Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The problem with these stupid Olympics

This ain't the Summer Olympics. Those are easy.

Hey, that dude crossed the finish line before those other dudes! Hey, that dude jumped two feet higher than the other dudes! I have no idea what that dude just threw, but he threw it a helluva lot further than the skinny guy from Luxemburg!

The winter games? Not so much.

With figure skating on tonight, I was told, "Ooh, she did really well! Wow!" and all I could think was, "As compared to what?" Honestly, aside from re-enacting Chris Farley's performance on SNL, can any normal person (read those who were not shuttled to the ice rink at 4:30 a.m. every morning for practice) tell the difference?

I mean, that Chinese lady got launched into the end boards the other night and her duo still won a silver. What's up with that? Isn't a near concussing-fall a deal breaker in the Olympics?

Well, it should be.

I lump figure skating in with the American Kennel Club in terms of television spectacles. While there is a very slim percentage of the population (and slimmer still that isn't related to one of the participants) that has a clue of what's going on, there is a vast majority that breathes through its mouth and hopes to see a wardrobe malfunction. I have no idea why one pair of skaters is better any more than I can correctly gauge the rear end line of a Schnauzer.

However, there are analagous winter sports, and not surprisingly, people tend to gravitate to them. Aside from the obvious biggies like hockey, the other heavy hitters are races like downhill skiing and speed skating. Races are easy. None of the nebulous nonsense like curling.

Seriously, go here to The Explainers and tell me if you can explain curling scoring in the time it takes me to replace the alternator on my truck... with silverware instead of my wrench set.

Even with three bright people and an Internet connection Sunday, we couldn't figure things out, except that the bullseye is the "house" and that you can't stop the rock. That was about it. Making matters worse were the commentators who didn't feel the need to explain any of the rules, use insider jargon and sit in awe of strategies and techniques without cluing any of us in at home. Maybe it was an alternate feed for Minnesota where this stuff is second nature, but I do know that in my house we were completely clueless.

If they have that little cocksucker, Scooter, to share screentime with that big cocksucker, Tim McCarver when October baseball rolls around, they damn well better have a little curling rock puppet to explain what the hell is going on in a sport we see every four years, completely forget about and try to comprehend again in another four years. People actually understand how baseball is played, but we get stuck with remedial rules classes and five-second science lessons on how a curveball curves? I'm beginning to think curling changed its rules just to see if anyone notices the difference between Salt Lake and Torino.

In any event, here's to Rocky, the curling rock, explaining what the fuck is up with those knuckleheads running on a sheet of ice with brooms.



Frank the Tank said...

You're right on with this one. Kelly and I were watching skating the other day and she thought they should have some type of graphic showing how many points a person scores when they perform a move. It was such a poingant observation - how could NBC not try to help us understand wtf is going on?

You touched on a great point here - for baseball, football, and basketball, which are the sports that everyone actually knows the rules for, we're deluged with a million graphics on the TV screen explaining what's going on even though the average person could easily figure it out without such graphics. With the coverage of the Olympics, however, there's absolutely nothing on the screen giving any type of background. This seems backwards.

Minneapolis Red Sox said...

Right on - it's on an 8-hour tape delay to put skiing and skating on in prime time - they can't add real time point totals in post-production?

There's an unofficial scorer in boxing to help people keep track and that's seen in real time.

Add what is worth what (under the new rules this should be easier) and have the broadcast run like Def Jam: Fight for New York where every move has a corresponding point total pop up.