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Where Defying Death Is Part Of The Deal.


In every game, every competition, fans hope sports bring out the best from the best. It’s supposed to be the best of the participants, but don’t we secretly want sports to bring out the best in us?

Ask the closest baby boomer for a definitive answer.

Great games and great players sweep us along with them. They give us a temporary space in time that bonds us all together in greatness. And you don’t have to do the work. You just hop on the bandwagon.

This could be the reason networks give us so many non-sports looking people to explain events. They make the rest of us look better in comparison, though they dress well for the most part.

We owe analysts and broadcasters like John Clayton, Joe Buck, and Bob Costas a shared debt of gratitude.

They also make the rest of us sound better by putting our feelings into something more coherent than, “YA-SEE-THAT? OHHHHHHHHH.”

If you catch yourself thinking in their words, it’s okay. It’s normal. You can quote me quoting them. But there is a limit.

If you’re watching the Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia you most likely have moments when you think, “How hard is that? It’s a sled. I could do that.”

Let it go.

If you’re watching the curling competition where one athlete pushes a rock while two others scrub the path in front, you’re probably right. You could do that. You know how to push. You know how to sweep. You’re ready for your gold medal moment.

Consider other events and know you should stay on the sidelines.

Have you seen the downhill racing? From overhead it looks do-able. From ground level, not so much. Climbing the mountain they ski down could be a medal event. It’s one of those ‘reach out and touch rock’ grades where you don’t need to bend over.

The skiers look like they’re on their ski edges the whole time, with one change-of-direction turn looking like you’re headed off a cliff if you miss. They put netting on some corners so at least it looks safe.

Take downhill racing at eighty miles an hour off your to-do list if you like the way your legs look now.

Instead, focus on the snowboard events with the ski question settled. You say it looks easier than skiing? The board is so big anyone could do it? In case you’ve missed the last decade of X Games, snowboarders are the badasses on the slopes. Part skateboarder, part gymnast, part biker all in one package of gravity defying color.

You say you would shred the slope-style course, but you can’t bend over without getting dizzy? That’s a bad combo, especially when the great Shaun White even bowed out. As hard as it is to admit, we’re not better than the Flying Tomato.

With Mr. White and his new haircut taking fourth in the half pipe, you can scratch that event off your fantasy Olympics too. Even he’s not as good as he was, so at least you’ve got that.

Bend, Oregon skier Laurenne Ross finished out of medal contention, but not camera contention when she took a page from the Michael Jordan/Miley Cyrus tongue whipping book to celebrate 11th place in her race.

What would  happen if she won the gold? Twerking with Vlad Putin?

The greatest spectacles in sports always carry the weight of fear. Winners face new challenges, choke fear down faster than the competition, and cross the finish line first. They win in pristine conditions, less than pristine, and Sochi.

They understand what a win in Sochi means. We fans will understand it too after Bob Costas explains it. Until then we’re stuck with our own, “YOU SEE AT? AHHHHHHH!” (“My goodness, did you notice how far ski jumpers fly?”)

Get better, Mr. Costas. We need you more than a nine foot tall snow man.


(originally posted on






About David Gillaspie
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