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My Take on Snowboarding in the Olympics

I was listening to Mitch Albom’s radio show last evening. One of his topics was whether or not Slope Style and the Half Pipe Snowboarding events belong in the Olympics.

His take was that they don’t because they don’t meet his idea of the traditional sports handed up from a hundred years ago and that the Olympics are not the winter X-Games. Ironically, the mogul runs were on last night.  Also, and I do agree in part here, he had a problem with the fact that most of the kids speak as though they took Fast Times at Ridgemont High just a little too seriously.  The manner in which the kids choose to communicate, however unseemly, is not a solid reason to keep snowboarding out of the Olympics though. Sorry Mitch.

My two cents are the two sports absolutely belong. The two are excellent mixes of everything that is cool in figure skating, moguls and downhill skiing and ski jumping… The air.  While snowboarding is not cross-country skiing or speed skating they are exceptionally exciting sports that pack an incredible entertainment value – without a doubt, both sports add to the games.

If that isn’t a strong enough case for snowboarding, dude, curling is an Olympic sport!

Now that said, for the purists, I certainly understand why they don’t appreciate the snowboarding sports, I’m just glad they lost.

American Olympic Coverage and Commentators: Maybe it’s not THAT bad.

Two years ago I went on a rant of epic proportions after Al Trautwig let loose a string of epically stupid doozies while covering girls’ gymnastics.  I have grown weary of American coverage since – the sob stories simply grate on me.  Yeah, life’s tough for most of us, gimme a break.

This morning, however, I got a taste of what I’ve been asking for – lighten up on the sob stories and just cover the stinkin’ sport, eh?  To escape the coverage of women’s hockey (which I find almost as exciting as paint drying – too slow, too much ice) I switched over to Canada’s CBC coverage of women’s Slope Style where the announcers mostly laid off of the sob stories, just covered the event, kept the commentary to a fair minimum and didn’t shoot for the annals of idiocy in terms of over-the-top one liners.  I should have been in Olympic coverage Heaven…  And it was dull, almost lifeless.  Now, the two fellas covering the event were completely lacking on the snowboarding lingity so that was definitely a factor but even so, after the Slope Style competition they switched over to coverage of the Skiathlon and it just so happened the American channel was covering the same sport so I switched back and forth between the two for comparison.

Sure enough, the canadian coverage was dry and dull again while the American coverage seemed much livelier.  Of course, Al Trautwig wasn’t flailing about at idiotic one liners either, so there’s that.  The point, I suppose, is that I should watch what I wish for…  And wait for the figure skating coverage so I can fire off another epically idiotic on liner rant.

Oh my God, won’t have to wait. Johnny Weir. Nice necklace, sweetheart.

Speaking of figure skating, Yevgeny Plyushchenko was awesome. Way to take advantage of a man’s strengths rather than flail about trying to skate like the women (and look horribly out of sorts doing it). He was Chaz Michael Michaels to everyone else’s Jimmy MacElroy… When the Canadian kid started flapping his arms like a bird I almost shot coffee out of my nose.

Oh, and how did Michigan become the figure skating training center for the world? Kind if cool, that.

Don’t Tell Me It’s Not Fair

I was checking in on my favorite political blog and they pointed out that NBC is not only getting nicked for racism as it pertains to their release of post performance video shorts, they’ve offended the feminists as well with a new video that the marms are calling…well see for yourself, I don’t want my site popping up on particular searches.

I’ve gotta be honest, I don’t know what the big deal is. As with most claims of sexism, I believe they are more rooted in jealousy than worries about “sexism”. For the backup to my point, let’s go to the comments:

“I spent the majority of every beach volleyball game seething at the lack of cellulite/anything unattractive on those women. Sure they work incredibly hard for it and I spend most of my time on a sofa… But still, life is unfair”.

That about sums it up. In politics, that’s what they call a gaffe. Accidentally telling the truth. Of course life isn’t actually unfair – it’s very fair for the vast majority of us, what it does is suck for those who spend the majority of their time on the couch because they keep wishing that they could attain what they desire without having to work for it. So rather than get off the sofa to get theirs, they whine about men finding svelte women attractive and label that sexism. Of course, they always fail to understand that men are different than women, thus proving that they are more sexist than the men/society that they’re complaining about…from the couch.

You just can’t make that crap up folks.

Endomondo and the iPhone

My first year using Endomondo to track my mileage I had a Blackberry Bold (I don’t remember the number, it was the top of the line). For reasons unbeknown to me that app had some serious problems acquiring the satellite and tracking mileage. Some days it would take 3-5 minutes to acquire a signal and if I rushed that and started tracking time before the signal was solidly acquired, the software wouldn’t track anything but time. To say this was annoying is putting it mildly – and far too kindly. My wife has the same problem, though less frequently, with her Samsung Galaxy III.

In March I bought an iPhone 4s and all of the problems stopped. I haven’t had a tracking issue since. It isn’t without minor flaws, the mileage markers are off and my lap times are WAY off when they uploaded to the website from my century, though everything else (mileage, time etc) appear correctly. The GPS connectivity is instant (less than three seconds), the tracking is near perfect, and finally not one of the things I have to worry about as I’m heading out the door.

Another really cool feature available with Endomondo is the lack of the need of a cell signal to track a workout. As long as the phone can pick up a GPS satellite, you’re good (sat. signal strength shows prominently on the main screen). The app even stores the information until you’ve got a signal then uploads the info to the website when you open the app.

Now, battery usage can be a huge issue as well. Blackberry in hand, I went out last November with my buddy English Pete for a six hour ride and went through 2 batteries – I literally had to stop and switch out batteries halfway through and restart my phone and Endomondo. Last weekend I completed my century in a bit over five hours and went through less than 70% of the battery life. There is a trick to this extended battery life, and this works better for the iPhone than my old Blackberry by double… Keep the phone in “stand-by” mode while you’re tracking to conserve power.

Eventually I will pick up a backup charger, whether it’s solar or battery powered I haven’t decided yet, but my desire is to be able to get 10 hours of tracking with the screen on so I can follow roads on the map as I go. Either way, 5 hours of tracking on 70% of one charge is excellent in my experience.

There isn’t much in this world that works perfectly, especially when you’re looking at computer technology, but Endomondo and the iPhone work together about as seamlessly as can be hoped for.

Rhythmic Gymnastics? Oh NO!

I had a flashback to my childhood today. It wasn’t pretty. I flipped on the Olympics after getting back from my morning run, expecting to see something fun. I was treated to women’s mountain biking… Perfect!

Then it happened – in the middle of the race NBC cut to coverage of… Rhythmic Gymnastics?! Good God it was horrible! All at once, memories of my mother guarding the tv clicker like a hawk to watch Rhythmic Gymnastics more than 30 years ago! That very well could have been the most traumatic experience of my preteen years, having to sit through that. Now kids, we didn’t have much in the way of video games way back then and the only phone available had a pig-tail chord attached to it and plugged into the wall – and you sure as hell couldn’t play a game on it. When mom wanted to watch Rhythmic Gymnastics, better labeled dancing with balls, sticks and a long freaking ribbon (and a stick), we were stuck playing Clue or watching…that!

I never realized just how much that scarred me until my eyes fell on that heavily made-up woman rolling around on the ground looking longingly…at a ball. Then the commentator called the…ball an apparatus and the horrific flashback was complete. The world started spinning, the edges fading to a bright white. I thought to myself, “nooooo, don’t go to the light!”

My eldest daughter, God bless her, brought me back from the brink. Her voice, tinny and distant, called to me, “Father, what, pray tell, is this”? Nah, she just asked, “Dad, what is this “? I said, “junk” and quickly turned the channel to hand ball.

Man, that was a close call!

Leo Manzano’s Pre-Race Ritual…

I wrote that he’s a weird bird, I meant it…  However, I’ve been perusing the web on this fast little fella and I’ve come across quite a few comments that he’s arrogant…

You can see for yourself, here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRVDqi_uYKc&feature=relmfu

All I can say is that I’ve seen arrogant before – Usain Bolt, Terrel Owens…  That’s arrogant.  But Leo Manzano?  No sir, not from what I’ve seen.  He’s just got a weird pre-race ritual.  I’m tempted to start kissing the guns before I race.  All I’ll have to do is find a camera guy and a news guy who want to shoot some video of a soon-to-be over the hill guy kissing his knees before he goes out and runs 10 miles in 8-1/2 minute miles (almost double the pace of the guys who will lead the race).

I won’t be holding my breath at the starting line.

Olympic Track and Field And Volleyball Notes

Is it just me, or does Asbel Kiproff need to eat a big steak and a whole mess of garlic mashed potatoes (and some grilled asparagus)? I’d be willing to bet you Kerri Walsh-Jennings weighs more than he does.

Dude, anyone who saw Leo Manzano’s pre-race routine knows that little fella is a weird bird.

Speaking of Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor, it won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has read this blog, but I dig women’s beach volleyball. It’s not just the bikinis either (though that helps, rolls eyes). In any event, Misty and Kerri were awesome last night against the Italians.

Usain Bolt is super fast, but as arrogant as that guy acts, I’ll love it when somebody smokes him.  By the way, kudos to the bronze medal judo chick that put the drunk loser in a submission hold until the cops got there – now that’s funny.  I’ll bet that dope didn’t see that one coming.

Andrew Murray’s whipping of Roger Federer in straight sets was awesome.

By the way, a special thank you to Al Trautwig for his over-the-top commentating on the women’s gymnastics.  My rant on the subject, in one week, was my most popular post ever.  My traffic increased about 200%.  Thanks brother.