Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Olympic Spirit

One time, during a dinner party at my parents' house, I made a comment about some obscure sport, and someone at the party asked my mom about it.  She said in response, "If they keep score, Jeff will watch it."  That may have been a slight exaggeration, but not by much.  With the advent of 24/7 coverage of sports on cable, there is rarely an evening or a weekend where I don't spend at least some time watching one sport or another.

So this saturation coverage of the Olympics was made for someone like me.  It's only Day 2, and so far I've watched the following:

- Team Handball
- Field Hockey
- Cycling
- Team and Beach Volleyball
- Fencing
- Water Polo
- Tennis
- Soccer
- Basketball
- Swimming
- Rowing
- Gymnastics
- Boxing
- Table Tennis
- Badminton

And so far, I'm enjoying the obscure stuff a lot more than the premier events like swimming and gymnastics.  And yes, that has everything to do with the fact that most of what you see during the day on the channels like CNBC, Bravo and NBC Sports Network is shown live, with an emphasis on the events themselves, rather than on the individuals and the "drama."

I understand the difficulties the time difference poses for the evening broadcast, and I understand the desire of NBC to make good on its investment.  But the fact of the matter is that the evening shows suck - no matter how hard one tries, you can't manufacture drama over a sporting event that occurred hours before.  There's got to be a better way to do it (and I admittedly say that not knowing what it is).

Random comments:

- So in my lifetime, we've gone from Howard Cosell as an interviewer at the Olympics to Ryan Seacrest.  I don't think that's progress.

- Did you see Ryan Lochte's closet?  Good grief, that was bigger than a studio apartment.  Doesn't look like Ryan has been starving in his bid to be recognized.  If it had been me, I wouldn't have allowed that to be filmed.

- Boy, that Opening Ceremony was sure fun to make fun of.  I liked it better when all they did was the Parade of Nations, plus a few minutes of pageantry.

 - Initially I was not a big fan of the Dream Team concept in men's basketball, but am happy to admit that I was wrong.  The appeal of the original Dream Team was probably just the jump start that the rest of the world needed to begin catching up to the U.S. and making international basketball something fun and interesting to watch.  I expect that we'll capture gold again this year, but knowing that we might not makes the whole tournament a lot more fun to watch.

The only downside of week #1?  We've got to wait for track and field.

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