Opinion by Guest Blogger: Peter Erich
Anyone else ready for Jimmy and Seth to take over their new NBC roles? I mean really – Slopestyle? Are there more than a dozen people who understand the rules of this?
It’s always a little tough getting through most of the events in the Winter Olympics. Short of cheering for the Night’s Watch in the one-on-one man-wight competitions, there are few competitions that appeal to your average sports fan. Be honest here – you understand what the Figure Skating connecting steps into a triple-jump look like? Would you recognize a curve combination in Luge even if you were on the damn Kufen? For that matter did you know it was a Kufen? Who among you have ever hit a K-point, and if you did, was it because you accidentally flew off the edge of a ski jump or because you were actually aiming for it?
The fact is Winter Olympic sports provide the opportunity to watch the smallest number of trained athletes in the world perform in some of the most exclusive (read that as non-street, unobtainable, obscure, or otherwise not-readily-available to your average sport enthusiast) sporting events known. With the possible exception of hockey*, these are not sports a growing kid aspires to in the inner city or the savanna or the ghetto, or even in the average neighborhood for that matter.
What drives the attention and excitement of most sports viewers is their ability to identify in some small way with the athletes they watch. Sure, most of us will never dunk, can’t dive from more than the edge of a pool, will never finish a mile in under 4 minutes, dismount cleanly from a bar, or even pin an opponent. But what makes us pay attention when someone else performs these feats is that fact that we think we could possibly perform any of these tasks.
We mostly all have access to a place to swim, to play B-ball, to wrestle, and to simply run. We have experienced and participated in many of the sports that make up the events in Summer Olympics, and so we can identify. Being the best at most of these events is self-evident; excluding the intricate and sometimes questionable judging of high dives and other subjective sports, the majority of Summer Olympic events are made up of things many of us have done or still do.
So hurry up Winter Olympics! Get done! Winter is no longer coming; it is leaving and it can’t take Sochi with it fast enough. Let the kids go back to the Wal-Mart parking lot to rule the pipe on their boards – we don’t have to put snow under a schoolyard pastime simply to make believe it is a sport. It will be time soon enough to watch real athletes from real sports. In the meantime, let’s go Jimmy and Seth!
* and let’s face it, even hockey at it’s Canadian craziest is still a sport with extremely limited viewing potential and following.