Is it just me or is the Winter Olympics just not that interesting this time? I guess viewership is down too, causing some consternation with the TV networks advertising revenue. So I guess it’s just not me alone.
It’s not that I’m wrapped up in Survivor, or American Idol or some other competition for airtime. I haven’t had much desire or time for TV lately anyway. Not that that stops my family from watching those things.
We did watch the opening ceremonies. and watched. and watched. They went on forever. One spectacle after another, all of which must have had some deep European meaninfulness, but for the most part, to me, they were just spectacle for the purpose of spectacle. They could have shown four hours of fireworks and I’d be just as impressed. Guys zooming around with sparks streaming from pods on their backs, people coming down on wires like spiders, endless choreography… it was all top-notch, but all lost impact because there was so much of it.
The obligatory parade of athletes into the arena, country by country, was as always long and colorful. My son named it “The Parade of Silly Hats” because every countries’ uniform seemed to have a brightly colored and different hat. The U. S. team wore a cool Roots beret. I’ll bet they’re selling like hotcakes on the internet today, just as the Canadian ones were four years ago. And four years before that. Hey, isn’t Roots a Canadian company? Couldn’t we find a company in the U. S. A. to make an acceptable hat? Or did Old Navy and Abercrombie come in with a higher price when they bid the contract? Was Columbia or North Face too busy to supply them? Who knows…
And what about the sports? No wonder people are losing interest. Ice Dancing? Isn’t figure skating enough? There is individual and couples events. Why do we need Ice Dancing? And all those different versions of everything… different types of speed skating… different bobsled… luge and skeleton… who cares whether the guy goes down headfirst or feetfirst? Fastest is fastest. Skiing has downhill, GS, slalom, dual slalom, freestyle, moguls, did I miss anything? Snowboarding… same thing… gates, freestyle, boarder cross… is that in the Winter Olympics yet? And all those cross-country ski events, with and without guns. It’s just too much. Our fast-paced world of TV with commercials every ten minutes and instant gratification by internet, cell phone, sattelite radio, etc. has given us too short an attention span for a happening that lasts two weeks.
It’s fitting that TV is suffering because of it. They’re the ones that did it to us. They’re the ones who have to cram in more commercials until there is no more continuity in a shows plot anymore. They’re the ones that made an 80-minute movie take three hours to watch and still cut out the best scenes.
So what is a sport anyway? Is Ice Dancing a sport? Is ballroom dancing? Golf? Auto racing? Chess? It seems like if they can get someone to watch it on TV, and advertisers to pay them to show it, it is a sport. I saw a commercial that had a guy who must have been a fisherman in it. Not a go sit on the dock and hang a string in the water while he naps fisherman, but a tournament fisherman. I don’t even know what it was trying to sell. Maybe you saw it, there was a trout inhis locker and it was talking to him. It kicked out a box of lures and was saying it had seen them all before and wasn’t fooled by them…
I’ve seen a commercial pitch before and I wasn’t fooled either, hence the fact that I don’t even remember what it was they were pitching. But the thing that got my attention was the fishing guy wore a uniform! Has sport fishing come to this? Custom uniforms with sponsor logos on the shirts? Come on… this is going too far. All this tells me is that if I ever had the slightest inclination to want to try to take up that “sport” as a hobby, I’d never stand a chance against these semi-pros with big corporate sponsors and give up before I ever started. It would snuff out any interest in an instant.
Car racing is another one. Is it a sport? Yeah, it’s a competition. It’s really cool if you’re driving. But watching it on TV is boring. Except for the crashes. We can watch them over and over and usually do in the instant replays. Come on, admit it, that’s all anyone watches for.
I flipped over a box of Hostess Cupcakes and saw a picture of Melanie Troxel, Danica Patrick, and Leilani Munter. They were decked out in their race car suits, full of logos and all. The banner read “Hostess Race Divas” or was it “RaceDivas” – no space. Divas? Are they going to break out into song? I doubt it. They don’t look like they’re the Supremes or the Pips or even the Pointer Sister types. Couldn’t they come up with a better term than one that’s come to be associated with vain and tempermental singers? I really don’t think that’s what they meant by it. Why not “Heroines?” Or “Racing Babes?” Or “Motorsport Mamas?” Or the “Hostess Racing Hostesses?” Okay, it’s a really tough name to come up with, but Divas sounds like it was the last on a list of really poor choices. The lesser of the evils. Hostess, thanks for trying to support gender equality and supporting these women in a male-dominated “sport,” but calling them divas just is a poor choice.