Tag Archives: The Fever

Coming Soon: Olympic Fever Podcast

8 Sep

Olympic Fever Podcast

We’re about five months out from another Olympics, which means that my case of Olympic Fever has been quietly raging for a while. If you remember, for Rio I tried having a blog, which while fun, was a lot of work and missed one essential element: The conversation.

One of my favorite things to do is talk about the Olympics, and without that element, it’s been hard to maintain the blog in the way that I’d like, which is namely, not a rehashing of the most recent news that’s posted as quickly as possible in order to get the most hits. Good research and writing takes time, and while I want to do that about the Olympics, that outlet became less and less of an ideal place as time went on. Also, posting is kind of one-sided. Blog comments just didn’t replicate the energy and excitement I feel when I can jaw about the Olympics with friends.

So I’m turning the blog into a podcast and calling it Olympic Fever. Each week my lovely co-host Alison Brown and I will be posting a ~30 minute episode that explores an Olympic story, includes some conversation, and preps you for the upcoming Games. We aim to find the unusual stories that make the Olympics what they are and why we love them–even if we know that there are tons of problems with them. We’re really excited about what we’ve got on tap so far, and we hope you’ll take a listen (if nothing, listen for the theme–I’m really proud of how that’s turned out)!

I’d Like to Thank….

23 Feb

I’m writing this as I finish watching last night’s Academy Awards ceremony. Old friends might wonder how this is possible–the Oscars used to be my thing. I’d have a big party (dress up as a nominated character! Themed food! Prizes!) and see as many movies as I could. This year, I thought, Oh yeah, it’s Oscar night. How many movies have I seen again? Two? 

Sure, people change–and I simply don’t make the same time for movies that I used to (in part thanks to being really turned off of the movies by “Gangs of New York,”), but every year I still get some form of the Fever. This year I was able to watch a good chunk of the ceremony before I compromised with the Boy and taped the rest so that we could continue catching up with the rest of the country by watching another episode of “Breaking Bad” (we’re on season 3).

Now that means that I’m quickly trying to finish watching it so that I can look at the rest of the Internet. And then quickly get some work done because now I really, really want to see a movie. I know some are on demand, others are on Netflix, or I could figure out how to download them; however I still love the theater, the experience of being enveloped by a movie, and the slow coming out of it once the lights come back up. That’s the magic of movies.

Still, like anyone who sits at home watching the big show, during the lower moments (technical awards previously given, odd Lady Gaga tributes to “The Sound of Music”), I do spend a fair amount of time crafting my own acceptance speech, so I thought I’d share that with you this year.

The Oscar viewer knows that acceptance speech strategy is key, particularly in any category I might win. You get your 30 seconds (if that), and you are quickly played off. Heaven forbid I be nominated with somebody–it always stinks to be the second (or third or fourth) person who doesn’t get more than two seconds to try to yell their thank you’s over the strings (or if the conductor’s pissed, the brass).

The key part of my strategy would be preparation, and for that I have one word: Intervals. Hustle to the stage, and you could get an extra five or six seconds. This whole “let’s move slowly and gracefully because this is a big deal” is bunk because we know the show runs long for no good reason, and people have to get up in the morning (which is hell on the East Coast). So practice those sprints and wear something pretty, yet moveable.

Next is to say something different. Acceptances shouldn’t be 100% thank you. Say something unique, something they’ll remember. This year was great–Patricia Arquette talking about equality for women; Graham Moore, the screenwriter for “The Imitation Game” talking about being weird; John Legend mentioning the fact that there are more incarcerated black men than there were slaves; Eddie Redmayne talking about ALS; Julianne Moore pumping the cause of Alzheimer’s research; the guy who thanked his dog. What a great year!

Me? I’d thank the people who hired me, of course; the Boy for believing in me; but honestly, I’d also give a shout out to all of the Oscar partiers, the ones who truly make the awards what they are. Sure, it’s Hollywood’s big party for itself, but it wouldn’t be as big of a spectacle if people at home didn’t celebrate, so really, I’d celebrate them. And hope to hell they’ve got me picked in their Oscar bingo or drinking games.

Warning: A New Fever May Be on the Loose

13 Feb

Last week I came across a rather subtle announcement: Birmingham, Alabama, will be hosting the World Games in 2021.

Stop the presses! World Games? Is this an international spectacle of sports that could be fever-inducing?

From what I’ve been able to tell, the World Games seems to be the cast-offs of the Olympics. They’re held every four years, in the year after the Olympics, so summer sports and no competition from the granddaddy of international sports showcases, although the two organizations do cooperate. From what it seems, most of the sports on the World Games programs are being tested for their viability to be included in the Olympic program, so it seems like not just an elite global competition for a more obscure sport, but also an Olympic training ground.

The other big difference from the Olympics is that at the time a city bids, its plan may not call for any new structures to be built solely for these games. They have to either currently exist or be in the works for a non-World Games purpose. That’s particularly interesting, since there are so many issues surrounding construction for the purpose of the Olympics. Even temporary structures cost a fortune. This “use what you’ve got” scenario appeals to the DIYer in me.

But let’s get back to the sports, because this is the key. Let’s look at the sport program for Wroclaw 2017. If you’re sad that tug of war was removed from the Olympic program, you can find it here, along with:

  • billiards
  • bowling
  • fin swimming
  • fistball
  • floorball
  • korfball
  • orienteering
  • sport climbing
  • air sports (parachuting, glider aerobatics, etc.)
  • beach handball
  • canoe polo
  • ultimate frisbee (or “flying disc”)
  • squash
  • water skiing
  • sumo
  • and more!

A few Olympic sports do find their way in–archery, gymnastics, powerlifting–but for the most part, the program consists of obscure sports that need some attention. As someone who’s involved in the obscure sport of roller derby, I know just how much a global stage can help bring much needed exposure, which leads to more participation, which leads to more sponsorship dollars, etc. Obscure sports show just how many interests people have and how much they’re willing to participate in an activity.

ESPN would have you believe that the only sports that really should be shown on TV are football, baseball, hockey, and golf–with about a million hours of recaps and commentary (because that’s likely much cheaper to produce. Sometimes soccer. And CrossFit Games (though it probably helps that a major sporting goods manufacturer is the money behind it). And the X Games, to show some edginess. NBC’s cable network does show some different stuff–they’ve had skiing and biathlon, cycling, etc. But there are so many more sports that deserve to be discussed regularly. We shouldn’t dust them off every four years. Give them a shot and see how they can change ordinary people’s lives.

The Boy and I have discussed going to Rio for the 2016 Games, but honestly, I kind of want to go to Poland in 2017 to catch this fever instead.

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