The thrill of victory, the agony of boredom

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By John Pawlak

It was a dark and stormy night.  The midnight air hung like a wet dishrag scented with the musty reality of stale promises, neither pride nor prejudice able to taint the flaking veneer of lost hope.

The young college student gazed out his apartment’s broken window and wondered if it had been a mistake to major in paleontological reproductive systems.  Perhaps his parents were right and he should have considered meercat podiatry.

Okay, enough of that.  I don’t want to discuss dinosaurs (I worked with plenty of them back in New Jersey).  Let’s digress and just get to my real question.  Does anyone out there really enjoy the Olympics?  I mean, seriously, does anyone find this overblown pompous political farce even vaguely reminiscent of a sports event?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Before you ask ... No, I haven’t watched any of it this year.  I stopped watching the Olympics back in 1980 when America and 64 other nations boycotted it to protest Russia’s occupation of Afghanistan.  Hmmm, that in itself could generate a conversation of its own, couldn’t it?  Well, I’m not about to start trashing our government for occupying Afghanistan!  I’ll do that another day. 

For now, I’ll just trash the Olympics.

Like so many others, I stopped watching the Olympics because I was tired of not watching the Olympics.

That is, I was tired of watching all the other garbage they show instead.  Got an hour to watch the bobsled competition?  Okay, deduct 25 minutes for commercials and 20 minutes for mind-numbing monologues by bubble-headed newscasters and you get to watch 15 minutes of sport.  Well, not really.  Over half of that will be a commentary detailing the lives and times of some athletes from Bratislava, Slovakia.

The remaining minutes will be used to show close ups of the shoes being worn by the athletes.  Yes, the thrill of victory ... the agony of boredom.

But that aside, what I find particularly annoying are the sports themselves.

Take curling for example.  Uh, curling is a sport?  I watched this some years back (10 minutes of my life I’ll never get back).  Some guy pushes a hunk of granite down the ice and then his teammates start sweeping the ice.  Oh yeah, I’m sure the ancient Greeks would have perfected this sport if only they had consumed more Ouzo.

Another sport worth missing is the Biathlon, a combination of boring and mundane.  A guy cross-country skis along a path littered with camera crews, stopping now and then to shoot at a target.  Now don’t get me wrong.

Cross-country skiing is definitely not easy and it’s difficult to shoot accurately after burning 2,000 calories pushing yourself across the snow.  But how is this a sport?  I mean, where’s James Bond when we need him?  The athletes should be racing down a hill for their lives, being chased by packs of dingos or half-crazed tea baggers on snowmobiles armed with Chinese-made machetes.  Toss that wussy 22-target rifle and replace it with a pistol-gripped AR-15 equipped with scope and 90-round drum.  Now that would be sport!

What the Olympics need is an infusion of real sports, competitions with pizazz and energy, one-on-one duke-it-out festivals.  In America, we don’t call something a sport unless some 350-pound guy is trying to separate the other team members from their spines.

For example, why not include chess-boxing?  That’s a sport where they play chess and between moves they duke it out in the ring.  (Yes, this sport really does exist!)  Just imagine America taking on Germany ... King’s rook to Queen’s bishop four.  Pow!  Knight takes rook.  Body slam!

The possibilities are endless.  Scrabble sumo wrestling.  Canasta football.  Bingo street luging.   Wouldn’t the javelin throw be more exciting if the athletes were throwing them at each other?  Don’t you think figure skating would draw more attention if you put a few hockey players on the ice with instructions to take the skaters out?

Another annoying thing are the sponsors of the Olympics, endless boring commercials touting “The official toenail polish of the 2010 Olympics.”  With some reasonably violent sports on the program, the list of sponsors would be far more interesting.

We could enjoy commercials for “The official knee reconstruction medical team of the 2010 Olympics,” or “The official prosthetic replacement.”

Honestly, do you really want to watch another twenty minute documentary on the childhood tribulations of some guy from Bulgaria?

Okay, I have to admit that talking about the Olympics isn’t all that interesting.  I did in fact want to talk about Stegosaurus breeding techniques, but you know how it is.  They’re really cute when they’re young, but it’s so darn hard to house train them!