Tag: Olympics

That’s a major deduction, Olympic announcers

I love the Olympics. Every four (or 5) years the world comes together to show off such immense and diverse talents across a mind-blowing array of sports. I love watching.

I saw a man take gold in a Triathlon he was never expected to win. I saw an Australian swimmer upset Katie Ledecky. I saw that same Ledecky out-swim a field of other world class athletes in 1500 meters like she was out for a morning warmup. I saw the world talk about Simone Biles take herself out of the team competition. (Good for you! Take care of yourself. You owe nothing to anyone but yourself.)

I love watching women’s gymnastics possibly the most of all. (But did you see the synchronized diving??? Those British lads were stunning!)

What I could not stand was the commentating for the gymnastics tonight. We saw Simone Biles take herself out of the competition. What we then saw was the rest of the team perform extremely well. Better than Biles had been up to that point. We saw young athletes with the weight of the world and American Media on their shoulders go out and deliver superb performances.

We saw athletes at the height of their sport.

But what we got from NBC was criticism and negativity. Nowhere was there a cheer of excitement or praise for a well-landed tumbling pass nor tricky maneuver. We got moans and gasps of disappointment as every deduction was dutifully called out. Every failure remarked upon.

And when they weren’t criticizing, they were silent. Terry Gannon, Nastia Liukin and Tim Daggett called the night and while I don’t recognize Tim or Terry’s voice. It was a male voice leading the complaints. They were no Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.

All three of them could take a page from Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines. They are calling swimming and doing a much better job. The excitement in their voices. Reminding us all of the amazing feats we were witness to.

I almost turned off the coverage after the gymnastics portion of the night. But the swimming restored my enjoyment of the night and the games.

Maybe it’s harder for the commentators to remember we are witnessing thrilling races head-to-head and stellar individual performances. But when we tune in to a sport for the first time in 2016, I want more than a frustrated sounding announcer to point out every little flaw and failure of these athletes.

Share the wonder. Marvel with us. This is a treat to watch. You have an opportunity to improve our understanding and enjoyment of an event. Or you can remind us how easy it is to fall into the trap of negativity and nitpicking every mistake and misstep. Choose enjoyment.

Dispatch from the Trenches #14

First, a story that turned me into a puddle of tears this morning. I love stories of people going above and beyond to serve others. It’s something I try to embody in my work and I love seeing others not only take notice, but share their stories.

To the usher at the Cardinals game who spent two innings finding my son a bottle of milk

What you didn’t know is that beneath my son’s Yadi t-shirt there’s a central line and a feeding tube. You didn’t know that the unusual form and function of his little body mean that he dehydrates easily, but also that drinking too much water could ultimately land us in the hospital, and for whatever reason, against most logic, right now milk is the thing he tolerates best.

NBC’s coverage of the Olympics is religious, not athletic (at least in prime time). No, seriously:

As has been discussed in endless numbers of places, NBC doesn’t do this for its prime time Olympics coverage. It doesn’t emphasize the sport, or even the athletes’ struggles to excel in their sport. Rather, it emphasizes the athletes’ individual struggles with themselves. The point isn’t how to be good at sport X. The point is to overcome the disadvantages of injury or poverty or gender or race or whatever. The competition is moral, not physical.

This makes a lot of sense and I see it the longer I watch the Primetime Olympics coverage especially. I also can’t tell you how many times I heard the entire story, complete with security video of Ryan Lochte and the other three swimmers last night. Every time the official NBC program changed, we were given the entire story. Again.

The Olympics are treated closer to the Real Athletes of America more than Olympians competing in their chosen sports for medals. The sports are secondary to the drama.

✉ Fwd: the heart is a lonely Pokéhunter

This is absolutely worth the read. It’s about dogs, love, loss and Pokémon Go. It was a beautiful story. I saw a lot of myself in the author. I recently worked from home for a week and, if I wasn’t married, would not have left the house. I am a hermit at heart and I’ve also fallen in love with Pokémon Go and had wonderful experiences playing it.

I love watching The Olympics

I love watching the Olympics.

During the 2012 London Summer Games I was on vacation for the first week of competition. Staying at a condo near the beach, my wife and I spent the entire week doing the same thing.

We’d wake up mid-morning and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We’d get dressed and head down to the beach for the day. Once we had enough of the ocean, or if chased off by rain, we’d get dinner and retire to be delighted with amazing feats of athleticism.

Gymnastics has long been my favorite summer event. Just watching the things they can do boggle my mind. I remember watching with a friend long ago when we were kids just saying, Can’t do that! Can’t do that! the entire time.

Each night we laughed and sat with our mouths agape at the feats pulled of by those tiny gymnasts. I remember watching a blind Korean archer set a world record.

I don’t much care what the event is. I will sit and watch it. I watch because I love seeing people perform at the peak of their lives. I am seeing the best. Today alone, I watched a 15-year-old Russian girl dazzle me with her skating.

I watched as Marissa Castelli was dwarfed by her partner Simon Shnapir. Their height different is 14″ and despite only standing 6’4″ looks like a 8 foot giant on the ice. When he threw her into the air, I wasn’t sure if she would ever come down. They had quadruple spin in their program!

I saw cross-country skiers race across the frozen ground and collapse into a pile at the end. Even if you’re at the top of your game, it’s still exhausting.

I’ve enjoyed some of the downhill skiing, marveling at the skiers reaching 80 miles per hours. I am looking forward to the bobsled, luge and skeleton because I like to pretend that sledding is am Olympic event. I am really looking forward to the next two weeks of competitions. I want to laugh and cry and cheer with the athletes.

Despite pulling for Team USA, my favorite part of the games is when an athletes from the host nation is performing. The roar of the crowd is deafening. It has to be the most spectacular feeling of their lives. To be out on the ice or slopes in front of their countrymen. Just as I cheered for the Brits in London, I am pulling for the Russians in Sochi.