Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bored of the rings

The Olympics, which take for what will seem like four months, broadcast in mostly taped delay format on approximately 35 percent of all cable channels.

The symbol of the games is five interlocked rings, which may as well be zeroes, signifying their worth.

I can guess what you may be thinking. It’s un-American to not watch the Olympics, right? Or maybe I’m not a true sports fan since I don’t watch them, huh? Well, you’re wrong on both counts. For one thing, boycotting the Olympics is an American pastime.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter refused to send our boys and girls over to Moscow to participate in the summer games. Was this because we were protesting a communist invasion of Afghanistan? Hells no. We couldn’t give a damn about Afghanistan.

It was because we had always gone to the Olympics, and we were sick of how dumb and repetitive they were, so we pretended like we had a fever so momma wouldn’t make us go to school, ‘cause we’d rather stay home and play video games. The only reason America participated in the 1984 summer Olympics was because we had to, since they were in L.A. In 1988 we went to the Seoul, South Korea games as a secret ploy to try and undermine the enemy commie regime in North Korea, and we justified going to Barcelona in 1992 in order to have Michael Jordan and the Dream Team beat the hell out of everyone by sixty points a game. Those were the days when America was actually good at basketball, but now we’re surprised that the team is actually winning games again.

Then the world made us have the Olympics again, in Atlanta, in 1996, so the ’84 rule applied once again. No one knows whether or not the Americans went to the 2000 games in Australia or the 2004 Olympics in Athens, because they were all tape-delayed, and most of the events are still unfolding on TV, even as the new games begin.

Real sports fans can’t watch the Olympics, because anyone who truly cares about an athletic event needs to know what happened as soon as it’s done, usually because we have a bet riding on the outcome. Anyone who DVRs sports games and says they’ll watch them later is a loser, lying to cover up his secret fetish for watching the Lifetime channel while having everyone think he really likes sports.

Also, sports fans enjoy watching more than just swimming and track, which make up 95 percent of all competition during the Olympics. The Olympics actually do have cooler sports to watch every now and then, like ping pong and judo, but the TV stations never play those because Americans are even worse at those sports than they are at basketball.

Still, it’s a blessed moment when the networks actually do show us some swimming and track, because actual competition makes up only 5 percent of what they show. The other 95 percent is, of course, weepy, prefabricated feature stories about how every Olympic athlete had to overcome things like having their parents die, having to put up with several fingers being cut off every day by rogue government officials, not being allowed to eat for 12 years, or some other kind of hardship, such as having their step-parents die.

The parents dying stories are there to make people like my mom watch, but what the programmers don’t know is that my mom would rather watch parents die in soap operas that are being pre-empted by the Olympics.

Another reason the Olympics suck is because of the announcers. Normally good announcers turn into flag-waving dingbats when they’re assigned to the Olympics, and none of them ever have anything interesting to say. Here’s an actual transcript of a recent broadcast:

BOB: And heat three of the 5 million kilometer swimming quarterfinals have finally started, Bob. That means we’re only seven hours and 6,321 laps away from seeing who moves onto the semis. Why don’t you explain to the viewers how this works, Bob?

OTHER BOB: Thanks, Bob. Well, they’ll swim, they’ll turn, swim some more, turn again and… uh, let me check the rule book… Oh, there it is! Swim some more.

BOB: And all the while, we’ll pop in with amusing anecdotes fed to us by the TelePromTer!

OTHER BOB: What if we misspeak, Bob?

BOB: Well, Bob, this event actually took place about 20 hours ago, giving our editors time to smooth everything over and insert commercial breaks in order for NBC to feed to the ignorant public during prime time.

OTHER BOB: What a magnificent spectacle! There’s a special story behind the Chilean swimmer in lane two, Bob. His parents died when he was four, then he was adopted, and those parents died as well. Actually, four sets of the swimmer’s parents died, and his countrymen began to believe there was some sort of curse on him. Thus, the poor guy had to spend all his time in a pool, hence is much-practiced aquatic skills.

BOB: Whoah, Bob, the swimmers have turned again!

OTHER BOB: That kind of thing makes my heart skip a beat, Bob!

BOB: No, Bob, it’s actually your clogged arteries that makes your heart skip a beat.

OTHER BOB: Touche, Bob.

In closing, here is a list of things that are better than the Olympics:

-Picking up the phone to be told four relatives have just been maimed in a twister.

-Finding out your girlfriend is married to Carrot Top.

-Watching the DVD of the Rosie O’Donnell Show, the Complete Third Season.

-Getting stung by an Africanized Honey Bee.

So, readers, I implore you to help me out with this Olympic boycott. Jimmy Carter, bless ‘im, would have wanted it this way.

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