get up for a bag of chips during the commercial break, and you might miss it completely.
On the other hand, you’ve got people competing in the decathlon over a handful of days, or doing gymnastics for a whole week — first in the prelims, then as a team, then alone for the gold. Hell, even the sucky ones get to fall off of five or six different apparati in the course of an evening. They spend at least an hour or two doing shit — some of those people in the pool races barely even get wet. Somehow, it doesn’t seem fair.
And don’t even bring the marathoners into it. Those wackos run for hours. And for no good reason, either — like a lion behind them, or a beer truck in front of them. But they’re guaranteed to spend the better part of the day competing in the Olympics, no matter what place they come in. I think we ought to find a way to do that for the sprinters, too, just to be equitable.
Anybody out there got any ideas on how to accomplish that? I’m fresh out, myself — right now, I’m a bit distracted by trying to watch womens’ gymnastics without looking at any of the girls’ asses. Some of them are safe, of course, but like half of them are underage, and I can’t tell any of them apart. So I’m thinking it’s best to just play it safe and avert my eyes throughout. Which makes actually seeing the Olympics a little tougher, but it does cut way down on the ‘dirty old man aura’ I’m trying to get rid of. Hey, now there’s an Olympic event I could compete in. And I wouldn’t have to wear those skimpy aerodynamic clothes to do it, either. I’ll work on that — look for me in 2008!Permalink | 1 Comment