Monday, February 20, 2006

What Do My Favorite Winter Olympics Events Have in Common?

= Short Track Skating in Milwaukee

With the NFL season finally over, the NBA on a short hiatus for the All-Star Break, the second season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia still in production and Dick Cheney not shooting anyone this week...there's not a lot to talk about around the ol' water cooler. So inevitably, the Winter Olympics must be discussed.

Chanukah Smurf (real name protected by Smurf Name Generator) brought up today that his girlfriend would prefer to see two bobsledding teams compete at the same time. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Chanukah Smurf also admitted today that he is a self-hating Smurf who would prefer the name Cujo Smurf...but that's another issue altogether. So anyway, the thought of two bobsledders on one track at first sounds ludicrous...they might bump into each other, one team might flip off the track, something interesting might happen, etc.

But what are my favorite Winter Olympic sports to watch? Not curling, not the slalom, not even the luge. I like snowboard cross and short track skating and hockey and cross country skiing. What do all these sports have in common? The athletes are competing against each other and not the clock. I don't care if Bode Miller is .15 ahead of the pace, .15 behind the pace or .15 over the legal limit...I want to see pushing, hair pulling and spectacular crashes. And the only way for that to happen is for all the competitors to start at the same time.

When you were young, did you ever race someone down a water slide? Did your parents time you to see who won? No, you both jumped in the chute at the same time and whoever ended up in the water first won. Why can't we do that in the skeleton...only have two racers start at the same time on the same course? The person who gets off to a quick start obviously has an advantage, but the trailing person can be more technically sound, draft in a similar manner to those sneaky Italian cross country skiiers, and then punch the leader in the face and pass them.

What would short track skating be without Apollo Yoko Ono cutting off one of the Koreans and a formal protest being launched? Or a snowboard cross event without at least one competitor not finishing after getting pushed off the course? Or how about a women's hockey match-up without checking...oh wait, there is no checking allowed in women's hockey (a ridiculous rule).

So clearly, if we're adding ridiculous events like the halfpipe where Carrot Top can win a gold medal, we can also add more events where there is some sort of physical contact. Or at the very least, more than one competitor going at a time. All this "clock watching" during the Olympics reminds me of my days when I used to work in the admissions mailroom in college...

The best job in sports has to be the guy at the top of the ski mountain who gets the American skiers pumped up. He's really a one trick pony...his formula is say "C'mon" and then insert their first name (in the case of Bode Miller) or their knickname (in the case of Daron Rahlves) or their full name if they have a pretty boring name (Scott Macartney). A quick Google search finds that the deep voiced provocateur is none other than this guy.


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