A special type of fresh air swept into our world this month.
For 16 days, it managed to dissipate the suffocating smog of biased media, mudslinging politics and nasty infighting that would have impressed a rabid wolverine.
The Olympics have always been “must see TV” in our little cabin by the sea and this year was no different. Well, maybe just a bit.
NBC’s coverage was so pathetic that the Federal Drug Commission could have cleared it as a prescribed sleep aid.
The games commenced with a colorful opening ceremony including innumerable athletes marching into the stadium taking selfies and updating their Facebook accounts.
After the first 20 hours of viewing, we were left with the feeling that we had just watched 19 hours of infomercials featuring elitist lizards and portly cartoon generals hawking insurance with just a side of contest presentations.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed some spectacular feats by the athletes but, come on, there were so many tape delay performances that we didn’t dare fire up the latest internet news because the medal results were jacked hours before the contests were aired.
NBC, MSNBC, USA, Golf, and CNBC channels offered almost 24-hour coverage of everything from track and field to competitive shoe tying and synchronized crocheting.
I nearly wore out the remote and a 12-cup coffee maker that pumped out enough Death Wish coffee to keep the population of Homer buzzed for the duration.
My wife, who is a brilliant strategist, slept her normal hours and attended my detailed updates over a morning cup of decaf and an empathetic smile.
I’ve always been flag-waving proud of all of our athletes whether they brought home a medal or a souvenir pin from the Olympic Village. In fact, I cheered for every world participant who worked their keister off to get there.
Although, I was a bit perplexed about how a few of the diminutive gymnasts acquired day passes from pre-school.
Full disclosure: I admit that there were some sports that were an undisputable challenge to watch without securing my eye lids open with Gorilla Tape.
I cannot deny that anyone who can finish a 26-plus mile marathon without power hurling a major internal organ is amazing. The only way I could compete in one of those races is on a Harley, although I could probably handle a 100-yard lumber.
The run announcers sounded as if they were approaching mental hypoxia trying to stir up excitement as some of the competitors approached a water station.
“Check it out Teddy, the Ethiopian is nearing another table. Do you think he’ll request his special super-secret vita blend energy emulsion or bottled water from sources nowhere near Rio?
“Teddy? Teddy? The $%*^^@&*#% must have split for the women’s beach volleyball games again. There’s just me and six viewers left now. I hope he didn’t swipe my jug of caipirinhas. This is going to take a while.”
The network could have covered multiple events while doing updates on the long distant races. But no. If they paused for anything other than the incessant adverts it was for a mini side show featuring somebody like Tom Brokaw sporting Jungle Jim garb cruising up the Amazon in search of a photo op. or Jonny Weir draped in something resembling Christmas Tree ornaments partying in downtown Rio.
To NBC’s credit, they managed to carry the main events highlighting superstars such as Phelps who went blasting through the pool like a ravenous barracuda and Ledecky who incredibly continued to outswim herself.
To sum things up, all of the athletes were fearless competitors whether they were shooting hoops, firing at targets, whacking volleyballs, sticking landings, wielding table tennis paddles, competing in track and field, riding steeds, mountain bikes, or displaying their exceptional skills in a sundry of other challenges.
I really hope the media outlet learned something from being ripped for its coverage and announcing blunders, especially host Bob Costas who came across like a clueless dweeb during his mundane dialog with gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman by focusing their desire to eat junk food and man crushes. Triumph the Insult Dog would have added more class to the interview. Personally, I think the oil has run out of Costas’ crankcase.
Matt Lauer also wasted precious airtime in his conversation with swimmer Ryan “The Ego” Lochte in which the sobered up jock tried to explain his dubious, “We was robbed!” tale of woe. Significant competitions were still in high gear and Lauer should have stuck with the cool kids.
Next stop? The Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018 and then on to Tokyo in 2020 for the summer edition.
That gives me plenty of time to replace my Death Wish stash.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.