Missing out on that Olympic spirit

I actually do like the Olympics. Or at least bits of it.

In the past, I’ve made it my business to watch gymnastics, archery, diving, fencing, weightlifting, and a lot of other sports. I’m not really someone that’s in to sports generally. I think watching them is a lot less fun than going out and doing stuff, but I make an exception for the Olympics. It gives me a chance to watch sports that aren’t normally televised or all that celebrated. It lets me cheer for underdogs that really are underdogs as opposed to one team of incredibly wealthy men versus another team of incredibly wealthy men.

And I’m actually kind of pissed off this year that I seem to be missing all of it.

Some of this is my own fault. I don’t have a television, so the only way for me to watch it is on the computer. Nicely enough, I now have two computers that are fit for watching television, so I could conceivably have the games on one while still doing work on the other.

Except for the part where NBC sucks. Oh yeah, that.

I tried going to the official NBC site for the Olympics. Apparently you’re not allowed to watch online unless you’re already a cable or dish subscriber. Which I find kind of mind-boggling, because why the hell would you be watching the games online if you could already do so on your television? Maybe they’re trying to hit the valuable people-trapped-in-the-airport demographic.

For the record, I don’t have cable. I don’t want cable. I don’t watch enough TV to justify the expense, and I’d really rather just do my watching online via streaming service like Netflix and Hulu, which I do pay for.

I just really don’t understand it. They could put all the commercials they’d like in streaming online feeds, and they’d get seen. Hell, they’d get seen by people like me who normally manage to evade television advertisements. You’d think that would be desirable.

And this isn’t even touching on some of NBC’s other unfathomable decisions, like the time delay on the opening ceremonies, or that they edited out chunks of it because apparently Americans are just too self-absorbed to appreciate the tragedies memorialized by other countries.

At this point, if I want to watch the Olympics, I’m going to have to pretend to be British in order to do it. Well, there are worse things. But the number of flaming hoops NBC is putting between people and the games feels like a reminder that it’s not really about the spirit of sport and competition, if it ever was. It’s commercialization and controlling the product now, I guess.

Damnit, I just wanted to watch women’s weightlifting, not unwind my eye-rolling cynicism. Was that too much to ask?

Leave a Reply