The Lumber Yard (3/3)
The Border Crossing
Ok, I’m not one who particularly cares to be force-fed commercialized sports. I like to turn on the game as it starts, much like NCAA basketball games. You tune in, they talk for 5-7 minutes and the ball is tossed into the air….game on. Now with the Olympics, this isn’t even a consideration to NBC. I have watched them talk and talk, tell me this is coming up, and then show ONE heat and go to commercials, show two-three heats, go to commercial, go to another sport and show 1-3 heats, commercials, a story about an Olympian, commercials. I just don’t get it. We have the most possibilities to air live sports than anyone in the world, yet we must sit thru 1½ hours of crap to see 20 some minutes of action…..that has already taken place, and most of us already know the winner/places. It just makes true fans of the Olympics cringe at the pile of rubbish one must sit thru to find competition.
So, I’m lucky…I have a big old aerial, much like I grew up with in the 1970’s that has that sweet little rotor that turns the antenna around. A relic most never use anymore, and I’m sure there are plenty that read this that have never even had to use. I’ve learned to love mine. Yea, I have satellite feed as well. I can pull down 2 Canadian channels from my aerial high atop my hill and rooftop…spanning across the Mackinac Bridge and the International Bridge into Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Guess what? Canadians watch live Olympics….that means (for those who watch NBC coverage at night) that I have already watched 80% of what they “package” into a marathon of commercials.
CBC in Canada usually starts at 4 or 5 a.m. with live coverage…some mornings I make it, some I don’t. But by the time I’ve watched a ½ hour of coverage, I know what has taken place, what is going on right now, and what is coming up. Canadians do a pretty good job of telling you how their neighbors are doing as well….that’s us. Sure, they concentrate more on their Canadian Olympians (and should), but they even do Olympian segment stories on US athletes….even the controversial Shani Davis. These stories aren’t long dramatic tear jerkers that get sandwiched into 10 minutes of commercials. They are quick synopsis of the athlete, where he/she comes from, and what battles they went thru to become an Olympian. They are short, sweet, and much more effective than the crap NBC tries to turn into mini movies. @#%# Hollywood formula to the brain dead!
CBC also replays events after the day is done in Turin….just like the US, but they did play it live first before repeating it…US gets “delayed” on the event tagline. Are we as a country basically stating “who cares” about the Olympics? I think yes. We can give updates all day long in TV, internet, radio, etc. as to what has happened already, then told we can watch it later. Does anyone else agree that this is ridiculous? This is the pinnacle of sports IMO. Why shouldn’t the largest power in the world make live Olympics available? MNBC and CNBC do cover some hockey live….tucked away on channels that no one even knows about, nor does anyone think to watch sports on them….come to think of it, NBC hardly ever mentions that they are on. USA gets some live coverage as well. Keeping up with what is on, and where, in the morning is difficult. You need to actually go to a website and find out what is on. The satellite information has been wrong many times already. Americans don’t seem to gripe, NBC has its contracts of commercials and who gives a damn what the true fans want or think. “We are NBC and you don’t like live sports. You don’t like Olympics unless we hype a person between every commercial break. You will know who wins before you watch it and like it.” NBC…time to stick to your soap operas and stupid game shows.
And while I’m at it…CBC and Canadians are actually a team. The Canadian Olympians always stress and discuss TEAM. They love the person who gets 46th as much as their gold winners. The gold winners discuss their teammates more than their own accomplishments when interviewed. They are inspired by their teammates – not displaced by them. The Canadians have shown me how incredibly lost we (as a country) are in the concept of Olympics. The Olympics are not about individual athletes just vying for medals. It is about dreamers, heroes, and inspiration. It is about all walks of life from around the globe to compete with, dare I mention it, sportsmanship. Canada mentions this on the hour. Their commercials are mostly directed towards sportsmanship, which they call a winning attitude. Our commercials are about stupid car commercials with idiot fans that fall thru the ice and are carried around to other venues on top of the car – frozen stiff to die. This is exactly the attitude of way too many Americans. The whole “who cares” attitude is sickening.
The fact that Canadians even mention our athletes is a tribute to them…we sure don’t mention them. I feel compassion for all countries and competitors. I like seeing other countries win with great athletes that deserve their chance to shine. Pride is a funny thing. Last night, instead of watching the same events on NBC I’ve already watched in the morning, I threw in an old Carey Grant and Ingrid Bergman film, Notorious. A fantastic film that has Ingrid stating in the beginning that, “I detest patriotism.” Here is a line from 1946, filmed at the end of WWII, that still holds true today. Patriotism has fueled more wars and blood than anything. It isn’t politics or religion as most would say; it is because of this patriotic mentality that we are force fed since toddlers. Waving the flag is one thing, but waving it as superior is disgrace. Since our constitution was built on the “idea” that all men are created equal, patriotism is channeled as the opposite. And it reminds me of that scene along the bridge in Smokey and the Bandit where Burt Reynolds tells “frog” (Sally Field) that (I’m paraphrasing), “it depends on what part of the country you are standing in as to how dumb you are.” This translates to the world as well. And this brings about my favorite quote of all time, “Travel is fatal to bigotry.” (Mark Twain)
It has been a fun step outside of our mainstream American commercialistic BS. The Canadians have helped remind me what the Olympics are about. There is no better country; there is no better team. There isn’t anything finer than someone doing their best on the world’s biggest stage, no matter where they came from…………as long as they’re a good sport with a “winning attitude.” BTW, a winning attitude doesn’t mean to win at all costs. It means you route for all to do their best. This is not the attitude of many of our athletes, and it is disheartening. Not only do our athletes lose touch of the Olympic spirit, our country doesn’t even care if they watch the games as they happen. My favorites this year for America – Ted Liggety, Joey Cheek (donated his winnings to charity programs for kids), and Shaun White. Ted was the surprise by beating all expectations. Joey gives back, not just a taker. Shaun – the tomato can flat out inspire a world with his smile, love of family, and pure enthusiasm for his sport. I’m not American bashing ---- NBC bashing. The media has way too much influence in our lives already, and if we allow them to tell us that Olympics aren’t worth watching live – then we are Pavlov’s dog punching up a convenient time for a dried biscuit via remote control. Thank you CBC for letting me enjoy the Olympics – real time, unbiased, and cheering for all to do the best they can do. Watching the NBC replays of the same thing made me sick. We are lucky in 2010 – the games will be in North America (Vancouver). Me, I plan on being there…anyone care to set up a live feed for me to do my own broadcast?
[Editor's note: The Lumber Yard is our way of featuring guest writers from around the globe. Today's piece was the second of 2 Olympic wrap-up articles written by the imcomparable Slug, a grey-haired bastard held together by old ankle tape, Molsons, and sticky stuff on his fingers.]