Of wrestling and Mardi Gras and a writer's greatest gig
Lots of little things today after a nice, slow Monday.
Sometimes I just don’t get the IOC.
Actually, I rarely get the IOC because it strikes me as a good old rich boys club as much concerned with lining its own pockets rather than putting the interests of athletes first.
That’s a rant for another day but news this morning that they’re going to drop wrestling from the Summer Olympics program after the 2016 Games tells you just about all you want to know where the folks who run that organization are going.
It’s a TV show more than a sports event, it’s silly sports that translate well into broadcasts and reach the younger demographic rather than a historical sporting competition.
Now, I’m not a huge wrestling fan – for either gender – and certainly not as informed on the sport as, say, my man Stumpy, who I’m sure will have an all-world rant about this some day this week.
But wrestling has been associated with the Olympics for as long as the Olympics have been around; it is pretty much pure sport, me against you, strongest man wins. No outside influences, just one against one, pure.
And isn’t that what sports is?
It is a global sport, far more than some that are on the program, it can be played in every nation on earth; it is not at any level regional or expensive or anything like that.
I’m waiting to hear what the rationale is for dumping the sport, I would guess we will hear someone say it is being done to cut back on the number of athletes at Summer Games that are already too big.
But when you look over the Summer Olympics program and want to cut something back, wouldn’t there be other sports that could go that are far more limited in scope for the world’s athletes?
As I said, I’m not all that big on wrestling as a sport (although Daniel Igali’s win was inspiring) but it is a sport, it has a long and storied history in the Games, dumping it and keeping TV-friendly globally regional sports makes no sense to me.
But that’s the IOC, sense doesn’t often play into the equation.
I’m not a pancake guy at all so that’s not in my future but if anyone knows a beignet place in Hazelville, that’d be nice.
And if the ACC poohbahs are reading this, media room jambalaya would sure be a nice tough. Or some dirty rice, please and thank you.
Speaking of …
Everyone was all over Dwane and Terrence Ross about the dunk contest yesterday and it was all pretty predictable.
Ross was saying it’s hard to even fathom finding a dunk no one’s done before but he did offer that he might have one or two up his sleeve that he could try on Saturday night.
No, there were no specifics – they tend to keep dunks as a better secret than trade rumours – but if he does have something original, that’ll be the thing that everyone will end up talking about.
And Ross has always been unexcited about the use of props – that makes him just fine in my books – and that’s another level to it.
Using props – people, telephone booths, throwback jerseys, cars, choirs, what have you – is what has ruined the dunk contest in my opinion. It’s a show – with a predetermined winner in the case of Blake Griffin, I am entirely sure – and bears little resemblance to the legit contests of a decade or so ago.
Schtick is not my bag.
So we’ll see what Ross and others have, maybe turning it into conference vs. conference will add some juice to it, maybe they’ll win or lose on their own athletic abilities rather than their level of showmanship.
We can only hope.
He knows what it is.
“I don’t think you can put two baskets out there and a phone booth and cape and all that. You can’t do that in a game.”
Okay, this is going to be a weird weekend with all the all-star hijinks I’ll have to do and write about so let’s get the mail started early.
If the link over there on the right isn’t working well, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t have to use secret code words – unless you want to – so give me your best.
So I make a rare appearance at Mother Star yesterday morning to some overdue paperwork, pick up some supplies and to whine to the Tall Foreheads about being stuck in Indy for two extra days (that’s the first one-game trip expenses I’ve filed that included three different hotel bills) because I was grumpy.
Now, folks, I have been privileged to cover an awful lot of great things over my career – Olympics, world championships, NBA championships, World Series, Grey Cups, any number of wonderful events – but I will say this with the utmost confidence:
The easiest and most stress-free gig a writer could ever want is spring training.
It is nirvana.
Workouts are finished early, lots of people to write about, games don’t matter so you watch them just in case something extraordinary happens and it never does; the pace of every single day is almost somnambulant.
The weather’s basically great, there’s seldom a lot of hard news to chase or break and the days are generally done in time to either play 18 holes or find a calm patio.
Now, I know baseball in the regular season is a bit different, you get to the park about 3 p.m. and have no clue when you’ll be leaving, but that just makes up for the pace of spring training. All those quiet days, all those evenings free, all that sun.
Oh hell yeah, I’m jealous as all get out.
It’s the dream gig for a lot of writers. Just wish I could have poached a couple of days.