a few random thoughts on the Games of the 28th Olympiad by an underemployed
- I love Greece and I’ve experienced nothing but goodwill in my travels
around the country, but on TV the Greeks don’t come off as terribly good
sports, particularly the ones chucking water bottles at the Egyptian boxer.
- Kosuke Kitajima, winner of the 100m and 200m breastroke, is a dead ringer
for the Powerpuff Girls’ nemesis, Mojo Jojo.
- I played water polo for over a decade, but I haven’t enjoyed the Olympic
matches. Every team’s offense is stagnant and relies on ejections
to create scoring opportunities. The defenses are too good and the
offenses mostly unimaginative. I’ve developed a couple of innovative
offensive sets, designed to open up the game (I won’t go into the details
here because they’re a bit technical). I call one of them “Doughnut
Fence” and the other “Banana Piping.” I forgot to mention that I think
water polo needs more colorful phrases, along the lines of “suicide squeeze”
or “double laid-out Sukahara.”
- This statement made me happy: “If you are looking for a favorite
name here in the individual time trial, don’t look very much further than
- Field hockey sticks are unsatisfying, but perhaps I’m just biased because
seeing them makes me relive the trouncing that I took when my high school
soccer team scrimmaged our women’s field hockey squad.
- Jason Whitlock, in a column on ESPN.com, writes that Americans rooting
against the US men’s basketball team are “borderline racist,” particularly
if the criticism comes from so-called patriots. The team is a bit
of an embarrassment on the court, but at least they wanted to play.
However, I wish there was a way to root for AI and against Larry Brown,
who I stopped supporting when I read that he used to call Darryl Dawkins
“Kiddo,” as in, “Pass the ball out of the double-team, Kiddo.” When
a guy has a nickname like Dr. Dunkenstein—not to mention a few even better
x-rated monikers—you just can’t call him “Kiddo.”
- It was a touching moment when Lt. Frank Drebin hugged Yao Ming after
China advanced to the basketball quarterfinals.
- When talking about table tennis, I like to call it ping pong. I
think it’s the same impulse that drives dog show people to constantly say
- If dressage is on Bravo and rowing is on NBC, which do you watch?
I like prancy horses, so it’s a no-brainer for me.
- I’m fond of Mary Carillo and her bad jokes. “And now, back to the
- The announcers like to call the horses “the largest athletes in the Games,”
but apparently, they are considered equipment. Pfffwwwww.
- Gymnastics announcer Tim Daggett spreads sunshine and joy, which Al Trautwig
sucks up with his overblown, insincere, US-centric blathering. This
condemnation is not strong enough for my wife, who has also “suffered through
his ruination” of her favorite figure skating competitions over the years.
- I’m a sucker for elaborate multi-sport competitions with complex scoring
systems, so I reveled in the modern pentathlon coverage. I particularly
liked the fencing, where everyone in the competition squares off against
one another. Also, the start for the final event—the 3km run—is staggered,
so the winner of the pentathlon is the first to cross the finish line.
- I’d like to see more athalons, such as a Netty Quadrathalon, with tennis,
beach volleyball, badminton and ping pong. I also wouldn’t mind a
super-tournament after the Olympics that pits all of the team-sport gold
medal winners in a multi-sport round robin format. It would be an
Olympic-style answer to the age-old “what wins” questions, like, “What wins
in a fight between an emu and 700 hummingbirds?” (Hummingbirds, in
a rout.) If Team USA wins the basketball, I think they’d be fairly
strong at team handball and water polo, and good at volleyball—if Marbury
can learn to set. They may be a little tall for field hockey and soccer,
but could make up for it with a strong showing in baseball. If it
came to that, I think even the borderline racists would cheer for them.
Jeff Lewis, 2004