Sunday, February 19, 2006

Gumball - I Mean Gumbel Speaks

Well….it has been a long time since I posted a new article. I have been busy though hanging out at some of my favorite blogs, having at it with some of the local trolls. But last week something came to my attention (other than the ridiculous kerfuffle over Cheney and Whittington. Of course that story has been done to death….and it is a dead issue except in the minds of certain dipsticks who a part of MSM. However, that is not what I want to talk about.

Today I want to talk about another story – Bryant Gumbel and his racist remarks on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. In case you missed it, he said:

Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don’t care about them and won’t watch them. In fact, I figure that when Thomas Paine said that “these are the times that try men’s souls,” he must’ve been talking about the start of another Winter Olympics. Because they’re so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the winter games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won. And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sportswriters pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon and all those other events they don’t understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years. Face it — these Olympics are little more than a marketing plan to fill space and sell time during the dreary days of February. So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness — for God’s sake, let the games begin.

So what does Mr. Gumbel mean by this? First one might read it as saying that none of the sports in Olympics need real athletes. All that is needed is “pseudo-athletes”. That, by itself call Mr. Gumbel’s sanity into question. Has he ever watched the sports of the Winter Olympics? There is a tremendous amount of flexibility, strength, stamina and perseverance require in almost every single sport featured in the Olympics.

And since Mr. Gumbel seems to speaking specifically of ice skating – almost as if it is the only even featured at the Winter Olympics – let’s talk about it for a few minutes. And I’d like to take it to a personal level. Mr. Gumbel – can you skate? Even though I can get around the rink smoothly, I am not what you would call an accomplished skater. I have been watching the Dance Skating Competition tonight. I am absolutely amazed at the strength and agility required by these athletes. And they do it without having to go on pure oxygen after every play – imagine that! He is right in that somebody has to judge them. So what? That doesn’t mean they aren’t athletes.

But let’s go further. What about sports like Downhill Racing, Ski Jumping, Ice Hockey, Luge, Skeleton, Snow Boarding, etc. They don’t count? The people involved in those sports are not athletes? I suspect that if you said that to a linesman from an Olympic Hockey Team (and take your pick on which one you want to ask – but if I had my druthers you should ask any one of the players on the Russian, American, or Canadian teams) you would not have any teeth left!

But what I think angers me more is Mr. Gumbel’s statement – or at the very least intimation – that there are no real athletes at the Winter Olympics because of a scarcity of blacks. That is a racist statement made by a person who is obviously is a racist. We all realize of course that there are many exceptional black athletes, just as there are exceptional athletes in any race. But to blatantly state that due to a “paucity” of black athletes means there are not real athletes at the Olympics is ridiculous. We can also infer from Mr. Gumbel’s statement that college basketball has more real athletes. I would love to see some of those real athletes try to compete at Ice Hockey, or even better, to give a shot at Ice Dancing. And I’d love to see a football lineman (BTW – my favorite sport) try Ski Jumping. Or a professional baseball player in the 1500 Meter Speed Skate. Or the real athlete of Mr. Gumbel’s choice in the anchor spot on the 4X4 Cross Country Ski event.

I wrote to HBO about this, but after several days of hearing nothing, I can only assume they chose not to respond. So much for responsible journalism.