Winter Olympics worth watching

By: Matthew Worsham – Asst. Opinions Editor

No matter who you cheered for, you have to admit Super Bowl XLVIII was pretty disappointing.

America tuned in to see the year’s best football teams face off in the ultimate showdown and instead got a near-shutout when the Broncos utterly collapsed from the weight and pressure of Seattle’s defense.

I’d go so far as to say that only a particularly disinterested Seahawks fan would have been able to derive any sort of pleasure from the spectacle, as even the most passive of viewings would have yielded feelings of sadness at what could have been a great game.

That said, it’s time for some real competition. The XXII Olympic Winter Games couldn’t come any sooner to relieve us from the pains of the Super Bowl. The games provide the perfect opportunity for anyone to become a sports fan, even if it’s for just two short weeks.

To be honest, I don’t follow sports very closely beyond watching the Cincinnati Bengals and a few late and post-season NFL games, but I probably watch more sports television during the summer and winter Olympic Games than I do during the rest of the two years leading up to each one.

These games are great because there truly is something for everybody. I’ll go ahead and watch virtually everything this year: hockey, biathlon, snowboard cross, it’s all great. I’ll even watch curling, just because.

But for those with more focused interests, there is the gracefulness of the figure skating events, the adrenaline of downhill skiing, and the fun of bobsledding (go Jamaica!), each event offering its own unique stories and characters.
If you’re a “numbers person,” counting medals is always an option along with any coinciding statistical analysis.

The real fun of the Olympics isn’t found in the semi-fabricated storylines pushed by NBC. It’s all about watching people who have trained their entire lives for a single opportunity to test their mettle on the world stage with all eyes on them.

Oh, and the rivalries. The Olympic Games just wouldn’t be the same without national rivalries, and anyone who doubts this should check out the 1980 United States v. Soviet Union hockey game immortalized in the movie “Miracle.”

Throughout history, rivalries have been used as justification for causing all kinds of strife and controversy. Someday, maybe all of our petty international rivalries can be resolved through an equally inconsequential medium: a series of biennial, largely antiquated sporting events where the winners are given necklaces of mock precious metals and the losers just get a trip overseas to represent their nation on TV. All in all, it’s as close to a win-win situation as we can get.

So please, tune in to the Winter Olympics this year and root for your home team, wherever that might be. Even if you watch curling, I guarantee it will be more entertaining than the Super Bowl.

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