Why We Watch the Winter Olympics


February 25, 2010

Why We Watch the Winter Olympics It?s no wonder the Olympics have made a ratings comeback. Everything else on TV sucks.

Well maybe not everything (thumbs up to management!).

This space recently claimed the Games are a sports fan?s dream — they possess a character sorely lacking from much of professional sports — arguing that they also trump the rest of our viewing options is even easier. Instead of shooting fish in a barrel, it?s like dumping out the barrel and running down the shocked fish with a Toyota.

Before last week, the Rings, particularly the frozen ones, had long ago lost their standing with sensory-overloaded America. Memories of miracles had lessened with the generations, and by the time the torch was lit in Lillehammer and Nagano, we had a lot of other choices to view.

Why the resurgence then? Why now, in the age of collective attention deficit disorder? A hint is found in the ratings spike of live event television as a whole. You see lately, everything that?s not a live event makes us want to punch ourselves in the face.

My friends, it is no secret that TV is dying a slow and gruesome death. Nobody wants to spend any money. Quality has been replaced by … well, Jersey Shore. To paraphrase, we are all dumber for having watched this crap and may God have mercy on our souls.

In addition to the Circus of Snow and Ice, Thursday?s other network options include Survivor and Idol, two former champions that have peaked. Survivor is reaching so badly that we can see stretch marks. Idol is still strong but for how much longer? ABC is trotting out The Deep End, beating the dead horse that is the ?sexy? law drama with a jackhammer.

Flipping further down the dial, the menu includes a biography of Guns and Roses, an expose on Walmart, and Spongebob ,with his new, weird voice (Please, someone tell me what happened to his freaking voice!).

We?ll save you a lot of time by sharing what will be on the 24-hour newsies tonight, tomorrow and forever: Some dude/woman with waxed eyebrows will loft everyone who agrees with them to sainthood while treating all who disagree as Lenny and Squiggy. Five minutes will make you want to move to Canada.

Which is where Thursday night we will find Joannie Rochette skating for a medal hours after her mother?s death. It?s where a Dutch speedskating coach sabotaged his career and took years of his life because of a fractional moment of confusion. And it?s where we felt an awkward tension in our bones when a bewildered Julia Mancuso stood over a fallen Lindsey Vonn, wondering how her rival could submarine both of their golden dreams.

These games are up 20 percent from Torino. Experts point to the benefits of the Pacific time zone, or the peer pressure to keep up with social networking gab. They are wrong. TV has driven us back to the Olympics. Every night at 8 p.m., there are emotions we get to feel in watching these games that can be found nowhere else.

Save for maybe a certain sports network. With great looking management. They?re great. Thumbs up. Please don?t fire me.

Previous Article

Robert Kraft Responds to Randy Moss’ Comments

Next Article

Red Sox Unveil Look of Future Spring Training Facility

Picked For You