SHE SAID: Winter Olympics

February 18, 2010

I love the Winter Olympics as well.  I love the idea, the excitement, the whole environment and attitude of the games.  I love how into it those around me are, how psyched friends are to get together and watch and how, in that sense, even more so than I would think, it brings people together.

That being said, I’m totally soured on it.  And the credit for that is going to go to NBC.  Because, while I’m okay with watching a decent amount of curling* and speed skating and figure skating, I also know there are a lot more sports that are being represented at the Olympics but not by NBC, and I know there are many more athletes than just those who win a medal or have a spectacular crash.

In Olympics past I used to complain that we, as Americans, should be able to see the American competitors.  Many people I know have a relative, a friend, someone they grew up with, some connection, however distant, to someone competing in the games.  I used to feel that seeing the Americans competing in the games should be mandatory.  But now, given the advances in technology in the past decade, I want more.  I want to have the option to see most, if not all, of the events.

I understand that there is only so much NBC can air.  I understand normal programming in addition to a ridiculous amount of events happening in Vancouver, means a lot is going to be left out.  NBC thinks two older women who look like they see the inside of a tanning bed more than a naked man discussing what men are really looking for in a relationship is important, more important than an Olympic event.  I don’t agree, but I’ll accept it.  I get pissed, however, when I don’t have the option to find these events elsewhere.

Here are some ideas:

Pay-Per-View.  Charge us.  Charge us and let us have the choice to watch the extended coverage of … anything we want.  NBC, you’ll make money.

The internet.  There is this new fangled thing called the world wide web.  Al Gore invented it.  People have access to loads of things: television shows they missed, medical resources, blogs, lesbian spank inferno porn, two and three letter word references for scrabble … it’s pretty amazing what is out there.  Use this internet to broadcast what you don’t have the space to show on television.  Throw some ads up there and bingo!  You’ve got revenue and maybe a few less member of the NBC hate groups on Facebook (Jeremy, I’m surprised you’re not a member of an anti-NBC group on Facebook, it seems right up your alley because you could litter the wall with moanings and complaints and maybe heckle them about airing some 90210).  Most other countries, I say most because I’m talking about most of the other big countries, have this option.  Any day, any hour, you can access sites showing live events going on in Vancouver.  For some reason, we do not.

My niece sat down yesterday and watched a movie that is in theaters on her computer for free.  She is able to find that, but I cannot find a feed of the live downhill?  I have to wait until 8pm and watch the eight racers NBC choose to highlight (two of whom had huge crashes, so six of the finishers) and try and enjoy it while I already know the results since any website I go to is thrilled about celebrating Lindsey’s gold!?  NBC, you’re hurting yourself here in waiting to air the event because in today’s day and age, we already know the results.  It’s not 1985 anymore.  You are not the only source for this information.

And let’s continue on the coverage.  Due to the amount of coverage they are getting, to quote my brother, you’d think Chris Collinsworth and Bob Costas were the Olympians.  The amount of talking those two are doing whether or not they know a lot, a little or often times anything about the subject matter at hand is astounding.  Viewers are not tuning in for their take on anything.  Please, stop subjecting us to them.  When it’s impeding me viewing an event, I’m not appreciative. I even get angry and join anti-NBC Facebook groups.  Next thing you know, I’m going to write a letter.

As for the outfits the figure skaters are wearing, they’ve always been pretty horrendous.  Maybe this year’s skaters are simply honoring the past decades of their sport by continuing to wear ugly stuff.  The Spyder designed GS suits are pretty terrible.  Perhaps Bode, Lindsey and Julia should borrow some of those sexalicious black numbers and show up to the starting gate in one.

*NBC aired curling almost all afternoon on the 17th.  Is there some statistic I am not aware of?  Is curling one of the most popularly viewed sports in America?  Second to auto racing?  There were three or four hours of it.  Detailed coverage.  We saw every competitor.  Who is watching this on the edge of their seat?  Why is NBC dedicating this much time to it?  I need to be clued in.

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SHE SAID: Athlete Pet Peeves

January 28, 2010

This is one of the posts where I feel like, as the responder, I’m at a disadvantage.  Jeremy has been fuming for weeks now, compiling evidence for his post, and I am sitting on the couch oblivious to his angst, and now I have to post.  Premeditated irascibility is an advantage.

So, off the top of my head, here are my pet peeves.

1. Crying.  I’m not talking about someone tearing up after winning their first Grand Slam or an amazing athletic achievement. I’m talking about getting knocked out of a tournament, not performing as well as you had hoped, and crying about it.  As Tom Hanks said in League of Their Own, “there’s not crying in baseball!?”  Only, apply that to any sport or competition.  It’s okay to be pissed, upset, disappointed, etc.  But, Do.  Not.  Cry.

2. The Fox transformer football icon.  It’s not cool, even my five year-old son who loves Transformers thinks it’s lame.  Ditch it.

3. Grunting in tennis.  While I fully support an athlete doing whatever they need to do in order to perform at their best, when you’re still grunting as your opponent is hitting the ball, or the female spectators are thinking “I’ll have what she’s having”, I think it’s gone a little too far.

4. Olympics coverage.  In the past, we have one channel broadcasting whatever event they think will bring in the most viewers.  While I understand that there are people who have put an inordinate amount of time into figuring out how NBC is going to garner the largest audience who are probably incredibly good at doing so, I also know that there are many of us who are not that thrilled about watching hours of footage on Apollo Ohno or three weeks of figure skating.  I propose a change.  Throughout this latest Australian Open, DirectTV has offered six channels of tennis footage and it has been awesome.  A viewer can watch all six channels at once with a running score under each shot, or pick one to focus on.  Don’t feel like watching women’s tennis but want to watch the Open?  DirectTV is your answer.  It’s also answered my Olympics coverage issue.  NBC, or whoever is airing the Olympics.  Might I suggest you do something similar?  Let those of us who want to watch something other than figure skating have that choice!  And I’m not talking about showing Bode’s run and a heartfelt vignette about his youth and adolescence in a cabin in the white mountains and then cutting back to the fascinating coverage of Sasha Cohen’s pre-skate ankle taping.  Give us a chance to watch an entire event, or at least show all the American competitors.  Call DirectTV, figure something out.  You’ll make more money.

5. VS (or the channel formerly known as OLN).  For those of you who do receive this channel, you know how amazing it is, despite the terrible name change.  Bull riding, bike racing, hunting, it’s got it all.  Anyone interested in watching competitive road biking, has done the annual pilgrimage to VS in order to check out their amazing coverage.  For some reason, this channel gets in disagreements with DirectTV and DishNetwork and the like, over contracts, pricing, what have you, and I randomly find that while I have sought out the package that includes both NESN and VS, that package no longer includes VS because of some dispute between VS and my carrier.  I would like to say, after years of this repetitive bickering, FIGURE IT OUT.  Also, please stop letting another channel carry the bike racing on Sundays.  The coverage is not nearly as good and it’s annoying to settle for lackluster coverage.

6. Crossover.  Just because you are an amazing athlete, it does not mean you can subject us to your writing, acting skills, or the like.  Think of how much better off this world would be without The Rock’s latest movie The Toothfairy, or any of his movies for that matter, the badly written autobiography’s (even a ghost writer can’t help most of these), or Shaq’s album.  The only exception I can think of is the Foreman grill – perhaps the best way to make a grilled cheese ever.

As for the toweling off, while I’m not a Roddick fan 90% of the time and I agree that his overuse of the towel is needless, I do get why one would use extensive towel time when playing Federer on one of his tears.  You need to take time between the points because once he’s on fire, you’re five games down in a set in no time.  Towel off between each point.  It’s your only hope.