High (five) times at the ballyard
Just got done chronicling the last of Canada’s softball team’s games, a tough 5-3 loss to the Aussies and it means I’ve likely seen my last softball game for, oh, I dunno, ever.
With the sport out of London in 2012, it’ll be at least 2016 before it’s back at the Olympics and I’m not sure at the ripe old age I’ll have attained by then that softball will be on my to-do list. Might be, but maybe not.
Anyway, an observation:
There is far too much high-fiving and meeting in softball. They huddle and high-five before going on the field to start a half inning. They huddle and high-five coming off the field after a half inning. Pitcher completes warm-ups? Yup, high fives. And all of ‘em seem scripted.
A friend explained that it’s team building and supporting each other and all that kumbaya-ish psychobabble but to me, it’s too, too much. Rant over.
And my two cents?
Softball has to get back in the Olympics.
I know it’s not a really “global” game and that might be an issue but I don’t imagine there are a lot of BMXers in, say, Africa.
It’s a women’s team sport played with no hint of scandal ever and if the IOC isn’t a bunch of dolts (oh, wait, it is) the game should be contested in 2016.
You know that these Olympics force a lot of writers to cover stuff they don’t usually cover (I hadn’t seen archery or water polo before getting here) so the utter confusion was understandable, if quite funny, in the press room at the softball semis this morning.
A couple of American scribes, right up on a tight deadline back home, were quite mystified by the silly rule that lets teams put a runner on second base to begin any extra inning.
It took about three of us to figure out what was going on, with the two deadline scribblers shouting out questions while typing their stories.
You know what’s stupid?
Classification games in team tournaments at the Olympics are stupid.
Our water poloists, for instance, haven’t won a game, haven’t play well at all but still have to drag themselves to the pool to face Greece or China in a game to determine 11th and 12th places.
That’d be in a 12-team tournament. Glory to the 12th place squad.
Basketball used to do it, too.
I remember sitting in a practically vacant Georgia Dome in Atlanta on the Sunday morning of the closing ceremonies watching a women’s basketball game to determine whether Canada or Zaire finished dead last in the field.
Only thing that made it worthwhile was hanging with a couple of American basketball writers who made it a point at every Games to see the last-place games in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. Masochists.
So, the secret of the Red thing is out.
Honestly, though, I didn’t know who it was, I just sorta noticed Red over Blue, Green and whatever the other colour is. But it’s nice to know I can pick ‘em.
You know what this place needs?
A late-night spot for us grunts to hang at the end of a long, long.
The roof bar here closes at 12, the restaurant in the village doesn’t have beer and the store closes before we get home almost every night.
It’s not so much the booze, actually, it’s the unwinding.
Every Games I’ve been to, there’s been a 24-hour spot where you could get a cold beer or two, a story or two from the inevitably large group of Canadians gathered there and it was the decompression point of the Games. Sucks that there isn’t one now.
Dipping into the mail:
Hey Dougie, I have an Olympic 101 Question for you. Who wins the Olympics? Is it the team with the most gold medals or the team with the most overall medals. I ask this cause on some site it puts China in first place while other site have put US in first place. Who were the past winners and has Canada ever won or been in the top 3??
George K, Toronto
A: Good question, and I think it depends on whether you ask the Chinese or the Americans. As it stands now, as I type this, China leads in the gold medals, the Americans have won more overall and the official list here in the Beijing computer system has China listed first (that may be hometown scoring but I seem to recall that being the case in other Olympics). To me? It’s the golds that count and should determine who wins.
And, no, Canada’s never been in the top three and they’ll be looking at top 16 here.
Not sure what you’re seeing on TV back there but there can be some confusing moments over here where we get no sound on any of the sets.
The IOC’s decision to only use country abbreviations on the little ‘bug’ that tells the score of games in the top corner of the screen can cause some confusion.
A neophyte was watching the women’s tennis final and saw Russia playing Russia and unless you sat down and watched for a few minutes, you couldn’t get a score in an instant, which is why they have the technology, my learned TV friends tell me.
We’ve see CHN-CHN in table tennis, too.
They got ‘em everywhere. Gawkers, that is.
Just pulled up at the basketball gym in a full bus and we passed the players’ entrance about 35 minutes after China’s run ended with a loss to Lithuania.
And the place was packed with a couple of hundred fans wanting to catch a glimpse of the team bus as it pulled out.
Memo to gawkers: Yao’s the tall one and the bus isn’t going to stop.
US-Australia about tip off. Take the States, give the 20 points.