Thursday, February 16, 2006

I knew there was a great reason for NOT adding HBO to my cable package… it’s Bryant Gumbel!

Let’s review Mr. Gumbel’s statements from his program “Real Sports” on HBO.
"Finally, tonight, the Winter Games.
Count me among those who don’t like them and won’t watch them ... Because they’re so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ... So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness — for God’s sake, let the games begin."


So much to address, I barely can contain myself.

Gumbel playing the race card? Who knew he was black?

His argument about the ancient Greeks never hearing of skating or skiing is laughable. Does he believe that we should be adhering to the rules, regulations and traditions of ancient Greece in order to hold an Olympic competition? OK fine – we can do that - everybody competes nude. And ladies… sorry, but Mr. GRUMBLE over there in the corner doesn’t think it’s OLYMPIC for you to compete. Oh yeah… a few more little issues if we want to “keep it real” for the Olympics – All the competitors must speak Greek, and not only are women not allowed to compete, if they are caught watching the Games, they are thrown off a cliff.

Wake up, ego maniac! Everything changes, grows, develops… well, apparently everything except you.

I give the IOC credit for looking into new sports and adding competitions like mogul skiing and the exciting half-pipe events. They are sports and quite popular around the world. Perhaps we should also NOT televise the Games, after all, television was not invented until 2600 years the first Games at Olympia.

Then there are Mr. Gumbel’s comments about “a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention” --- so asinine, so hideous, so baseline stupid that they really requires no commentary. (But here goes nothing.) If the presence of black people is what is required for anything in this world to pass the GUMBEL SNIFF TEST for equality and diversity, I’d like to see the membership diversity numbers on your country club in Connecticut, Mr. Gumbel.

Your attack on figure skating is also beyond hilarious. Bruce Jenner, (Olympic gold medal decathlete) a recent evictee from FOX TV’s Skating with Celebrities can testify to the amount of athleticism required to perform a four minute routine on ice. On a semi-related note, figure skating is about the only place that gay athletes are given any major tv time or credibility, and now you want that venue removed from the Olympics? Not very accepting of others are you Mr. Gumbel?

And what’s wrong with the “kiss n cry” area in figure skating? Are emotions forbidden in the Gumbel World of Sports? You also seem to have a problem with judges. How are these professionals any different from the referees in basketball (the sport you apparently are dying to see after the Olympics wrap up in a few weeks)? Skating judges & skiing judges spend years honing their craft and earning the right to be big stage, just as referees spend decades working their way from hack leagues to college to the NBA. Both are skilled students of their sports. They learn the rules and pass judgment, either in the form of a foul called or scoring a performance.

Look, Bryant… I feel a special kinship with you. We both grew up in Chicago, both made it in NYC in the media biz, both enjoy golf to the point of almost obsessing, but it all ends there. Is this really about the Olympics being less than what you expected? I suspect not.

Rest easy BG, your beloved NCAA Basketball Tournament is just around the corner. “March Madness” will be upon us soon enough. Yes, we’ll have endless hours of daytime television pre-empted so some network can cover college basketball’s annual tournament of tournaments. It’s a massive time-waster as far as I am concerned. (At least we get to hear the word Gonzaga uttered several times during the tourney… that always makes me smile.)

Back to NCAA Basketball and it’s March Madness. Do you really support this over the Olympics? Basketball has for the past decade (the post-Jordan era) produced some of the most morally bankrupt thug-celebrities this side of the rap music world. On the other hand, many Olympic champions go on to long successful careers in diverse fields. They do much more than sell shoes, soft drinks or computer games to an ever-expanding group of young illiterates who idolize them.


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