I just wanted to take this opportunity to reprint something Mike Lupica wrote Sunday in his "Shooting From The Lip" column in the New York Daily News:
Television desperately needed snowboarding because it desperately needed Americans winning medals in something.
Listen, anybody can see how brilliantly NBC presents these sports, how Dick Ebersol produces a TV movie every night.
There are always going to be wonderful, human-interest stories, because if you bring this many athletes together for any kind of competition, how are there not going to be stories about sacrifice and family tragedy and overcoming injury to chase a dream about winning a championship?
But it doesn't mean you're a bad American if you don't want to watch some of this stuff, whether it's the essence of snowboardcross, or ice-dancing outfits that make Cirque de Soleil look underdressed.
It's not your duty as a good citizen, like voting, to sit there every night for two weeks because you've bought into the hype about the world coming together around Bode Miller.
I think that's something that needed to be said, because I've been reading/hearing a lot of actual complaints that the American TV audience is somehow to blame for the lackluster performance by the Olympics in the ratings, as though it's some kind of treasonous act.
Hey, I didn't want to watch the Olympics even before Bode Miller and Lindsay Jacobellis were brought low by their arrogance and egos. It was even before Michelle Kwan muscled her way into the skating lineup at the expense of Emily Hughes' right to be there instead. And the fact that Kwan came to her senses and dropped out doesn't change things.
I'm just not interested in the pageantry or the competition, and the history of those cloying tributes in the human interest stories proved to be a danger to my digestive tract and to the state of my teeth.
I'd much rather watch a good fictional reality; that's the Toobworld Caretaker in me. And I hope the networks have learned that the Olympics coverage is no longer the juggernaut it used to be; they can be taken down, and it's happened at least twice so far in the nightly coverage.