Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Faster, Higher, Stronger--And No, I'm Not Discussing A Martini

My father was pretty darn good at finding that one special interest of each child and using it as a gateway for the relationship. I was sort of The Creative One, so Dad always drew me pages and pages of odd shapes, and I would make something out of each one.  Susan was into music, so Dad would listen to her favourite cuts on albums, and they'd talk about the songs.  Patti, who was older and more serious, read huge books and followed The Politics, so they'd talk about that (and later Women's Lib, which confounded my father).  My brother Bobby was into all kinds of sports, so that was their thing.  They played catch, he coached Bobby in pitching, and now, both of them are in the local Sports Hall of Fame.

Let's just say that no one should ever expect to find me in any sports hall of fame anyplace for any reason ever.  I am not, nor have I ever been, Sporty. I can remember in high school phys ed, standing in the outfield during softball, my teacher Ms. Sayre, screaming, "Nance, your ball! Coming right at you!" and me, standing there inspecting my nails, saying, "Uh huh. Okay," and stepping out of the way.  (The only reason I was even in the outfield was because A) I didn't think anyone would hit it out there, and B) there was a little bit of shade from the shed nearby.

Playing sports is worky.  And sweaty.  I prefer working my fantasy basketball team and spectator sporting. Which leads us neatly into today's question:

Did you watch the Winter Olympics?  Which events did you enjoy seeing the most?

I watched very little of the Sochi games, and even then it was because of the dreaded Nothing Else Is On Syndrome.  What the heck has happened to Olympic coverage?  Is it just me?  Because I used to watch a ton of Olympic events, and not only when I was a kid, either.  I remember watching the Lillehammer games devotedly.  Now, Somebody In Charge decides what I am permitted to watch, and usually it is endless hours of stuff I Don't Care About or stuff That Is Kinda or Mostly Boring.  Add to that the fact that, no matter where you go on the Interwebs or even broadcast television, they announce the results without any warning, and it's hard to care what happens when you finally do see it.  If you do.

Admittedly, the Winter Games don't hold as much interest for me as the Summer Games do.  I hate snow and winter so much that watching these people willingly cavort around out there actually irritates me.  And makes me cold.  And I get sick of hearing them talk about how lousy the snow is, or how bad the ice is, or how they've had to make snow and how much, and yada yada yada.  Here's an idea:  have the Winter Games in Northeastern Ohio where WE HAVE WINTER WHEN IT IS WINTER.  D U H.

I like to watch luge, skeleton, and ski jump.  I like some curling because it is Canadian and because it is so odd and befuddling.  And because they wear such fun uniforms.  Luge and skeleton scare the hell out of me because it's just a person and a sled. Period.  At something like eighty miles an hour.  Ski jumping is fun to watch for a little bit, and then it gets repetitive, so Rick and I practice our British and Australian accents and do our own commentary, inventing harsh penalties for minuscule infractions, and predicting horrible tragedies.

It's all very morbid and awful and we laugh like rabid hyenas the entire time.  "Well, that's not getting him on the podium, Nigel.  At least four tenths come off the top for that head position.  Oh no, oh no!  If he doesn't bring that tibia back into line right now, right now, his center of gravity will be too far forward and he's looking at an absolutely crushing faceplant. Oh my, what a tragedy, and after all the work he's put in since that terrible fall from the Ferris wheel last year."

Maybe the Games were overhyped; maybe they weren't hyped enough. I don't know.  I do know I was glad when they were over.  Rick was glad because then his ritual of watching Dr. Phil with a beer when he got home from work could resume and his TV schedule was back in order.  I was glad, in part, because I don't like the word "Sochi."  It sounds like a made-up Mama word for a pacifier.

I'm sure I'm in the minority here, so fire away in comments.  Also, Feedburner and Blogger are completely estranged now.  I don't know what to do, but I keep trying.  Today, it told me I have no email subscribers, so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know.  Thank you.



  1. I am an email subscriber, but I don't think I got notice of your latest two posts.
    And I love the ski jump commentary. I wish CBC would hire you for the skating.

  2. Didn't watch one minute of the winter Olympics because I DON'T CARE. At all. In any way. I hate real winter (which is why I live in Southern California), so, like you, I simply have no interest in watching people run around in the snow. And like Rick, I felt it was so irritating that it screwed up all my other shows, even on other channels, as no one wanted to compete with the Olympics coverage and everything was re-runs.

    Give me the summer Olympics any day, and even then, I only really care about the equestrian events. At least in the 2012 games from London they had excellent coverage of all the horse stuff, which was so much better than all the previous broadcasts.

    As for sports in general, I don't play any organized sports, but we are heavily (daily) involved in riding and showing horses, and if you don't think that's a sport, you're doing it wrong. You would not believe the number of people who (with no knowledge of what they're talking about) tell me that the horse is doing all the work. Come and take a lesson with me. You'll be dead in under 30 minutes if you have no fitness.

  3. LaFF--I love watching horse events, like steeplechase. I really enjoy watching a horse run and jump.

    I have very little knowledge of riding or anything horsey. I've never ridden a horse. But one day, I'd love to.

    Mary G--I'm an email subscriber also, for cases just such as this. I keep trying to troubleshoot what the problem could be, and I'm not finding anything. Yet.

    Rick and I do a lot of commentary whilst we watch television, and I hate to say that sometimes it can become downright offensive. And brutal. No one and nothing are sacred. We're definitely going to hell if there is one.


  4. The only reason I watch the Summer Olympics is to see the Synchronized Swimmers..How I love them!

    I refuse to watch the Winter Olympics because they will NOT have Synchronized Ski Jumping no matter how much I beg.

  5. Former athlete and junior college level coach here, I played sports my entire life. For a while I had the whole volleyball, basketball, softball trifecta going on, then became devoted solely to volleyball. Probably because there was less running, which is the only thing I hate to do.

    Snow is foreign to me. I have touched snow probably five times in my entire life, and that's being generous and thinking I forgot a couple of times. So, you would think I would have an interest in watching people cavorting in this substance of which I have zero knowledge.


    I only watch the Summer Olympics, and only a few sports even then.

  6. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Not a sporty person here. At all.

    Usually I watch a few events of any Olympics, but this year I boycotted Sochi because I dislike Mr. Putin and his miserable human rights record. Didn't want to encourage him in any way.

    Plus I cannot, cannot stand Bob Costas &/or Matt Lauer. THEY say that women babble on, but clearly THEY haven't seen those two boys in action. Such drivel!

  7. Ally--I'm still irked at Matt Lauer for his shoddy treatment of my girl, Ann Curry. And I don't see what the big deal is about him in the first place. He's average at best as an interviewer, and I fail to find him the least bit attractive, which is a quality I keep hearing said about him. As far as V Putin, I agree with Angela Merkel--he's not quite in reality. I think he's another Kim Jong Il.

    Gina--Your sports are summer Olympic sports, so I'd guess that you'd be more interested in those games anyway. And you're not missing much by having limited contact with snow. Just eat a snowcone every now and then, or an Icee. Stick your finger way down into them. Now imagine feeling that way about 4-5 months of the year. Welcome to NEO.

    Nancy--I watched some kind of synchronized swimming during the last Olympics, and I almost laughed hard enough to do myself an injury. The makeup, costumes, and facial expressions were so hilarious. But the most hilarious of all was the way they walked to the diving board and jumped in. It was the goofiest thing I ever saw. It's a remarkable thing to watch when you consider their timing and coordination underwater, but the rest is so campy. I'm sorry; it's just funny to me.

    Wasn't there a group downhill or ski jump or something this year?

  8. I'm one of the sheeplike masses who always enjoys watching ice skating, but other than that, I can take or leave most Olympic events. Since we don't have any kind of cable or satellite TV service any more (we had an 'English' package at our old apartment with approx. 3 English channels, but we never watched it anyway, so we scrapped it when we moved) we had to watch online. As it turned out, you couldn't watch more than 30 minutes of US Olympic coverage online without a cable TV account (which we obviously don't have) so all the coverage I watched was on the Canadian Broadcasting Company and the BBC, both of whom had free and complete coverage online. It was really interesting watching the events from a different (i.e., not the USA's) perspective. I'm not too crazy about the human rights record in Russia, either, so I only watched a couple events anyway. As far as Putin goes, I heard a really interesting little commentary on NPR (online of course) by an analyst who discussed Putin's behavior in light of his background as a former KGB agent, which made more sense than looking at him just as a regular politician. I still think Frau Merkel is correct in her assessment, but it does make his behavior a little easier to understand.

  9. I watched a little bit, but most of what was on when I might be interested was the snowboarding, which I couldn't bring myself to care about. Saw one event where they cut away from the person skiing to go to the American's face when she realized she had won, and NEVER WENT BACK to the present competitor. I kind of lost interest then, though I did watch a little bit of the ice skating.

    I love equestrian, but not so much the one where they are just walking around. I know it's highly precise and there is a lot of skill and teamwork, but it's not interesting to me. I like the one where they have a course of jumps to navigate.

  10. J@jj--I think you bring up a terrific point here. There is too much editorializing and editing. They choose what we see too much of the time. So "America America USA USA", as if all we care about is the American athletes. It's not true. We, many of us, enjoy seeing the sport, the level of competition. Save the bathos and human interest stuff for later on, between events, or for a special broadcast after the Games are over.

    MsC--My comments to J. go to you, too, since you watched international coverage. We are such an insular nation, honestly. It makes me feel ignorant, and above all else, I hate feeling stupid.

    Back when GWB was president and said he "looked into Putin's soul", I was apoplectic. I have never trusted this guy, based on his bio. I think he's had it in his plans for years and years to empire-build again. He misses the Soviet Union; he misses the machinations of the Cold War and the old adversarial relationship of secrecy. Hillary was right, and I had said the same thing to Rick earlier: this Ukraine/Crimea mess is redolent of similarity to Hitler's maneuvering. I think this guy is scary.

  11. Nance, as I mentioned in my other comment, I adore the part about your dad spending time with each of you doing the things that you loved!

    As far as the Olympics, I had it on more than I watched. It was sort of background "entertainment" when I found something of interest to watch. It definitely revamped the whole tv schedule. I tend to be a sucker for the ice skating and ice dancing, but didn't always catch what I wanted to see. There seemed to be hours and hours of stuff I didn't want to see and I'm not a fan of Matt Lauer or Bob Costas. I can't stand Matt Lauer. His treatment of Ann Curry just sealed the deal. (But you know what they say about karma.) And he kept whining like a little boy about having to step in for Bob Costas when BC was out for his eye infection. Bob Costas is less annoying to me but, yep, they all just share non-stop drivel as Ally said.

    One of my friends doesn't have cable so her husband somehow worked it so she could watch the Olympics via the BBC on her computer. I would love to have seen their version vs "ours."

    So many of these comments here made me laugh. But everyone's right about Putin. No humor there. Putin is very dangerous. I'll resist commenting on anyone looking into his soul. And many in Russia nearby the games site actually suffer when their country puts on this kind of show.


  12. Shirley--It's terrible, isn't it, what the cost is to the host nation? Many places don't care, though; they just want a big show for the world. And look at poor Sarajevo now. It's devastating.

    Thank you for the compliments. I'm sorry to say that it's only now, so many years later, that I have finally woken up to some of the dynamics that occurred in my family. It's embarrassing, really and truly, how oblivious I was. I think it was because I was constantly buried in a book in some corner, and because I had such trust that everything was taken care of and completely as it should be all the time. That is to my parents' and siblings' credit. I felt loved, secure, and happy at home. I was eminently fortunate.

  13. I mostly watch the figure skating and ski jumps. Frills and thrills. The rest I find rather boring, and I agree that the media, in their attempt to squeeze every last minute out of the coverage, repeat very uninteresting details ad nauseam. So I saw very little of Sochi, and good riddance. I much prefer the summer olympics or The World Cup. :-)

    P.S. Matt Lauer is a narcissistic D.B.

  14. Ortizzle--I have to admit also that I am annoyed by some athletes like Bodhi Miller and Lolo Jones, who keep insinuating themselves into the Olympics because of what appears to be their own neediness and their egos. It has nothing to do with representing the country or being at the top of their sport (especially in the case of Jones, who never before even rode in a bobsled), but it has everything to do with some sort of continued journey toward a greater height for themselves.

    LOL on the Matt Lauer assessment.

  15. I usually watch the curling - I don't know why, but it's just the right amount of tension & intrigue for me :) But we boycotted (I say "we" but really it was Mike because unless it's baseball I can't be bothered to figure out how to operate the TV).

  16. Bug--I would watch curling if only for the outfits.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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