Just show the game
Friday, Jan 18, 2013
Thou are not for the fashion of these times,
Where none will sweat but for promotion
* The Olympics have scored ratings gold by emphasizing personalities and personal lives as much - or even sometimes more - than the actual sporting events.
As a result, I have a hard time watching the Olympics broadcasts. I wanna see sports. I don’t care all that much that some athlete overcame [insert disease or setback here] to triumph in sports. I wanna see the action.
Soap operatic back stories now permeate pretty much all sports coverage. Count me as disinterested. Just show the game, for crying out loud.
* Despite my misgivings, this stuff works. How many more people became interested in international cycling competitions because of Lance Armstrong’s astounding comeback from cancer to win seven straight times at the Tour de France? Lots.
It’s just a money thing - a way to induce more people to watch an event that they probably had no interest in whatsoever. I don’t care about Tim Tebow’s religion or political beliefs. I care whether he can perform on the field. But a whole lot of other people do care about his back story, so we’ve been inundated with coverage. I just turn it off.
It’s not like I’ve been totally immune to this, either. I was fascinated by the Tonya Harding drama. But that craziness was directly related to the event. I mean, she had a clearly superior opponent knee-capped in a thuggish bid to win gold. Wow. Now we’re talking my kind of story.
* This Manti Te’o stuff never really interested me. It’s not like I’m heartless or something. I agree that his was a tragic story of loss and heartbreak. Great TV. Saturation coverage. Heckuva drama. And, as it turns out, a total fraud.
There’s no way sports coverage will change because of this scandal. There’s too much money involved. So, now, Armstrong’s downfall allows talking heads to endlessly pontificate about what a bad man he is. Tebow’s lack of talent wouldn’t even rate 30 seconds on local news if he had no back story, but the teevee types love to yap about his future and will continue to do so. And the Te’o stuff is now even “better” TV. Much better.
Better to just forget about this relentless quest for the perfect back story and just show the action. But it’ll never happen. Sports is a big-money soap opera, so the greed heads ain’t gonna change, even though they’ve always ruined everything they’ve ever touched.