Forget racewalking and synchronized swimming; Olympics needs tug-of-war!
by Justin McGill, General Manager -- jmcgill@cadizrecord.com
Aug 15, 2012 | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I feel like I should always be excited for the Olympic Games. Most times, I even convince myself that I actually am excited.

I watch for the first few days, catching up on sports – or “sports” – I rarely get the chance to see. And a few of them are actually interesting for more than a few minutes.

Most, however, aren’t.

Some, as I hinted at earlier, are more “sports” than sports.

Let’s hit a few that I actually enjoy watching.

– Volleyball, indoor and beach. I’ve always enjoyed volleyball. It’s one of those sports that a large number of people can play without really knowing how.

I’m not disparaging the sport. I’m just remembering how many volleyball games we played in the yard of Cerulean Baptist Church growing up. At times, there’d be so many people out there that you couldn’t even really play. Avoiding teammates was as much a challenge as getting the ball back over the net.

It’s accessible, which makes it more entertaining when played at the highest level. To me, at least.

– Table tennis. Again, another sport that most anyone can play, even if only a few play it well. Watching it played by the best in the world, however, is an experience. The speed of the game is almost too fast to be believed.

– Fencing. Here’s one I could never do. This one may interest me more because of the excited reactions of the combatants whenever they score a point. This year, I saw at least one who stopped just short of an endzone dance.

Of course, a real challenge in fencing would be to do it without all the safety precautions. Of course, I suppose there could really only be one winner in that setup.

Now, for the “sports.”

– Synchronized swimming. The greatest thing to ever come out of this “sport” is a mid-1980s Saturday Night Live skit featuring Martin Short, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer. I’m sorry, but anything that looks that goofy cannot be a sport.

– Racewalking. Again, it just looks goofy.

“OK, let’s see who can walk the fastest while resisting the urge to actually run.”

No, thanks.

How about sports – and, again, “sports” – that have been discontinued?

– Baseball. It makes sense that baseball is no longer an Olympic sport. The Summer Games are held in August during the second half of the Major League Baseball season. Makes no sense to allow professionals in Olympic basketball if you can’t get the pros for baseball. Now, if basketball ever returns to amateurs for the Olympics, maybe we get baseball back, too.

– Tug-of-war. Yes, your favorite grade-school recess activity was part of the Olympics six times, with the last coming in 1920. So let’s bring it back in 2020! ‘Cause who doesn’t love 100-year anniversaries?

As for media coverage of the Olympics, we’re all at the mercy of NBC. Hopefully, starting with the Winter Games in 2014, we’ll have better access to everything we want to see from the Olympics rather than so many tape-delayed primetime events.

Of course, many more live events are available on other NBC Universal-owned networks throughout the games, so mabe they need to just do a better job of advertising that.

And maybe, just maybe, that will make the Olympics interesting enough for me to watch them all the way through.

That, and tug-of-war. And maybe dodgeball.

Justin McGill is executive editor of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at jmcgill@cadizrecord.com.
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