Listening Post: Watching the games

When it comes to the Summer Olympics, I’m with Chauncey Gardiner–“I like to watch.” I don’t know or care much about individual athletes or teams or events. I ran long-distance in high school because I liked to run–the whole race thing was kind of distracting. And I no longer keep up with any professional or amateur teams. If I’m a fan of anything, it’s spectacle. And nothing provides it better than the Olympic games.

Photo: via Flickr, cc, some rights reserved.

This time round, I’ve watched much less of the games on TV–sorry NBC. They have interviewers and color commentators and analysts and experts and box charts and schedules and way too many commercials. It all gets in the way of watching people do amazing things with their bodies.

What I’ve been doing instead is to follow the Flickr photo feed posted by amateur photographers at the games from all over the world. They often don’t identify their subjects, or the events, or even the day. Each morning I’ve been picking a dozen or so images that I like best, and have shipped them over to NCPR’s Olympics page. I have no idea whether I am looking at gold medalists or just another young talent. And I don’t care.

Nothing is more interesting to watch than people, and people are at their most interesting when fiercely focused on their passions. Who is going to decide whether to watch the next Olympiad based on their country’s medal count this time round? It will be some image burned into the brain that makes them come back: of effort, of grace, of strength, of concentration, of joy.

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3 Comments on “Listening Post: Watching the games”

  1. Pete Klein says:

    When I have the chance, I enjoy watching the games on TV, except for all the ads and the talking heads.
    The Twitter and Facebook stuff, I don’t follow and couldn’t care less.

  2. Sunshine says:

    I’m with you on this, Dale. Well put.
    I always appreciate reading your keen insights.
    Go well…

  3. stillin says:

    Watched a ref ( Hondurus vs. Brazil) throw a game today, I believe some of the games are fixed, when it comes to the “top” players, they are set up so it’s impossible for them to lose. I believe the ref was in the pocket of Brazil. Little later, same day, watched Great Britain pull a rabbit out of their hat with a yellow card to the South Korean goalie for “taking too long” to get ready for his shot. As the commentator said ” you don’t hear that very much” yea, they save that for when they’re losing. I don’t pay to view corrupted things and to me this is, and so is much of the world cup.

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