Day: August 27, 2004

Random Olympic Notes

Forget beach volleyball, all the men out there should have been watching women’s field hockey for the last two weeks. I watched the second half of the gold medal match between Germany and the Netherlands last night and was very impressed by the Dutch team. Then again, went aren’t Dutch women impressive? Less skin than on the beach, to be sure, but for the most part these looked like regular hot girls you’d see at happy hour. Their uniforms could probably be worn out to bars, in fact. It’s really a stupid game, though, so it’s a good thing there was plenty of eye candy. From what I gathered, a bunch of women run around hunched over for an hour. If they’re lucky enough to gain possession of the ball, they wind up and send a wicked pass towards a teammate that is 50 yards away. The poor receiver, only having a stunted hockey stick to control the ball, usually either loses the pass out of bounds, or pops it straight up in the air. I’m really not sure how three goals were scored yesterday, as it doesn’t seem possible to possess the ball long enough.

Something else that cracked me up about field hockey was the massive amount of support for the Dutch team. There were literally thousands of orange-clad fans acting wacky as Dutch fans are wont to do. When the Germans pulled off the massive upset of the two time defending gold medalists, these people looked like me after a KU loss in March. They sat in the stands in stunned silence, with either looks of complete disgust or utter shock. I had no idea field hockey had such devoted fans. Maybe the team nudes up if they win and that’s why the fans were so bummed.

A final note regarding beach volleyball wear, I’ve not watched an AVP match in a long time, but I recall in the mid-90s the men generally played without shirts. Not sure why they’re required to wear them in the Olympics if the women are required to wear bikini bottoms. I’m all for making the female viewers happy if that means I still get to see bikini action.

My favorite name of the Olympics? Australian diver Loudy Tourky. She was born in Israel, which explains why her name isn’t something more traditional of Aussies. It nicely straddles the line between difficult to pronounce, approaching near ridiculousness in appearance, yet retaining a cheery quality at the same time. It makes me think of Thanksgiving.

As if we didn’t know that US television is the strongest force in the Olympics already, we have this year’s uniforms as further proof. I’ve not seen every nation’s jersey, but I’ve yet to see a nation that did not have its name spelled with the Latin alphabet. None of the Slavic nations use Cyrillic letters (Russia vs. whatever it would look like in Russian). None of the Asian nations use their form of writing. None of the Arabic nations have Arabic writing as the prominent feature on their jerseys. Most notably, while Greece’s uniforms say Hellas, it is not spelled in Greek letters. Kind of strange, don’t you think?
The one notable exception is Germany, that historic bastion of respect for other cultures. On many of their uniforms below Deutschland is the Greek spelling of Germany. So bravo to the Germans, I guess.

I keep seeing these commercials for “The All New G6” which feature a snippet from the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” and must admit I’m intrigued. The Clash have licensed the use of their music in ads several times over the years (notably for Levis in the UK in 1991 and for Jaguar two years ago) but interesting that a song that’s been licensed before is being used again. I check the website, hoping this is some cool new European sports car that will revolutionize the auto industry. Nope, it’s a freaking Pontiac; what appears to be the replacement for the Sunfire. Very disappointing.


Olympic Pet Peeve

If nothing else comes out of the US men’s basketball team’s loss to Argentina on Friday, at least we can hope that NBC and all the other media lemmings will drop the label Dream Team from future US national teams. I know David Stern makes calls to them before each tournament reminding them to use the term, but it’s ridiculous to continue to use it.
The term was coined for the 1992 team, which truly was a Dream Team. It was the first team to be comprised of almost entirely NBA players. It featured three of the best players in the history of the game. They were supported by a roster that included no less than seven other members of the NBA’s 50 greatest players list. Other than Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, the roster was full of players that were at the peaks of their respective games. And then there was Michael Jordan, unequalled in any era. Never again will there be a comparable confluence of history, ability, accomplishment, and moment.
It was dumb to call the 1996 team a Dream Team. Once again, the team was made up of some of the best players in the NBA, but the overall talent level came nowhere near 1992’s. It was asinine to call the 2000 Olympic or 2002 World Championship teams Dreams. It’s criminal to label this year’s team with that moniker.
What’s worse is the label now appears to be gender neutral, and the women’s team is automatically called the Dream Team. Now don’t get me wrong, the women are probably a better collection of the best talent our country can offer, and have been performing in a manner that at least puts them in the ballpark for that name. But quick, how many players off the team can you name? Maybe you got Lisa Leslie. I had no idea Sheryl Swoopes was on the team until today. Regardless, they ain’t exactly Jordan, Magic, and Bird, are they? Besides, if there ever truly was a women’s Dream Team, it was in 1984 when Pat Summit coached a team lead by Cheryl Miller and Lynette Woodard, the two greatest players the women’s game has ever seen.
So please, NBC and NBA, put your massive marketing budgets to good use and come up with some other clever way of referring to our national basketball teams.



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