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Monday, August 16, 2004

Sports: Olympics Thus Far 

If I were flipping channels on a lazy Saturday afternoon and came across Synchronized Diving, I'd likely keep flipping. But during the Olympics, I can't get enough of lesser sports like Volleyball, Swimming or Water Polo.

Between the PGA and the Olympics, I hardly left my couch from about 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. yesterday, and again from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. What did I watch?

Beach Volleyball- Americans Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger staged a thrilling win over their Australian opponents. While I'm glad to see the USA win, I was dismayed by the quality of ball the American duo played. Floating serves, dinks and dunks, sparse displays of power... It was the kind of volleyball I'd expect me and my friends to play at the pool after a 12-pack of beer. Maybe they played tentatively after dropping the first set, but I don't think we're going to win the Gold by playing booty ball.

Indoor Volleyball- Lots of jawing between the USA and Italy. Even though we lost, the teams put on an entertaining game. Is it me, or does the USA always field a scrappy bunch of hotheads in men's volleyball? Remember 1992? Bob Samuelson (or was it Bob Ctvrtlik?) was involved in a controversy about a officials ruling. Then whole team shaved their heads in protest, en route to a bronze medal.

Water Polo- Team USA won on a goal as time expired. That game looks fairly easy, but when you think about treading water for that long and still throwing/playing defense, you realize what tremendous shape those guys are in.

More Beach Volleyball- The American women's team of Misti May and some other girl easily beat the Japanese. Misty May is pretty good looking, or at least I think. And man, she can ball. She was hitting with more power than either of the guys.

Boxing- I don't think I saw any Americans. Some Russian beat the hell out of a third worlder.

Swimming- I love watching swimming, maybe because so many ex-Longhorns compete for Team USA each Olympics. I saw the 400M Relay team in the prelims, but missed their disappointing bronze medal finish in the finals. Maybe Gary Hall had a reason for being angry?

Basketball- Everyone is talking about the USA's blowout loss to Puerto Rico (aren't they part of the USA?). I won't pile on, because I don;t agree with a lot of the sentiment out there. People think they're overpaid ninnies that don't want to be there. I think they do want to be there, but they're not built for success. We didn;t send our best talent, or our best possible team. And it's time to face the fact that the rest of the world has caught up to our basketball ability -- if not in talent, then in fundamentals. I think we'll bounce back, though, and at least medal.

Major Gripe: Because of the time change NBC airs its marquee, prime time events on tape delay. Thus, the swimming final you watch at 7 p.m. actually took place at noon. I can handle that. What irks me is that NBC updates its website in real time. So a minute ago, when I went to check on some overnight events, I learned the results of tonight's much-anticipated 200M Freestyle swimming final. I guess I can play Madden 2005 instead of tuning in to see Michael Phelps go for the gold. NBC should really make seperate links to learn of the day's events. Just because we know it's tape delay doesn't mean that we don't want to maintain an element of surprise.


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