On the EDge: I’m glad the conventions are over

OPINION – After two weeks of political conventions, I’m ready for the Olympics, which begin Friday in Brazil.

I’ve been singed more than “berned,” law-and-ordered to death and heard more about religion – or at least how politicians view religion – than I did through many years of catechism classes as a child.

I don’t particularly care much for the boisterous chauvinism that permeates the Olympics. I mean, I can get behind the fans cheering “USA …USA … USA” while the athletes compete – after all, that is the team’s name – but this medal count nonsense is, to borrow one of Vice President Joe Biden’s favorite terms, a bunch of malarkey.

The fact that the U.S. basketball team will probably romp to another gold medal doesn’t mean the United States has any political, military or moral advantage over the rest of the world, a fact we learned when Team USA came home with only a bronze in 2004 after losing to Puerto Rico, Lithuania and Argentina. It just means we have bigger, more talented basketball players than the rest of the world.

So while I am not looking forward to some of that over-the-top, peripheral hoo-hah, I can’t wait to watch 16-year-old Sydney McLaughlin, the youngest U.S. Olympian to compete in track and field since 1972, go for the gold in the 400-meter hurdles. I also look forward to tuning in to some pretty good soccer matches and seeing how many medals swimmer Michael Phelps can add to his record total of 22.

I like the Olympics.

I like the concept of the Olympics, which is for the youth of the world to gather every four years in the spirit of competition and friendship and compete for the sake of competition. I really don’t care how many medals the U.S. wins, how many China wins or whatever. It’s about the competition – the personalities – at least as far as I’m concerned.

It is also about the freshness of young people thrust into this vast arena to test themselves and celebrate their tremendous skills.

There’s a certain poetry to the Summer Olympics.

There’s the artful dance of gymnastics, the pounding rhythm of track and field, the graceful beauty of swimming that appeals to us.

I like the unpredictability of the Olympics.

Somebody always emerges as a fan favorite, and it isn’t always a member of Team USA.

Somebody always exceeds expectations.

Somebody always fails to live up to expectations.

It’s the nature of sports.

I’m not fond of how we watch the Olympics.

NBCUniversal has planned thousands of hours of coverage shared among 11 networks through each day.

Some of what we will see is live, but most will be on delay even though the Summer Games are in Brazil, just an hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

This confusion – and NBC’s insistence on editing and delaying the opening and closing ceremonies – angered a lot of people in 2012, prompting the popularity of the derisive #NBCFail hashtag on Twitter, where viewers went four years ago to vent.

What I liked about the conventions was that I could tune in to C-SPAN for bare, naked coverage.

We didn’t have to deal with condescending analysts talking down to us about what we had just heard or propagandists spinning the events to suit their particular corporate media agenda.

It was live and raw, and it made you feel a part of the proceedings.

I wish there were a way to do that with the Olympics.

Actually, I wish there were a simple guide to watching this year’s Summer Games. With NBC planning thousands of hours of coverage across 11 networks, finding what we want to watch may be as complicated as playing Pokémon Go as we navigate program guides and the internet.

It’s a lot different than the old days when we relied on Jim McKay, who anchored the ABC-TV broadcasts, to tell us what had happened.

So we’ll all have to do our homework to figure out where and when to tune in.

There is a very good chance most of us will know the day’s results before they are broadcast. We will have read about them, seen pictures of the events and be on to the next one before NBC or one of its affiliates actually gets around to showing us how it all went down. But that’s how things go these days.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be poolside when Phelps dives in.

I want to be trackside when McLaughlin comes out of the blocks.

I don’t want to dodge Facebook, Twitter or the internet all day just to avoid hearing the results before watching the competition.

I don’t like the “reality TV” feel of tape-delayed sports. It’s anticlimactic, to the edge of boredom.

Like most everybody else, I’ve grown spoiled by the “news is now” philosophy that fuels the media.

Our news cycles run around the clock these days, and I, for one, don’t like waiting a couple of hours after the event to watch it on television or read about it somewhere. By then it is old news, and nothing stinks more than old news.

So here’s to the familiar faces, the new faces and the joy of youth in this exhibition of sport and sportsmanship.

We’ll be rooting for you all.

That is, if we can figure out which channel to watch.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • BIG GUY August 2, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Ed and I are on the same page about national medals count. While he didn’t mention it, I don’t particularly like raising national flags behind winners on the medal platform while the gold medalist’s national anthem is played. Applaud the athlete, not his/her nationality.

    Unlike Ed, I don’t mind the “thousands” of hours of television coverage: I only watch some minor sports during the Olympics and these athletes deserve recognition for the countless hours they’ve spent training every bit as much as do those in the “major” events.

  • .... August 3, 2016 at 10:05 am

    GO RAIDERS !!! GO LADYBUG !!! ♡♡♡

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