Monday, February 17, 2014

Who Really Understands the Winter Olympics?

Are you watching the Winter Olympics?  Did you watch the Summer? I bet more of you watched the Summer. Because they are more popular.  (Google that, it’s true.)  And I’m going to tell you why.

Because the Summer Olympics includes sports that the normal person can identify and describe.  Most of the competitions are even something the non-Olympian person has done.  Running, jumping, swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, tennis, basketball, gymnastics, riding a bike.  All that stuff? We get that. We know what it looks like. If we really really wanted to, we could find a place to go try it in our own hometown, right now.

Not so much with the Winter Olympics. Sure, I’ve been skiing once or twice (the feeling of the “whoosh” down the hill is great, but it’s really a little too cold for me) and I know folks who snowboard.  I took ice skating lessons in college (you’ve got to get those Electives in) and I know some folks who play ice hockey.  And that’s about where it ends for the normal sports.

Come on, the rest of the Winter Olympics feel like the committee said, “Well, everything has to involve snow or ice, and we’ve got to fill up two weeks of TV time. What else can we do?”  This is what that meeting sounded like:
Let’s have some folks ski up a mountain and shoot some targets. How about if we stick city elements like stair railings and curb and walls in the middle of the ski hill and make the snowboarderss jump over them.  For one event, we’ll have folks sled face up through a windy track and then for another, we’ll make them go face down.  Push this fat weighted thing across the ice, yes, like hockey, but the puck will be big and fat and they’ll use janitor brooms.  What else?  I don’t know. Me either. Yeah, that’s all I got.  Okay, I got something – let’s make sure nobody but us knows who actually wins. No man-to-man races – just points for flips and turns and grabs and timed races.  Everything with one person at a time. Yeah, that should take up a couple of days.  How about for fun, we require that all of the athletes have blond hair and blue or green eyes so no-one can tell them apart?  Well, maybe we should let in a red head and a couple brunettes, you know, for diversity, and all.  Okay.  But don’t let those people in the events with helmets because then nobody will know how diverse the athletes are. Good point.  Alright, folks, I think we've got ourselves an Olympics. 
Here’s another thing. For the Summer Olympics, you feel like those people trained and trained and came to the Olympics with a plan. I’m thinking the gymnasts show up on the mat with an idea of what they are about to do. No time during the Summer do you hear an announcer say, “And watch this, he just learned how to do this yesterday.”  Yeah, you know you’ve heard that coming from Sochi.

Am I watching the Winter Olympics? Sure. Do I give the athletes credit for being a whole lot more athletic than I am, especially since I’m watching from the comfort of my couch eating Girl Scout cookies? Yes, indeed. Do I know what the heck I’m watching? Not at all.

Enjoy the Games!

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