Friday, July 20, 2012

Five Circles, No Interest

Call Me When They Form Voltron
Let's just get this out of the way before I weaken in the next few weeks and go back on my word and the blog's purpose...

I don't give a crap about the Olympics.

If you give a crap about the Olympics, I don't want to judge you. I don't want to say that you have bought into a lifetime of rooting for the flag of your nation as if it were anything more meaningful than where your parents had sex, or that patriotism is better represented by buying products or services made here, rather than waving a flag and yelling every four years.

 But, um, I'm going to.

Here's the deal about the Olympics: the vast majority of these activities aren't all that compelling. They don't have professional leagues because they don't have anyone really wanting to watch them more than once every four years, with the special juice of your flag involved. Track and field? Um, OK, people running fast or running long or jumping while running or throwing things. That about cover it? I prefer to watch people do these acts while other people are trying to stop them from doing that, in a team environment. Since it adds, you know, any freaking drama whatsoever.

Gymnastics? My daughters do it. It's an amazingly positive thing for them, in that it teaches them focus and discipline, and gives them an incredible workout. My 12-year-old has arms and legs like coiled steel and a lot of pride in her visible ab muscles. Despite being one of the shortest kids in her class, she's never bullied; on some level, she pretty much does the bullying herself. A lot of that comes from the confidence gained in doing something that you couldn't do before. I'm sure we'll watch some of it in the upcoming Games. It's also, well, not sport. Since sport involves a scoreboard, rather than faceless bureaucrats ticking away points for imperfections that are mostly impossible to see for laymen, and since, once again, there's only the competition against self, rather than opponent or team. Great activity. Terrible sport. Moving on.

Basketball? The US pro involvement means this is like watching tanks against peasants; if some part of you isn't rooting for the peasants, you're wrong. And I don't get off on rooting against the Americans here, since they are usually playing a more artistically and aesthetically pleasing version of the game. It's just that, well, basketball between uneven teams isn't very much fun to watch. At any level. Swimming? See track and field, then cut the interest in half, since, well, there appears to be no strategy involved other than Swim Real Fast.

Boxing? Oof. Even if you like the sport, you are seeing short bouts between uneven fighters wearing headgear. None of the blood lust, all of the tedium. Tasty! Volleyball can have nice points but usually not very many of them, tennis is dull even when talented people play it because it's got the basketball problem, weightlifting and wrestling and water polo and the rest are all silly at best and silly and cultish at worst...

And, well, these are just weak sports. Sorry. They just are. They might come on at a time of the year when we're weak for any new diversion, and they might be less unctuous than usual if NBC ratchets down the reality TV-style puff pieces, but I'm not counting on any of that, and neither should you.

The Olympics suck. Out loud. And that's without even considering the private security debacle, the rampant civic corruptions to get the Games in the first place, the Medal Count or the idea that the people who are at these games and wearing our flags deserve special appreciation, like they are, you know, soldiers or cops or firefighters or nurses or paramedics or teachers, and so on, and so on.

So watch them, if you must. Enjoy the inevitable winning storyline or drama that will develop, because sports makes its own sauce. Get your parade geek on, because these things are big on the parades and pageantry.

But what you are watching is Spectacle, not Sport. And you can find better. A lot better.

1 comment:

snd_dsgnr said...


I don't like baseball or golf. My usual sports options between the end of the NBA playoffs and the start of the NFL season are things I don't enjoy or nothing at all.

So if it happens to be a year with a sports selection that I'm actually mildly interested in (Olympics, World Cup, etc), then I do find that somewhat exciting.

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