Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Improve Olympic Ratings: Just Add Shooting

Here’s how I like to spend my winters waiting for the equipment truck to pull out of Fenway and fly south: I like to strap on a pair of cross country skis, sling a rifle over my back and trek across town shooting at paper targets. I know, except for the skiing and the work involved there, it sounds fun, right?

Mesmerizing as they may be, the Winter Olympics sure can dream up the craziest fukkin events and call them sports. The biathlon is most intriguing to me over any of the other snow events. Certainly not because of its excitement or watchability (is that a word?) – the biathlon is a yawner worthy of a full bottle of Ambian. No, I am intrigued by the event because it just seems to me that someone a long time ago looked at cross country skiing and thought to themselves: “I know what this sport needs – GUNS!” I say let’s take that theory to the other events. Give the front man of the bobsled teams a shotgun and he must knock over a certain number of moose and bear targets on the way down the track. Or let’s turn ski jumping into paintball skeet shooting where athletes from other countries try to cover the flying skier with as much paint as possible before landing. Now you’re talking ratings!!!

With no disrespect intended toward the Georgian luger who tragically lost his life in Vancouver (I am just satirizing here and I really do respect the risk of the ride), the danger/thrill of the sledding events palls in comparison to the real sledding that we as kids would partake in every winter. Bobsledding, luge, skeleton: All are sleds with razor sharp blades flying down a man made track at speeds close to 100mph. At first glance, these events look like some crazy ass shit that would take balls the size of curling stones to even attempt. But this is a man made track with turns and walls that direct the sleds and their helmeted riders to the finish line. Some people like to think that these sliders are the risk takers of the Winter Games. I say fuck that! If you want a true thrill-seeking winter event, lose the helmet; sit your over-sized snow pants down at the top of Christian Street on an aluminum saucer that is only slightly larger than a wok and with nothing to steer with except two handles and a prayer. Throw in parked cars on both sides for this helmetless ride into oncoming traffic and now you are talking an event worthy of gold medals!

And then there is curling. I don’t understand this game, but isn’t it just cornhole on ice, where the drunks with PBR singing Bocephus songs are replaced with skips yelling at the dudes with brooms. Yet I have several friends who are captivated by curling. You have seen this – the “skip” slides a big rock along the ice while two teammates sweep along the path like ADHD housekeepers on Red Bull until the rock reaches its destination, hopefully somewhere near the big red bullseye. I have no fukking idea what the brooms do, but those in the know tell me that it helps direct the path of the stone. HOW??? Are they sweeping so friggin fast that the ice melts? Are they creating snowbanks that act like the inflatable bumpers in a bowling alley? With apologies to my easily amused friends, I cannot be captivated by this snoozefest. However, if there was a way to incorporate guns, I may watch.

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