Friday, August 5, 2016

Stronger, faster, whatever.

Well, it all begins again tonight; the Summer Olympics once again. And there's a big reason to be happy about that.

It means we're not in the middle of a World War.

Beyond that, meh.


It's not the sports themselves that fail to interest me. I enjoy the competitions. It's all the other crap.

1) I wish they would run them on a bunch of cable channels in real time so I could turn on the TV and watch whatever I felt like among the events as they took place, or by a universal time delay if they were on the other side of the planet. Instead you get highly edited bits of this and that. Our cable carrier, Optimum, has promised wall-to-wall coverage on the on-demand channels; it remains to be seen how much is actually available. There'd better be handball.

2) I question the whole Olympic Spirit thing. I think the number of wars prevented by getting together and playing sports as a gesture of bonhomie over the last 120 years is approximately zero. But we have to hear all the gas about its contributions to the Brotherhood of Man anyway. Come on, can the b.s. and cut to the badminton already.

3) On that topic, the opening and closing ceremonies have become a melange of the most embarrassing cultural and pop-cultural ideas that can be combined in a P.C. way by tasteless dumbbells. And they should not take longer than Gone with the Wind. In 1896*, the opening ceremony was the Greek national anthem, a little royal froufrou with the king, some cannons and doves, the singing of the Olympic Hymn, and then the first event followed. That was it. Probably took twenty minutes. I would contribute a thousand bucks to the IOC if they would promise to keep it under an hour. It takes longer than that just for the athletes (the most athletic people on the planet!) to schlep into the stadium.

4) Enough with the weepy personal stories. TV time that would be much better spent on the actual, you know, games is instead devoted to soggy, sometimes spurious** profiles of the American Olympians themselves. If the event is on tape delay, you pretty much can tell if the American is going to win by the length and quality of the soggy profile. We want to know who they are, but without seeing much of the sport or the performance of the competitors, we hardly know why we should care.

5) Two years and some months ago, the Sochi Games, we barely got to see anything. Why? We had gotten a new puppy, a fuzzy little chum who was dedicated to finding ways to place his life in danger as he chewed toys, people, and walls to pieces. Well, guess what we did this year? (More on that to follow, I guarantee it.)

So, really, I like everything about the Games except everything that is not about the Games themselves. I hope I get to actually see some of the actual sports, but the way NBC covers these things, it's questionable.

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* According to the highly recommended book 1896: The First Modern Olympics by David Randall.

** You know they had at least one for Marion Jones.
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