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Going For The Tin

22 February 2018 Views From The Booth Sports

Greetings from The Booth!

If we’re talkin’ baseball in February, it’s usually about Spring Training in Florida or Arizona. But this week we had an 82-degree day as the nationally-ranked Shenandoah Hornets kicked off their 2018 season with a pair of wins, including a 2-hit shutout from 2017 ODAC Pitcher of the Year Colin Morse.  Play Ball!

As we transition into Spring sports at SU, the Hornet women’s basketball team is still alive as the prepare for a quarterfinal matchup against top-seed Emory & Henry in the ODAC tournament.  It will not be an easy task, but as I’ve said, when the ladies are firing on all cylinders, they are a “tough out.” Here’s to catching lightning in a bottle and winning 3 games at the Salem Civic Center!

To the Winter Olympics, where some “late foot” by the Americans is ruining this week’s blog post somewhat.  Since the muses visited me several nights ago, the USA Women’s Hockey team has won gold with a thrilling shootout win over Canada, and the American women have also won gold in the cross-country team freestyle event  (a sport usually dominated by nations like Sweden and Norway). And, of course, this week skier Lindsey Vonn, in what will be surely be her last Olympic Games, managed to grab a podium spot.

Not to mention the USA Men’s Curling Team, comprised of guys who look like they should be at a barbeque with a cold one in hand, who now have a chance at a medal after winning 3 straight games.  I find myself rushing home in the afternoon this week to cheer them on and follow their fate.

Until this week, there have been lots of 4th place finishes (and lower) for the USA. There is, of course, only Gold, Silver, and Bronze to be won, but if there were a “Tin” medal , we would be leading the medal race.

There is a definite disconnect between these Winter Olympic Games and our desire to watch.  NBC, the network covering the games, has been losing the ratings war, something usually unheard of for a network carrying the Olympics. This has been a topic of discussion this week, and I have my own ideas.

The time difference: I feel like we’ve gone back into the old days of “Wide World of Sports” with these Olympics. Because of the 14-hour difference between the USA and South Korea, I don’t know if I’m watching an event live or on replay.  We live in an age of instant information, so most of us don’t want to watch an event in which we already know the result.  The USA Women’s Hockey gold medal win over Canada didn’t start until after 11pm, well after most people went to bed on the East coast.  I’m not sure how many will watch the replay.

The coverage itself:  NBC has taken some criticism for it’s coverage of the Winter Games.  Katie Couric was taken to task for her generalization of why Dutch speed skaters are so dominant, while Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir ramble on during figure-skating routines (let the images & the music do the talking). But for me, the issue is knowing the athletes. ABC used to do an amazing job back in the day with it’s human-interest features, something lacking a bit in these Games.

Nationalism:  This is something that’s not supposed to be an issue in the Olympics. So why show medal counts? But we love our country and want our athletes to do well.  It’s my opinion that the underwhelming performances last week have contributed to the disinterest.

Identifying with the events: Let’s face it, not many of us dabble in figure skating or cross-country skiing.  I’m not really sure where my nearest Curling center is.  But I can run through my neighborhood, use a high-school track, or find a basketball court. That’s why I think we identify more with the Summer Games than the Winter Games.

Here’s my answer: give us Olympic Snowball Fighting. We can all identify with that. Each team builds a snow fort and throws snowballs with computer chips that record hits and misses. I would watch that any time of day, and I think we could field a pretty good team.  Scut Farkas, who threw a pretty mean snowball in “A Christmas Story”, and Will Ferrell’s “Elf” character would certainly bring home the Gold in the team event.

Enjoy the rest of the Games, and until next visit,












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