Where have all the East German “women” gone? That’s a question that’s been dogging me as I’ve been trying to watch these “Oplimpiadi Invernali” (Italian for winter olympics) during the first half a fortnight. I mean I’ve really, really been trying to watch. It seems however, that all the sports news media types are more caught up in talking about how they’re NOT watching.
The rest of America seems to have not grasped the gripping drama of professional sled riding as well, with TV ratings being the strongest indicator. The Olympics finished a dismal seventh place in the recent Nielsen ratings for the first week of competition (zap2it.com). American Idol, Grey’s Anatamoy, and CSI all were preferred over lugeing, skeletoning and way, WAY too many men in tights. Even the Opening Ceremonies lost to Dancing With the Freakin’ Stars.
So, I guess the question is: Why ain’t’chall watchin’ them ther Olympics? The answers are many, and a hundred different people could give a hundred different reasons. For the sake of space, I’ll try to narrow it down to a few.
The first reason is simply more entertainment choices. With 500 plus channels, DVD”s and on demand movies, etc., most people have a better chance of finding something else to watch. When there were only three networks, most people didn’t have a choice, and the other networks wouldn’t even dare going up against the Olympics. Plus, weren’t the X Games on like, just last week? Worse yet, Imagine this Headline That Could Of Been on February 23, 1980 : U.S stuns Soviets by One Goal, “Disco Idol” Slapshots Both by 17 million. Could of happened had an afro’d Simon Cowell been lurking back then.
Secondly, as I alluded to earlier, are the type of events that are on display. I believe a lot of people were always interested in watching events such as skiing or bobsledding, simply because of the pure speed. What is annoying, though, with all of these events is the technical jargon that goes along with it. Maybe not the rules themselves, but the fact that not one single announcer or commentator bothers to explain them to the audience. Especially curling. Boring in itself, I decided to stick with it for a few minutes during a recent U.S. match. I’m watching, and the big stone thing goes into the bullseye. Cool, I thought. 50 points, like darts, right? Score one for the Americans, U.S.A! U.S.A! But then, the sourpuss color commentator (I don’t know why either) tsk tsks: “Ooh, that’s not going to get it done,” and the match continues. Ok, WHY ISN”T THAT GOING TO GET IT DONE YOU ##[email protected]$%^%$! So I flipped over to NFL Network. Serenity now.
Another reason is the lack of good old fashioned bad blood that existed between us and the old Eastern Bloc countries, mostly the Soviet Union. America has plenty of enemies still, but the Iranian Women’s Mogul team just missed qualifying, I heard. There’s no rivalry. The scope of politics has been taken out. Yeah, I know, the Olympics are supposed to be about goodwill and the spirit of competition, but that’s a load of hippie crap. We tuned into watch Herb Brooks threaten to shove a hockey stick down a Czech’s “goddam throat.” Didn’t matter what we were watching, as long as we beat those commie bastards, we were happy. Think about it, the only thing that ever really came out of the Cold War happened every four years, two weeks during spring and summer. The Olympics and politics went hand in hand. The Miracle On Ice, the 1972 basketball game controversy between the U.S and U.S.S.R., Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their black gloved fists in protest of civil rights, right there on the medal stand, the whole world watching. They just wouldn’t happen today. Maybe it’s not the worst thing, but it sure is less interesting.
So there, either you’ll watch or not, the globe will keep on spinning and we’ll forget all about
it 10 minutes ago.
By the way, zap2it.com’s best bet for tonight?
Everbody Hates Chris, 8 P.M. UPN.