Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vancouver Made Less European and Snowy

In just two days, the day we've all eagerly been waiting for will finally arrive, and will arrive with a fury like no other. The sense of anticipation and nervous energy that you'll feel on that day is the direct result of the Games of the XXI Winter Olympiad roaring into your home Friday night. And who can't get excited about hordes of white people competing in events in which something like 3% of the world has any experience in either playing or just watching? For me, if I don't get to see any of the Giant Slalom, YOU DO NOT WANT KNOW ME THE NEXT DAY. PISSED WILL BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT.

But, for those of you who will make an effort to watch two weeks worth of events that could easily be completed in about six and a half hours, I'll attempt to help you get through the confusion of tights, spandex, sequins, snow covering 100% of everything and a plethora of names filled with consonants and very few vowels, by comparing some of the events (I can't believe there are actually more than like five events in this thing) with college football teams in the SEC. Hopefully, this will help you identify which events you would enjoy watching, hate watching or at the very least understand a little more. And then grow to hate.

In no particular order, starting with the East (so, I guess there is some order):

Downhill - Florida
Considered one of the premiere events in the Winter Olympics, the Downhill involves frightening speeds achieved by highly skilled people with the most recognizable names in the Olympics. This event is also the most highly promoted and takes on an air of superiority, despite being one of many events that takes place on skis.

Cross-Country Skiing - Vanderbilt
I've been skiing three or four times in my life and without a doubt the single worst part about skiing (other than getting all those ski clothes on, which is almost reason alone not to go skiing) is when you reach the bottom of a run and are faced with flat earth. There, gravity is no longer your friend and you have to pull yourself with your arms and legs a stupidly long distance to get over to the lift so you can go back up the mountain. IT IS INHUMANE. The burn running through your arms and legs from doing this should never happen on a vacation. Unless you like vacationing in a gym. And that's why I prefer the beach. On the beach, I can sit my fat ass in a chair and drink and eat things that make it fatter and lazier. No pain is involved.

Anyway, that crap you have to do to get to the lift, that's what cross-country skiing is. Except instead of doing it for 25 yards, you do it for miles at a time. It's the worst idea I've ever heard. I would almost rather burn alive than cross-country ski, which is essentially a slow death also. And that's what Vanderbilt is. A slow death that's boring to watch and miserably uninteresting. Do not watch this event.

Ski Jumping - South Carolina
The idea of watching someone fly like half a mile through the air is pretty cool on the surface until you actually watch ski jumping. It's essentially a parade of really short guys from Nordic countries and Austria landing in the same spot over and over again. No one really stands out. I have no evidence to back this up, but I'm pretty sure the difference between first place and last place is two feet. And so it is with South Carolina. So much promise, but it's the same team over and over and over and over again. But without really short people from Norway.

Biathlon - Kentucky
The Biathlon is one degree more exciting than cross-country skiing because the participants get to carry guns. The same boring cross-country stuff is taking place, but periodically the participants stop to shoot at a target. While not riveting, it certainly helps break the monotony of the woosh-woosh sound that no one finds compelling and rich.

Figure Skating - Georgia
Lots of finesse, gaudiness, emphasis on outfits and prancing. There's always a lot of hype surrounding the figure skating events. Ultimately though, it's miserable to watch because there's only a certain number of times a human being can watch tip-toeing and jumping around to Chicago songs.

Curling - Tennessee
With the arrival of Derrick Dooley, no one has a feel for what Tennessee will be like until next season. So, much like curling, we have no idea as to what's going on. People are moving around and engaging in some type of activity, but confusion rules the day.

Super-G - Alabama
One of the downhill specialties that involves both speed and agility. While not as fast as the pure downhill, the Super-G requires a great deal of movement and an ability to adapt to the course, as racers are not permitted practice runs before the actual competition (and yes, it sickens me that I had to look up and learn all this about the Winter Olympics). They may inspect the course before barreling down the mountain, but they don't get to experience it until the event starts, which makes it much more challenging. It doesn't receive all the glamor the Downhill gets, but those who live to tell the tale of this event are much more rounded skiers.

Skeleton - LSU
The Skeleton is like the bobsled except instead of your feet leading the way down, YOUR FACE DOES, which is exactly the way Les Miles would get down a mountain. Unconventional, yes. Crazy, indeed. But it can get the job done, assuming one's face doesn't meet the mountain and leave its contents there. I think most rational people would tell you that this is something you should never try unless you travel between our universe and the one only you inhabit.

Short Track Speed Skating - Auburn
Short, exciting bursts of movement that can be highly enjoyable to watch at times. Of course, the only problem with this variety of speed skating is that if one guy goes down, he wipes out everyone and then the race sort of sucks. Well, not quite. It's pretty awesome when it does happen. NOW NO ONE CAN GET A GOLD MEDAL. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. So when one guy inevitably wipes out the pack in these games, just call him Chris Todd.

Snowboarding - Ole Miss
With the snowboarding events, there's a always a chance for something really cool to happen, total disaster to take place or more guys boringly completing jumps that no one has ever heard of (The Inverted-Double Helix-Banshee-Firefly-1080-Cross-Over is one of my favorites). And so it goes with Houston Nutt. There's always the possibility that he can do something that will blow your mind (a variety of 5+ overtime games and crazy upsets), create an unexpected disaster (2009 Egg Bowl) or leave everyone unfulfilled (9-4 in 2009). It's what he does, pure exhilarating terror. And who doesn't need that jolt of life every Saturday? MY PERSONAL HEALTH, THAT'S WHO.

Freestyle Skiing - Arkansas
At times, dazzling to the eye with all the explosive maneuvers that are somehow kept under control. And it's also exciting because if the participants make a mistake, they find themselves completely defenseless as gravity reclaims its subject.

Ice Hockey - Mississippi State
Everyone knows what they're getting with hockey. It's fairly boring to watch (and don't forget hard to watch), but has a few bursts of activity that are enjoyable. These bursts do not make you want to watch or become invested in it, but if condensed into a 20 second highlight package, you can handle that.

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