Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thoughts on the Winter Olympics

People who know me know that I am a bit of a sports nut. If my TV is on there is a roughly 98% chance it is showing sport, and that is a conservative estimate. In recent times I have had people try and get me hooked on shows like "24" and "House" to no avail. I mean, they're OK... they're just not sport.

Despite the fact that I may be interested in seeing a Mid-major college basketball game between Lower Appalachia State and Armpit U, I have not really been getting into the Winter Olympics. Why is that? There are a number of possible reasons I guess:

1) I don't really understand the sports.

Being an Australian (albeit one who lived in Canada for two years in highschool), I don't get the finer points of some of the events. Mind you, show me the average person who gets the finer points of luge-ing (or whatever the correct word is there)... well you can't. I do have to say that the Olympics are built to provide normal people with insight into crazy sports that they won't see for another four years, so that discredits this theory.

Not to mention that I am going to try and watch as much Men's ice hockey as possible. That is going to rock.

2) The time delay is annoying.

I think this is more plausible. Despite the fact I have been pretty adept about avoiding all news about events during the day, it is still something that nags away in the back of my mind. Knowing that I could discover the results of the event I am watching with a few clicks of the mouse is a bit of a buzz-kill. I have to say that if I got word that there was an 18 person pile-up during a short track speed-skating relay, I'd be all over it. Though come to think of it, if that actually happened roughly every second website would have a clip uploaded two seconds after the event. See what I mean?

3) Stupid human interest stories.

Oh, how I hate these. Look, I'm going to admit if there is something absolutely astounding about an athlete (say a guy who was made blind in one eye due to a freak accident while he was working one of his 5 jobs he has to support his 37 adopted children, all abandoned kids of AIDS sufferers), OK let me know. But fuck off with the string section and hushed narration about a guy who has parents who attend every meet he contests. Inane and annoying in the extreme.

4) Where are the Aussies?

Dumb question - we actually have snowfields, though they are situated in a tiny part of the country. Despite this we do have Winter Olympic champions; Alisa Camplin won Olympic gold in 2002 in Women's Aerials. And who could forget another 2002 Gold winner, Steve Bradbury, who won in short track speed skating when the leading pack fell over just before the finish? (Really!) And just last night I watched as another Australian (Dale Begg-Smith) took home Gold in moguls.

Steve Bradbury is a legend, someone who won in the dumbest way possible and wasn't afraid to admit it. Alisa Camplin? Any time I've heard her speak I've wanted to stab myself with something pointy. Dale Begg-Smith not only was born in Canada, but apparently is a millionaire after founding some kind of web advertising firm (the details are murky and he refuses to talk bout it), which doesn't exactly make me want to hug him.

None of these are really compelling reasons for me not to be watching the Olympics. Maybe at heart I just don't care very much? A little sad as I used to remember when I used to look forward to Olympics of any variety (and the Commonwealth games, where Australia kicks ass - though we're pretty damn good in the Olympics as well).

I do think some sports could stand some changes though. I caught some Curling last night, a sport which I find a little difficult to get into - and this is from someone who has been to known to watch lawn bowls. It's a hilarious sport, as we all know, people sliding big rock things down an ice rink while two other people scrub brooms in front of it furiously. I did notice that it is allowable for the other team to use their brooms though, for example if it looks like the rock is going to be a good shot in the middle of the target they can bust out their brooms to try and make it slide further. I was kind of surprised by that. I mean, where are the limitations? Could someone shadow the two guys brooming away from the start, and if they stopped jump in and try to keep it moving? I could see that degenerating into a brawl, real fast. And these are not-so-athletic people in slidy shoes and armed with brooms.

Actually, I think I would pay money to see that. "Full Contact Curling". You can do what ever you want, but if either team accidentally touches the rock you lose a point or something. A cross between roller derby and curling. Who wouldn't watch that?! I guess you could argue that short track speed skating is already the Winter Olympic's answer to Roller Derby, but they aren't armed with brooms.

I would enjoy it if someone gave Apollo Ohno an elbow to the face, however, but maybe that's just me.


While I was busy watching Canadian-born spammers win Gold for my country, I did play a little cards. A couple of 180 SnGs were in order, and despite lasting well into the second hour for both, there was no joy.

In the first I was treading water for most of the time before I chipped up a little. I was actually enjoying two guys going at it incessantly, both in the chat window and the felt. Unfortunately I hit top pair and had a back door flush draw when up against slow-played Aces and was done.

In the second I built a stack early by making people pay large premiums to chase draws, have them chase anyway, and have them lose. My favourite play was when a guy UTG pushed all-in when I had K-K in LP. I had him covered so I went all-in. He has A-K, and despite SoxLover telling me stories about him cracking K-K with A-K earlier in the evening I won the hand.

After that I fluctuated in chips for a while, and when the blinds and antes were getting larger decided that I would take the pot (including an UTG limper) by re-raising with A-7 suited. UTG re-raised all in, and I have a minor mind explosion and call. The UTG calls has... A-K suited?! Who limp re-raises with that? That erased two thirds of my stack, and a little later I was out when I decided that a big stack min-raising from the button plus blinds and antes was good enough to go all-in with 9-4o. Not that happy with my play in those couple of hands (I could have got away from the limp re-raise, any hand he can probably have there is way ahead of mine), but there you go.


  • Curling needs beer--kegs upon kegs-- to make it more interesting.

    By Blogger Chad, at 12:09 PM  

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