Captain Obvious

So, it's no surprise that I am a massive fan of the Olympics, especially the Winter Olympics. Nothing gives me more joy than watching athletes dress from head to toe in tight tight spandex and throw/hurl/huck/propel themselves off of steep slopes/chutes/ice sheets as fast and as recklessly as humanly possible. True, the Summer Olympics and the athletes may be more scantily clad, tan and aesthetically appealing themselves, but it takes a special person to be a Winter Olympian. More often than not, these are the kids who never turned down a dare. Whether it was doing a back flip off a jump or wearing a sequined flamboyant feathered outfit... these are the people that when faced with obstacles that most sane people run away from (like copious amounts of ice and snow... or sequins), winter athletes embrace. While most people travel south to warmer sunnier climates for the winter, these athletes head north, up high towards the cold, the hard and the fast.

The interesting thing about the Winter Olympics, as opposed to the Summer Olympics, is that it's compelling in a very exclusive way... meaning not that everyone can do it. Ideally, all fit and able bodied people can watch the Summer Olympics at home and then inspired by the events on TV, rush outside to play soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, run, swim, bike, play tennis, etc... as I did; however, for most people, this is not an option for the Winter Olympics. It its pretty much a fact that in order to be a Winter Olympic athlete you have to have access to proper terrain, cold enough winters, ice rinks, and gear to participate. Which sadly also means copious amounts of money, a sugar daddy, or communist country that told you it was your job (that is unless you are the Jamaican Bobsled Team... and that's another story). As a result of this adversity, the majority of citizens of the world cannot participate in said Winter Olympic events and thereby, do not really understand the nature and rules of sports themselves.

In the Summer Olympics, seemingly everyone is a critic. Every Joe Six Pack can watch an event and say to themselves... "Man, I could have done that better than that dude. I mean, like back in high school when I used to high jump, before I got that job. If I had only practiced a little harder, been more dedicated, I could have been there." In the Winter Olympics, there is far less personal guilt involved as majority of people watching, can only regret not living in a place conducive to those sports. This regret is nothing that should really keep us up at night since most of us at a young age, had no say in where we grew up. You either lived in one of those places where they did those sports and your parents allowed you to participate... or you lived in Southern Ohio and didn't have a chance to start with.

In the Winter Olympics, the majority of the population has to rely on the TV announcers to be the critics and the experts. We need them to explain the rules and protocol for biathlon, ski jump and curling. While quite often they'll bring in expert analysts (also known as former Olympians who need a job and are kinda still familiar to the general public from their short stint on a Wheaties Box), it's up to the full time announcers to carry the weight of the broadcast. Some of the TV announcers themselves, are also kinda unfamiliar with the games and thusly, have to fill in the silence between drama and action with words. As a result, they are more prone to say dumb-assed things when trying to avoid not knowing what they are really talking about.

Take for example... while watching figure skating the other evening, one announcer actually said: "you know, the Canadian couple thought they had a pretty good shot of winning till they fell." Or in the nordic combined as the athletes were entering in their final lap on the course and an all out sprint ensued... one announcer said "so-and-so would have a pretty good chance of catching up with the lead pack if only he wasn't so tired."

No shit.

Thank you Captain Obvious.


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