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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Note to Olympics talking heads: It's not about you

  • We'll remember who won gold, not what was said at the moment.
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  • Generally speaking, we feel more comfortable being critical of things that we know a thing or two about. After all, no one wants to go off half-cocked on a topic on which they are for the most part ignorant, right?
    Wrong. The world is full of people who shoot their mouths off when they're misinformed or lacking enough information about a given topic.
    And let me just acknowledge it here, since many of you are probably mumbling to yourselves right now, anyway: I, too, am guilty of getting hyper fingers on my keyboard when I'm spitting out columns and editorials, especially when I'm really worked up about something.
    Scientists like to criticize other scientists, lawyers criticize fellow lawyers. Politicians...need I say more?
    And journalists criticize other journalists. I get a distinct amount of pleasure out of criticizing the media in general for exaggerating or downplaying a given topic because the corporate owners of today's major media outlets have been bought, and it's important that their news divisions, now most likely paired with their entertainment divisions, don't rock the boat. Or, more appropriately, don't squeeze the free-flowing cash spigot shut.
    But picking on NBC's Summer Olympics coverage from London, England, the games of which recently wrapped up, is all fairly lighthearted by comparison. It's mostly poking fun, really, but that's not to say that NBC's coverage of the games isn't deserving of a little ribbing.
    It's a little late in the game to be doing so, I'll agree, especially considering all of the Olympics "winners and losers" columns that have been penned since the moment the stellar closing ceremonies concluded. (Feel free to read "stellar" in your mind with a fair amount of inflection, to convey a certain degree of sarcasm.)
    The "winners" in these columns are typically athletes, or countries that have done well in the medal tally. The "losers," though, have typically been kind of a cop-out on the columnists' part, as they've labeled people who couldn't get tickets to various events as "losers." As we all know, however, 99.99999 percent of the people on the globe who experienced the Summer Olympics in London did so via a television screen, not in person. So, come on, if you're going to call someone a loser, be brave. Call NBC a loser!
    OK, so that's not quite fair. NBC gave us "Seinfeld" after all.
    It's NBC's announcers at the events who dropped the ball, for the same reason that sports announcers typically drop the ball no matter what athletic events they're covering: They tried to make what they had to say as important as the immense Olympic drama unfolding in front of them.
    With so much talk about gold, as in medals, during the London games, why didn't someone ever tell an NBC announcer or commentator that, sometimes, silence is, indeed, golden?
    Page 2 of 2 - When the USA women's gymnastics team won gold, they were supposed to walk out of the arena hand-in-hand. It's a tradition, I guess. The announcer jumped the gun, however, and, after waxing poetic about this and that for a few minutes, said something precious and pretty about the girls walking off for the last time as gold medalists. Trouble is, they weren't ready yet. So, a few minutes later, when they actually were supposed to join hands and walk off, the announcer uttered his supposedly timeless words again, syllable for syllable. Buddy...we don't care about you! Let the girls leave and let us listen to the cheers and see the tears!
    The ex-athletes who provided commentary, when they weren't screaming until going hoarse, also were a bit too pro-USA. When USA women's gymnastics team member McKayla Maroney, apparently the best at the vault in the history of the vault and maybe even in the history of humans, was in the midst of the competition, the commentator said, "everyone knows she's going to win." She landed on her butt after her last vault, however, and didn't win.
    Buddy...let us decide who the overwhelming favorite is, and don't try to predict the unpredictable, especially when a teenager is involved. Oh, and don't turn your pro-USA stance into overt cockiness. And suck on a throat lozenge.
    I suppose it all comes back to that facet of our society occupied by people who insist on making everything about them, no matter how significant that something is, and no matter how much or how little that something actually has to do with them.
    Sometimes it's not about you. Sorry if the truth hurts, but unless it's Al Michaels screaming "Do you believe in miracles?!" at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, we're only going to remember who won the hardware, not what someone said about it.

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