Monday, February 22, 2010

Curls, Lutzes and Sweethearts

The 2010 Winter Olympics began with the tragic death of a Georgian luger and continued with a stone faced Wayne Gretzky, torch in hand, waiting for the centerpiece symbol of the Olympics to lift it's malfunctioning fourth leg. They were lucky The Great One's teeth weren't chattering as well since this is the first winter ceremony to be held indoors. Good thing too, since there was more snow in Hoboken. The follies continued with host country Canada trying to upstage the magnificent ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Games in China. It is mind-boggling that the country that has turned Cirque De Soleil into franchise-style entertainment couldn't muster the theatrics to make this occasion memorable. A few skiers hanging from wires and a skateboarder sailing through giant Olympic rings followed the predictable entertainment. Who knew there were that many fiddlers and tap dancers in the Great White North. I would have gone with comedy--Canada's greatest contribution to the world. Bring out comedian Dan Ackroyd and character Ed Grimley, show reruns of SCTV's MacKenzie Brothers or even an Ace Ventura movie clip. Okay, maybe not Jim Carrey. They had to truck out K.D. Lang (remember her?) for the big show. Wow!
Who knew Curling would become one of the most watched televised sports of the first week. Granted, they were broadcast every day before Oprah and the only other thing to watch are reruns of Law & Order this and thats. Whiling away February afternoons with the gentle sport of giant rocks sliding on ice is both soothing and addicting to most stay at homes. If you watched, you are either unemployed or lazy so the idea of playing a giant shuffle board game is not a challenge. Think of playing it at your local tavern while chilling your mug of beer on the ice. How difficult is it to sweep a broom. Women who play it look like you average soccer mom or bar girl. Some one you could actually talk to and maybe get a date. Try that with any of the figure skating divas. The Japanese team and a few of the Brits were actually hot. Especially when they a screaming 'hard!' and 'harder!,harder!' One problem I had was the announcer's use of the telestrater. If any sport could use it and has the time during play, curling is it. It was barely used. How difficult would it to explain and show newbies the strategies of the game by drawing lines. Everyone stands around for five minutes so do a John Madden. Exploit it!
The best sports are the Ski Cross and the Short Track Skating. Ohno rules--except for the Koreans. Gotta love the rough and tumble aspects of those events but I never knew that Olympic hockey could be so good. I never watch NHL games but I think the players have the best names in sports--Gump, Satan, LeFluer--except when Canadian players give cute nicknames to each other. Shawn becomes Shawnsie and Burns becomes Burnsie. Take off the sequin outfits, quit the triple lutzes and talk like grown ups. Speaking of lutzes, who would have thought a quadruple jump controversy in men's figure skating would lead Russia's President Putin to almost start World War III. Olympic hockey action seems faster than the NHL and, just short of fistfights (not allowed), the hits are brutal. You think when a Czech Republic player slams a Russian into the boards he not thinking "that one's for my grandpa".
All and all I'm glad the United States isn't dominating everything. The 'USA! USA!' chant is tired. We're winning and NBC's biased and smug--lose the comfy turtlenecks and cozy fireplace already-- announcers never let us forget it. The downhill skiing is great but I don't want the next 'America's Sweetheart" shoved down my throat. Lindsey Vonn is great and seeing her bikini magazine spread is cool but any sweetheart of mine is not on a Wheaties box, she's lying in bed next to me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Bogeys

Manhattan streets got eerily quiet. The Price is Right was preempted. Katie Couric and the other network anchors appeared on morning television screens. Tiger Woods spoke and the Earth shifted. Thirteen minutes later that same world would right itself as even the casual Woods fan watched. He looked older, puffier and red-eyed. He stared awkwardly hard into the camera and asked the world forgive his "mistake", which probably included the 20 "mistakes" he allegedly made with just one of his harem bimbos. If you remember his hormone-driven texts to his mistresses, you know Woods didn't write the scripted apology. Not once did I hear the words 'you're hot' or 'I'm in the hotel room next door' spoken. It was all a front. The only time you saw him speak from his heart was when he accused the media--except the handpicked few who curled at his feet like Sadie, the Westminster Terrier--of terrorizing his family and blaming Elin. I never once recall the press blaming Elin for his problems--except maybe criticizing her for not using a heavier iron on his receding hairline. Tiger thrives on the media. He brought it onto his wife and children himself. This press 'event' was orchestrated by his public relations machine to help Woods make amends with his family, sponsors, and fans. Don't club the messenger Tiger. Woods represents much of what's wrong in this world. We respect the brand and not the man--winning equals character. Woods' verbal press release was at times moving and contrite but his arrogance still cut through the choked up appeals . His atonement was no different from a criminal who finds God (in this case Buddha) from behind bars. He got caught. I don't know how Elin feels but I'm sure the companies who booked network advertising space at 10:59 a.m. were happy they got their money's worth of air time and amazingly... it wasn't Nike.