Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Dime a Dozen: Olympic Reactions [I of II]

I’ve decided to finally put down my XBOX360 controller (Madden 09 = sub par) and start transitioning back into “normal” mode (in case you didn’t know, I teach 8th grade social studies)…with a little help from the Summer Olympics: Beijing Edition.

Rather than just briefly highlight a few moments…

Wait, that sounds perfect! That is EXACTLY what I’m going to do.

Even worse, I’m gonna log it in for a week…journal style!!!
Seriously, I don’t watch Gossip Girl. I promise.

Here’s the first of a two-part series – stretched out over two weeks – of Olympic reactions.
One moment from each day. Just for you!
Pass it along!

Day One: Friday, August 8th
…Opening Ceremonies…

Now this is MY type of OC!
Credit: Wordpress

As majestic as anything I’ve ever seen on television. After the debacle with “executive producer” Spielberg stepping down (see: Darfur), China got the ceremonies right in every sense of the word. Perhaps my favorite part of any Olympics is the marching of the 200+ nations into the Olympic Stadium (for this year, the aptly titled ‘Bird’s Nest’). I still remember as a younger version of myself – aka adolescent – looking through the national geographic atlas with my grandfather and learning of countries like Eritrea, Maldives, Andorra, and Seychelles. Fantastic opening to what I predict to be a fantastic two-plus weeks.

Day Two: Saturday, August 9th


I didn’t mind the Costas/Lauer duo last night; however, I much prefer Jim Lampley in the midnight-desk (remember, China is 12 hours AHEAD of the US East Coast) to the Jordan-loving Costas who gets primetime (live) duty. As for today’s action, the US women’s basketball team is the safest lock in Bejing to capture gold. Even over Phelps medaling in half of his swims.

Day Three: Sunday, August 10th

…Bros over Hos…

So many choices today – especially between the Redeem Team, gymnastics kicking off, and a duo known as May/Walsh – on the boob tube. Sorry ladies, but the boobs are part of allure of Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh. Chauvinism aside, the two are really watched because they’re the best the world has to offer in its sport (one that’s quick and easy to watch and score yourself). Sign me up either way.

In a word...HOT!
Credit: USA Volleyball

Day Four: Monday, August 11


Seriously, I’m exhausted after sneaking a peak – while dinning on all-you-can-eat crabs – at water polo (while on vacation in Virginia Beach). I’m going to go ahead and “amend” a quote from a favorite movie of mine (Dogma). Loki: “Mass genocide is the most exhausting activity one can engage in, outside of soccer.” After today’s viewing, water polo might get my vote over soccer as most exhausting endeavor EVER! Seriously.

Day Five: Tuesday, August 12


Surprised I really haven’t reflected upon Phelps, the men’s 100 meter trio, or the Redeem Team? Get over it. Honestly, I don’t know what I enjoy more: the fantastic performances inside the pool or the commentary of Dan Hicks & Rowdy Gaines. They’re both seasoned in the sport and let me know EXACTLY what I need to about each race. Some “critics” have called them out for going overboard or showing favoritism. Shut up. Honestly, I can’t stand the commentary value in most American sports. (Last time I checked, NBC targeted a pro-US Olympic push too.) John Madden hasn’t been sane since Brett Favre came to Lambeau, Mark Jackson is putrid on ABC (Momma! I’m gonna dunk this one for you momma!), and Gus Johnson finds way too much excitement and intrigue in a grasshopper leaping over the sidewalk. Props to these two commentators for putting me in the moment time and time again and making me feel like I’m there (in the pool!).

Day Six: Wednesday, August 13th

…Cue the music…

In case you didn’t know, there are two types of gymnastics in the Olympics. One is extremely popular and has delivered three all-around golds in two Olympics for the US (Johnson, Petterson, and Hamm). The other is rhythmic gymnastics. Want to know what that is?

Take a look below and get ready to laugh!

Day Seven: Thursday, August 14

…See what happened was…

If nobody else is willing to do it, I’m going to go Dr. Cox and call Olympic boxing DEAD right here and right now. I’ll then put my hands over my head and wonder how it came to this. Now where is that Dr. Reid…

Day Eight: Friday, August 15


I’ve stayed up a lot later than I expected in order to watch these Olympics (especially LIVE)…and it’s been highly worth it. Costas better apologize at some point for this! By the way, I can’t say enough how much I love Bella Karolyi and his instinct ability to say exactly what’s on his mind. Don’t let the NBC polo fool you, he loves America (remember him carrying around Kerri Strug in ’96?) and he and his wife (women’s coach) are going to fight every battle the “too-safe” media won’t touch. Mark it down: the Chinese will forfeit those team gold medals in the next dozen-or-so years because they have TWO, not one, girls under the age of 16. Am I bitter? Of course not. But I know an 8th grader when I see one. I teach the idiots.

If she's 16 or older...I'll eat my shoe!
Credit: Newsday

Day Nine: Saturday, August 16

...Redeem or Dream…

Wanna know a secret? The Redeem Team is L-O-A-D-E-D. Dismantling Spain should not be taken lightly as they’ll likely double-up Germany (Kaman has had zero impact besides trivial rebounds for them) and then face off with pesky Australia (I think) in 4+ days. While Kobe’s outside shot is flaky, terrible hand-checking inconsistency from the refs might plague might lead to a dozen or so extra foul calls, and Carmelo needs to lose 10 pounds PRONTO…this team is winning the gold. Every game by double digits too. Was that a fragment? Oh well. Honestly, the only thing I would change from this lineup is subbing out Boozer for a healthy Amare Stoudemire. Other than that, even I will prop up Coach K on fine work thus far.

Day Ten: Sunday, August 17th

...Kill Me NOW…

Olympic rowing is by far the most boring event in the Olympics. Oh wait, I just walked into some sort of indoor cycling on a track. With spaceage helmets, no less. Frankly they look WAY too much like the “skull” from the abomination that was the new Indiana Jones movie (ugh!). Nevermind, this is clearly the Olympics most boring sport.

In case you haven't seen it...their movie SUCKED.
Credit: Costumzee

Day Eleven: Monday, August 18th

Tape-delay RUINS everything; but I blame every major media outlet for never even considering labeling spoilers (shame!) rather than 12-hour delayed NBC. Tonight’s women’s uneven bars debacle doesn’t help my bitterness. Although my interest in the event only further proves real men dig women’s gymnastics. What I don’t dig is the tie-breaking system. Oh wait, you already knew that! In the end, nobody got “screwed” because the system is clear and the top performers each made mistakes. Of course, the Australian judge can suck it for whatever he was smoking before Liukin’s peformance. Nevertheless, the IOC needs to make one thing clear: allow ties or don’t allow ties. FOR ALL SPORTS. Simple. Don’t subjugate it by sport and don’t limit it to certain “circumstances”. Both of those girls, Liukin & He, deserved the gold (despite whatever the trivial scoring system says).

And why didn’t I mention Michael Phelps even once?
Because everyone else did! Duh.

And I’m not crying for anyone “overshadowed” by his dominance.
If they earned their medals, they can enjoy those FOREVER.
Unless Bjorn Borg is their accountant.

…Five More Quick Thoughts…

-Mr. Bolt: run out the last 20 meters and put up a 9.59 number. Then gloat. We want the lowest number possible. Why? Even that mark will be broken in four to five years.
-Angelo Taylor goes eight years between gold medals in the men’s 400 meter hurdle? I love it!
-Phelps goes 8 for 8. No surprise. One word. Superhuman.
-Liukin and Johnson go 1-2 in overall girl’s gymnastics? Boo ya China!
-James Blake. Great job calling out someone who cheated. We’ve all called a ball or two out that was clearly in; however, an Olympic medal was never on the line. You know if a tennis ball hit your racket. Don’t be that guy and spit in the face of a game’s tradition and legacy by claiming ignorance.

Any other pro-American sentiments left? Probably not.
Fear not fans...I’ll return next week (gulp) after I embark into a week of faculty meetings.
Wish me luck!

Until next time...


Paymon said...

Clement - nice work. First off, I watched Gossip Girl at 8pm instead of whatever was on for Olympics.


First, Gossip Girl is a well-written show.

Second, I am growing to reach a Duke level of hatred for the subjectively-scored sports. Yes, I'm talking about you gymnastics. To the naked eye (not even including the anal retentive commentator who points out deductions in real time like Chris Berman gives away picks during the NFL Draft), Liukin should've defeated the 9-year-old. Kudos to the 9-year-old though. She's 9 and 'defeated' (er, won a tie-breaker because of the judgment of the gymnastics talent factories that are Australia, New Zealand and Brazil) someone twice her age.

On media criticism, the commentators (sans Doug Collins) have been decidedly homer.

Spain got what they had coming to them from the US. The photograph they did as a "joke" was unabashedly racist and not a surprise to those of us who follow international football.

Clement said...

Doug Collins has one and only one bias...Kobe Bryant.

Paymon said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but his proper title is "Kobe Bryant, who is loved here in China".