Monday, October 13, 2008

Olympics vs anything else on TV


Is it only I who thinks the world has gone mad? Is nothing sacred? The Summer Olympics are on TV as I type these words, and a fellow crew member of this rusty tug boat I am working on, has perched himself in front of the TV and he is watching some 2nd rate local low level boxing match that is being broadcast out of Puerto Rico. Are you kidding me?
Michael Phelps is just minutes away from trying to set an Olympic record by winning 8 gold medals in a single Olympic s, and our only TV is being dominated by some frustrated boxing wannabe watching 2 no name fighters duke it out in some ½ empty arena outside of San Juan.
I mentioned to my amigo who is glued to the set like it was an Ali-Frazier fight, that the Olympics are on and his response was a shrug of the shoulders and a “first come- first serve” smart remark. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t.
I immediately went to my phone, which magically can connect me to the internet, and I found out Mr. Phelps did indeed make history by winning his 8th gold medal in these Games. The difference between watching the competition on a 36” screen and getting the latest update on my 2” phone screen is dramatic. It just wasn’t the same.
If I were fortunate enough to have been home during these games, it wouldn’t be hard to find me, because for 2 weeks, from the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies, I would have been glued to the set. Not only would I enjoy watching the track and swimming stars, I would have been familiar by the end of the games with Angola’s fencing team and the names of Brazil’s beach volleyball team. I wouldn’t have missed 1 tumble of the Ukrainian gymnastics team or one pull of the Canadian sculling team. I love it all.
I actually thought that everyone just stopped what they were doing for 2 weeks to enjoy this amateur competition, I know I always do. We only get to enjoy these games every four years, so do we really have to watch a boxing match between 2 guys who have regular day jobs?
I was listening to the Chief Mate on board complain that he is sick of hearing about Michael Phelps. He said his picture is on every sports web page he goes to. With good reason! He is only the best swimmer ever to put on a Speedo. What he has done warrants his picture to be in the news for a week or so. When the Olympics shut down in a few days for a 4 year siesta, you won’t hear the name Michael Phelps any more.
A tug boat is like a mini melting pot. People from all over the country get together for 3 weeks to do a job. Once in a while I realize how different we all are, and I wonder how we do manage to work together. Some guys are sick of hearing of Phelps.
I haven’t heard enough.

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