Posted by: Rob | August 9, 2008

There’s an Olympic Games event on?

First off, I have to admit it.  I am not a big sports watcher*.  Aside from some NHL play off hockey in my younger years, the appeal of being a TV spectator to sports – of any kind – has never resonated with me.  In addition, I’m not a big sports follower either.  I don’t read sports, listen to sports or talk sports.  I guess I was born without the requisite gene.

As a wee lad, I remember that my Saturday afternoon and early evening TV watching would come to an end when Hockey Night in Canada started.  We only had one channel in those days and it was a bit incomprehensible to me at the time that a fixed white blob on the screen could be even remotely interesting.  I did grow up to love playing the game, however.

I remember way back in the late ’70’s/early ’80’s when we lived in Beaverlodge.  Those were the days of “grey” market satellite TV.  Our town had installed a satellite dish to receive HBO and then blanket re-broadcast it over the entire town on UHF.  I became more than a little addicted to 24 hours a day, uninterrupted and commercial free movie watching and I would become a little disgusted and dreading of those two weeks every summer when HBO, for some reason, provided continuous coverage of Wimbledon.**

Fast forward through years of pre-emptions of favourite programs that became sacrifices to the sports gods to my now – perhaps curious – state of being no longer a TV watcher***.

I have heard the hype about the upcoming summer Olympics hosted by Beijing.  The rhetoric and banal banter has ramped up on the cable TV news shows that I listen on XM radio during my daily commutes.  Almost to the point of nausea, quite frankly.

There has even been an lively discussion on my company’s internal blog following the CEO’s post about China’s “coming out” on the world stage.  Much of the discussion has dipped, predictably, deep into political territory (you know, that pesky stuff about China’s authoritarian government, suppression, oppression, censorship and disdain for basic human rights), but there hasn’t been near the level of emotion displayed as, say, during a discussion about gun control.

It’s hard to avoid the hysteria.  And I had to chuckle a bit as I looked at yesterday’s Globe and Mail, seeing things like an article about, of all things, the apparent desire of some to view the sports after the fact without being contaminated by knowing the outcome.

With PVRs hitting critical mass, the Beijing Games will be the most recorded ever – forcing fans to go to extremes to preserve the suspense.

What?  This gem comes from a piece called “Dodging the Olympic spoilsports” and features a crude, but cute, drawing of someone like Eric Smith, PVR owner, who says,

If you don’t want to know then you are the one has to take the steps.

Dude.  Seriously.  Get a life.

I really don’t understand the hoopla.  I’ve found some of the stories coming out of China – about the attempts to clean up, including the air – a little amusing.  I’m also relieved that I’m not the type to get worked up into a lather about this stuff.

I’ve been reading in the press that there’s been more than a little resistance to the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver.  But the powers that be just continue to roll over the little guy.

In the grand scheme of Life, the Universe and Everything are these little “sporting events”****  really all that significant?  In my humble opinion – no.

* Naturally, when my wife or my daughters were playing fast pitch softball I was, of course, a willing spectator and cheerleader.

** Tennis?  On television?  Blech!

*** You know.  It’s amazing.  I do not watch a single minute of television anymore.  I don’t miss it.  And I still don’t have enough time in a day.  What the hell was I thinking all those years wasting hours sitting in front of the boob tube?

**** By all accounts, the Olympic events are now more about who can cheat the most with an “artificial” human and not get caught.



  1. I’m also one who doesn’t give a rip about the Olympics. It’s not amateur sports anymore, they are professionals who train obsessively for the four years between games. Not interested.

  2. there’s an olympics this year? where? haven’t paid much attention 😉

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