It’s been awhile since I’ve last blogged to you all, and for that I apologize. I hope you have managed without me and my rambling sports thoughts. Or you just tuned into the show and heard me vocalize them to you. Or you saw them in 140 characters or less on Twitter (*cough* @CG_1380 *cough*). But I’ve returned to my handy-dandy blog to not just spell things out in more depth, but also make a confession.
I love the Olympics.
It almost seems a bit taboo in this line of work to focus a lot of time on the Olympic Games, Winter or Summer. The nature of the Games makes it harder than most to discuss and analyze. The obscurity of most of the sports (more so the athletes involved), and the time of day the events take place make it difficult to latch on to from a sports perspective. Being in London, a day’s worth of events will be completed hours before we get home from work. And how many people in the world can accurately predict how handball will play out this year?
But aside from the logistical problems of talking about the Olympics, there’s a mindset about the Games that doesn’t tap into the sports media industry. The Games are displayed to us in a human interest format, rather than a competition format. Primetime Olympics coverage focuses on the emotional side of the story and not the sports side. And there’s nothing wrong with that, NBC has made a killing showing the Olympics the way they do (though that tape delay thing isn’t quite remedied). But it’s easy to lose sight of the event itself, and that’s where my love of the Olympics lies.
Athletes train for years to go to the Games…and they have one shot to get it right. One. There is no next season. There is no tomorrow. One miscue can end it all in a flash. The Games provide the most intense moments in sports.
The biggest reason why I’m such a big fan of sports is how much of a roller coaster it is (coincidentally, I’m also a fan of roller coasters). The ups and downs, the highs and lows, sports provide this rush. And the Olympics are at the top of the heap. It takes less than ten seconds for the Men’s 100 meter to occur. Imagine all your hopes and dreams coming true or falling flat in ten seconds. Now factor in that if one of those runners jumps from the blocks too early, they’re out of the race. The first time. At least four years of training and preparation can be wiped out before you even get the chance to prove yourself. With that sort of pressure, do you really need some background on Yohan Blake’s upbringing to make it interesting?
So as this round of the Olympics gets underway, try altering how you watch them this time around. Instead of wanting to develop an emotional connection with the thousands of athletes in London this year, watch for the sport itself. Watch the Men’s 100 meter. Watch Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte develop one of the best individual rivalries in sports. Watch the US Women’s Soccer team look for their third gold in a row, and the Men’s Basketball team look for their second. Hell, watch handball. But watch the sports themselves. Then you may see why I’m so pumped for the next few weeks.
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