Have you been watching the world’s biggest beach party? They are calling it the Olympic Games, and the event is being held in Brazil in spite of complaints about the dangerously polluted water and spats about doping.
As NBC covers one event after another in a marathon of television coverage, I’ve become bleary eyed from watching it all. My remote control skills are being subjected to a test of endurance greater than the skills of the athletes.
After days and days of it, one swimmer looks pretty much like another and those black and white blobs splashing back and forth just don’t have the thrill of, say, NASCAR. I’m waterlogged and worn out and have discovered swimming strokes that I didn’t even know existed outside of an aquarium.
Athletes spend most of their waking time practicing, and getting ready for the Olympics, we are told. Some spend an entire lifetime training and becoming physically fit. And they still have the guts to call it “games”?
All this physical exertion leaves a dedicated couch potato sweaty and out of breath. I know it’s important to have national pride and for young people to be physically fit, but it sort of makes me wonder if we are training the physical body at the exclusion of everything else. For the few that win, I suppose it pays off in big monetary ways with product endorsements and paid performances.
“The important thing is just to be here and to be able to compete,” say the athletes to the camera. Right – and that’s why we tally up each country’s medals to see who got the most. Somehow it always seems to be the losers who are saying it doesn’t matter. Everyone else is too busy counting.
Many of the sports were never really intended to be spectator sports. Watching someone throw a discus is entertaining? I don’t think so. My shoulder has been out of joint ever since I saw the first throw. Bet the original Greek’s ashes would turn over in their Grecian urns if they could see what their simple competitions have become.
The most watched event as a spectator sport seems to be women’s beach volleyball. Even the players admit that the spectators are not there to look at a volleyball game. It’s supposed to be sexy. So, I suck in my tubby tummy and hope no one notices the varicose veins. The way some of those Amazons look, however, we must be pretty desperate to see babes in bathing suits.
The cutest participants are the gymnasts, of course, bouncing around with glitter in their hair and on their eyelids. Why is it that looking cute in sequins enhances their performance, but the female swimmers don’t wear a stitch of mascara or lipstick? For the sake of womanhood, I hope someone invents waterproof eye glitter before the next Olympic Games.
Actually, the gymnasts make me nervous. Holding my breath and doing a mental balancing act right beside them, I always think we will fall off and hurt something important. The announcers always see things that I don’t. “Oh, look at that! Her toenail is hanging off the beam. You can’t do that in Olympic level competition. And she bounced when she landed! She’s out of it!”
Picky! Picky! Picky! May the gymnast with the cutest outfit win, I say!
Does all this sports coverage really do much to inspire us to athletic fitness? It certainly does inspire us to baggy, bloodshot eyes from too much television watching and helps us to understand the intricacies of offbeat sports like canoe slalom that we never have, and never will, give a whit about.
The new endurance record will be that of the dazed television viewers who have suffered through more hours of coverage than we ever imagined possible and without any purple circles to help our sore buttocks. When they start giving out gold medals and olive wreaths for couch potato participation, I’ll be there!
©2004-2016 Sheila Moss
Are you watching the Olympics on TV? What is your favorite event?