The Winter Olympics are coming, and I am excited for everything about them except one aspect: enduring the painful NBC coverage. Please, NBC, show us more sports, less soap operas, and do less editorializing where you try and tell us what you’re certain the competitor is thinking.
Tonight I’m watching the X-Games and I can’t help but think, What if the X Games announcers could call the Olympics?
What a different two weeks that would be!
Although they use terminology I am completely unfamiliar with (tonight I’ve learned double-mute and McTwist) and I sometimes suspect they’re inventing the vocab as they go (degrees of corkage?), the X Games announcers LOVE the sports and their passion is completely contagious. They make me excited about things I hadn’t known I was excited about, and they don’t feel the self-conscious need to talk over every second of the event. They cheer for every athlete and while being clear on what will and won’t win medals, they hardly ever are negative about a competitor.
When an athlete (a top athlete who has qualified for the event he/she is competing in) wipes out, makes a mistake, trips, breaks an arm, messes up, the X Games announcers applaud the athlete just the same. They might say: “Tough break, dude! But man, way to leave it all on the field. He was just trying to take it to the next level. That was awesome.” The NBC announcers might say: “Stunning. We can only assume he’s thinking right now of his dead father, and how much this would have meant to him. This is a tragedy.”
I just went to the NBC Olympics site and from the tabs of sports, clicked on curling (learned this sport from a Canadian friend a couple years ago). Five stories about curling then appeared for me to choose: one on how there’s going to be a Simpsons episode about the Olympics, one about how an NFL player on the 49ers really likes curling, one about how a guy on the US curling team has been on a reality show, and then, oh, two about the curling team.
As I type this, the X Games hosts just gave a shout-out to the judges and the TV production crew for what a great job they’ve been doing. I’ve just watched at least fifteen minutes of constant “big air” skiing— no commercials, no time devoted to lengthy twisted-to-induce-emotion backstories— I’ve been watching SPORTS. Thank you, X Games.