DRAMA? WHAT DRAMA? TV'S OVERKILL BOUND TO RUIN OLYMPICS.
I don't hate the Olympics. I hate watching the Olympics. But I'll be glued to my television set for the next two weeks slowly losing my mind. Because I have no choice. None of us do.
This is literally Must See TV. If I don't watch the Olympics, I'll be the oddball at the water cooler who doesn't know the heart-warming story of the gutsy gymnast with the broken clavicle who won the bronze medal. If I don't watch, I won't be able to share with my friends the story of the gutsy polo team from the little gutsy island nation of Wannamedal who sold coconuts door-to-door to buy their gutsy plane tickets to Australia.
Presidential election debates? Not during the Olympics! Want to see an important program about adolescent drug use in your hometown? Not during the Olympics! Your house is burning and the fire department would like you to step outside for a few moments while they douse the flames? Not during the Olympics, darn it!
I've already watched the Olympic trials. I'm burned out - and the main event hasn't even started yet. I don't know how many more prepubescent, muscle-bound, bulimic girls I can watch run across a carpet and throw themselves into the air. If I see one more javelin throw, I may, too. And archery - now there is a spectator sport. It's almost as exciting as watching bowling, which is probably another Olympic sport we're supposed to watch this fortnight.
Did you know there is a movement afoot to add ballroom dancing to the long list of the things you can get people to give you a medal for doing? And I say, why not? When they made baseball an Olympic sport - baseball! A sport I love, but one which even the most avid fan must confess consists mostly of standing around waiting for somebody else to do something - when baseball became an Olympic event, I think we passed some sort of common-sense barrier.
I used to love watching the Olympics - back when they were in black and white and I could see the entire thing on a Sunday afternoon; when I saw most of the sports only once every four years and the winners always seemed to come from countries the size of my back yard. That was when the Olympics were fun to watch.
Now, it's a marathon. And, since I brought it up, when I think of the mathematics and money involved in designing and launching a rocket into the exact Earth orbit so that a satellite may achieve the precise position to beam pictures into my living room of people running, not jumping over anything or chasing anybody or going anywhere in particular, just running - I think the entire situation is just nuts.
Don't worry. I'm not losing my mind. I'm just getting ready to lose my mind. Because at some point in the next two weeks, some commentator is going to make for the 52nd time the observation, ``Boy, he is one gutsy volleyball player,'' and I'm going to jam my TV remote control against my temple and put myself on permanent fast forward.
I blame television for destroying the joy of watching the Olympics on television. No, that's not quite true. Nick At Night is not to blame. I blame NBC. They are going to shove it down our throats on three separate channels for twenty-four hours a day for two straight weeks - and local sportscaster Fred Roggin in his own special Olympics Special.
I like Roggin. I think he's funny, and he knows how to read aloud very nicely, but the whole appeal of the Olympics is that they are special. And with Fred in Australia, the Olympics might as well be another Lakers game.
And there will be another Lakers game at the Olympics; suddenly the entire NBA qualifies as amateurs.
About the only Olympic amateur sport left is boxing, and that's only because no professional wants to get beat up for free.
Well, maybe somehow, some moment of honesty and real drama will manage to survive the hype and make it on the air and not be swamped by the ocean of gutsy images and gutsy stories. And if it does, I want to see it and be able to say, ``Did you see that? It was wonderful.''
So I'll be watching.
And so will you.
Photo: (1) U.S. gymnast Dominique Dawes practices her floor routine Thursday at the Superdome in Sydney, Australia.
Ed Reinke/Associated Press
(2) U.S. Olympic tennis player Lindsey Davenport marches into the opening ceremony Friday with other members of the U.S. Olympic team.
Amy Sancetta/Associated Press
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Sep 17, 2000|
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