My Favorite Olympics Story

As we get ready for the Olympics to start tonight (well, technically they were already  on last night, which was this morning in South Korea, which means it was still today, right?), I’m pumped for another two weeks of thrills and chills. This is also the second winter Olympics I’ve watched since I ditched satellite. Having some experience with watching the Olympics online, I can that for a while, it left much to be desired.

NBC would stream things, but they wouldn’t stream everything, and there’s a BIG difference between streaming the live feed of an event and streaming it with NBC commentators. Yes, sometimes those commentators really irritate you, but when you’re watching a sport you don’t know a ton about, it’s difficult to tell when someone’s doing well if you don’t have someone there to . . . tell you that. So often I would just skip an event instead of watching it with the live feed.

These days, I believe they’re planning on doing a better job of that. (Though judging by the commercials on the app last night, they haven’t gotten around the “same commercials all the time” problem, though it’s a bit better. Why they can’t just have the internet run the same commercials as the TV is beyond me.)

Still, I discovered that often NBC would tap into some pool commentators. I have no idea who they were with. They were always British, so I kind of assumed the BBC, but I don’t really know that. The commentating was okay, and not slanted to any one nation, so I took what I could get.

However . . . four years ago, I was watching figure skating. The long performance, as I recall, so it was for medals. And I was watching it with the British commentators. From what I knew, there were supposed to be something like 8 or 12 people competing, but the commentators seemed convinced it was only 4. They really got into it, describing how it was a race to the end with these final four skaters, and after they were done, they congratulated the skaters who were in first, second, and third. They thanked everyone for watching, as the crew came out to fix the ice.

I kept watching, still confused, and still convinced there was more skating to come.

And the mic stayed hot. And a muffled British voice could be heard saying, “What do you mean eight more?”

Once the ice was fixed, the commentators came back on and did commentated for the other eight skaters. Didn’t miss a beat. Didn’t apologize for getting things wrong. Just pretended it had never happened.

And you know what? I didn’t mind at all. It was funny. I laughed. But I was there to watch figure skating, and I didn’t mind them screwing things up.

The moral? Sometimes you will do something totally idiotic, and you’ll feel like an idiot, but if you just keep going, you might be surprised how little everyone else minds. We’re the hero in our own stories, but we’re just extras in most everybody else’s. That can be depressing at times, I suppose, but when you’ve just made a big blunder? It can be great to keep it in mind.

Happy Olympics, everybody. Go USA! And Slovakia! And Germany! And I don’t really mind if some Czechs do well, either.


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