The Winter Games

Let's see if I can tie all of this together.

I was having a conversation with Boris tonight about
pet peeves. I asked which ones he had. Nothing jumped
out at first, but when we started brainstorming a few
'issues' came out that we had in common.

-Driving in the left lane too slowly, littering, using
the word "carb" (that's just me), people who don't
tread lightly, etc.

"People who are critical about things they know
nothing about."

That came directly from BB and frankly this is more
than simply a pet peeve, in that, it is (or certainly
should be) universal.

Early last week I was having a conversation with my
mother about the coverage of the Olympics. More
specifically, I was critical (or actually 'worried')
about how the other networks were competing hard with
NBC. American Idol, Grey's Anatomy, whatever is on tv.
All new episodes, all at the same time as the prime
time coverage of the Olympics.

Now, I understand that other networks can't roll over
and play dead. Perhaps one network shouldn't be able
to cover the Olmpics in their entirety. Maybe they
should only get certain events. I think this would
help raise the bar on the overall quality of tv
coverage as each of them would get the chance to tap
into the heart of America's prime time every few

Now, why do the Olympics lose out in ratings to
American idol? Why, in contrast, are the summer
Olympics so popular?

Well, first of all, the summer Olympics are, well, in
the summer. TV Networks are not exactly in the meat of
their fall or spring series. More can be seen during
the day, Americans know and relate to a higher
percentage of the summer games, Americans win more
medals, more countries are involved, etc.

Now, what else might be causing the lack of interest?
Well, I certainly think that some sports journalists
might shed some light on this.

How about the fact that leading sports journalists
directly_criticize_the games. I heard Skip on Cold
Pizza say that any game "that doesn't involve a ball,
isn't a sport." I think he also said the Astros were
going to win in six so I don't take much stock in his
thoughts. (FWIW, your team will lose if he picks them.
Always happens to me).

And forget about Gumbel's recent comments on how the
winter games are a complete bore (amongst other
criticisms). "Mike and Mike" in the morning talked
more about next year's super bowl (which is 50 weeks
away) picks and about Barry Bonds' possible retirement
than anything else this morning.

And they aren't talking simply about what they_want_to
talk_about. They are speaking about what their
audience wants_to_hear_about.

I don't want to get too much into what I think about
what each journalist has specifically said about this
year's games or about winter sports in general. I just
want to get back the point: "many folks are critical
of what they do not know." You would think a sports
journalist might help to inform ignorant audiences
about the games instead of playing the "my dad can
beat up your dad" card.

Its like telling a NASCAR diehard that all they watch
are "people making left turns"; or telling a cycling
fan that cycling is nothing but "riding a bike"; or a
runner that all they do is "put one foot in front of
the other." Oh, and how many people understand how
anyone can watch 162 (not including playoffs) 3+ hours
games of baseball a year. I'm sure a baseball fan
could give you a million reasons. I know my buddies
that love the Astros certainly can.

The games that come on each night (for two short weeks
every four long years) are a small glimpse into
something great. If you can put aside your cynicism
and look past all the commercialization you will see
something common in something that might be so
foreign. You can identify with the athletes, and fans,
that live and breathe their sport.

And even if it still a bore... still need to
learn why you don't like what you don't like.


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