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Thursday, March 4, 2010

WINTER OLYMPICS

WINTER OLYMPICS

Every year I grandly profess that I am not at all interested in the Olympics, and every year I watch them anyway. I get sucked in by the pageantry, the civic pride, the fact that “Dog the Bounty Hunter” is in reruns.

If Watching Paint Dry were an Olympic sport it would still be more engaging than Cross Country Skiing. Cross Country Skiing should be held in Lichtenstein, where it would be over a lot faster- you basically cross the parkway and you’re in Austria. Speed Skating is just as dull. The Short Track Speed Skating event seems a little like Roller Derby, where they elbow each other out of the way and no one seems to mind.

They have a race called the “Combined,” but it’s just a combination of two ski races. I would like to see a new brand of “Combined.” I want to see them run the speed skating event at the same time as a hockey game. THAT would be interesting. Or what about combining Ice Dancing with “What Not to Wear?” That’s the show where this really hot weird-looking gal and a guy who looks a little like Ralph Malph come to your home, open your closet and throw everything in it away. Then they replace your wardrobe with uglier clothes, but they fit better. Then they cut your hair really short and coerce you to say that you like it, and cover up your pimples with concealer. Skating stars are the most glittered, ruffled, tassled, sequined, eye-shadowed athletes in the village, and the women are no better. If they go through an Ice Dancer’s closet, and throw away the outfit with the snakes, the clown suit, the Romeo and Juliet costume, and the aboriginal getup, what will be left? Only the Ice Dancer himself and an empty “Bedazzler.” I dare any female Ice Dancer to have the guts to take the ice wearing an Ann Taylor suit and glasses.

Liven up the Downhill? How about all downhill skiers have to first drink a 6-pack of Heinekens? THAT my friends is sports. The snowboarders already look like they have smoked a couple joints together before the event.

I tried to find out the difference between a luge and a skeleton. Apparently a skeleton is the same as a luge, only the guy gets on it face forward, so he can see his own death approaching faster, and presumably get his affairs in order. It used to be that the bobsled looked a little like a Buick Skylark, and they sent it down the track with four guys in it. Now it’s just one guy on top of a little mechanic’s creeper flying down the track head first. Why don’t they just drop the guy out of an airplane without a parachute, and if he lives, give him a gold medal?

I feel a little sorry for Canada, who mounted this big government-sponsored push to “Own the Podium.” (The Olympics are in Canada, and they DO own the podium, unless they only rented it.) So far the Americans have the most medals, but I think they are counting bronze stars, purple hearts and a few Grammy Awards.

The American Curling teams didn’t do so well. If we wanted a great Curling team, we would have sent Paris Hilton- her hair always looks GREAT.

I enjoy watching Olympic Hockey for some reason, since I avoid hockey in general during the regular NHL season. Any sport where you can play 2 hours or so to a zero-zero tie is not for me (and that includes soccer: BORING). And hockey is even weirder because every three minutes or so, someone starts a fight- it’s almost like the game takes place at a bar. One guy grabs the shoulder of the other guy with one hand, and hits him in the head with the other hand. The other guy has to do the same thing, otherwise you would hit him once and he would slide backwards across the ice the length of the rink, and he would have to skate all the way back in order to get hit in the head again. These hockey fights work out much better if one guy is right-handed and one guy is left-handed. Otherwise they both hit each others’ fists, and it looks even dumber. Hockey fights are by far the stupidest fights; basketball fights are usually the best, although they have made the rules so strict you rarely see a good one anymore. Football fights are dopey because you hit the guy as hard as you can, but he is wearing about 15 pounds of plastic and Kevlar, and you usually fracture a bone in your hand. Baseball fights are laughable- the pitcher brushes back a guy who has already been brushed back 3 times in the series (usually the best player, who makes the most money and the one least likely to actually fight). He charges the mound, and the pitcher then fires his glove at him, and misses. The player finally reaches the mound, and swings at the pitcher, and misses. This is a guy who can hit a baseball traveling 100 mph with a little stick while people are shouting “YOU’RE A COCKSUCKER,” but he can’t hit a pitcher’s big fat face with his fist. By this time both benches have emptied, and the bullpens are running REALLY slowly towards the meelee. Every man from each team is now a potential contestant, fighting he knows not whom nor why. The guys in the bullpen didn’t even see what happened, but they trot over anyway. Little mini-brawls break out, with guys assuming a “put-up-your-dukes” old-fashioned-type pose, looking for someone scrawny. The only one ever injured is the first base coach, who takes an elbow to the jaw while trying to pull away a starter who makes 15 million dollars a year. Then the fight ends and it takes about 15 minutes for everyone to find their own mitts.

Anyway Olympic Hockey has less of that, but it’s still not like the old days where the US Olympic Hockey team full of young kids from college would take on a Russian or Swedish team with players who had not one tooth left. That was fun.


Incidentally, there were several demonstration events this year. One demo sport that debuted in the 1992 Albertville Olympics was Speed Skiing, a competition where the contestants ski in a straight line as fast as they can, presumably high on amphetamines. The current world record is held by Italian skier Simone Origone at about 156 MPH. This is actually faster than if you freefell from an airplane in the belly-flop position. The course is one kilometer long, which, based on my pretty good knowledge of the metric system, is about 23 inches. The hill is about a 60 degree incline and lets out onto the L.I.E.


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