I love the Olympics. The only thing I love more than the Olympics are Olympic failures. Unfortunately, the double-edge sword is that in order to be an Olympian you have to be really really good at what you do, so seeing athletes fail miserably are few and far between. There are however, a few events that captivate you…not because of skill so much as the weirdness of them. Here are four Olympic events that are in no way exciting, but somehow keep you from changing the channel:
#4 PING PONG (TABLE TENNIS)
WHAT IT IS: This is what beer-pong turns into after college. Ironically enough, it’s also where beer pong came from. I know huh?!
Ping Pong is usually a game played in garages during bar-b-ques or a family get-together. Maybe once in a while two friends will meet up and play a game just because nothing good is on T.V. It’s pretty much tennis if tennis got stuffed into that thing that shrunk that kid in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T WATCH IT: Well, it’s like watching tennis with less running around and let’s face it, running around is the best part of tennis. That’s like taking the legs off of a greyhound and all you’re left with is a barking piece of meat – which is great for parties, but you can only stand to look at it in small doses.
WHY YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL: Because (and this is going to be a reoccurring theme here) like most Olympic sports, there is a level of ping-pong that none of us mortals will ever achieve. I call it the fluridiculousucky level which I just made up because there isn’t a word that has been invented yet to describe this:
That’s the most fluridiculousucky thing I’ve ever seen. First of all, my compliments to whoever made the shorts. Secondly, those guys use every bit of the 1,000 square feet of space around the table, which is 990 more square feet than you and your buddies use. It’s impossible to stop watching on the sole fact that these guys are playing ping-pong so hard that they actually need to hydrate between points. That and trying to figure out how they can see the ball the whole time and you can’t is a whole new level of……I don’t know…something stupid.
#3 – BADMINTON
WHAT IT IS: Badminton is another sport that makes it look like giants love to play tennis (see inset). There are two people per team (or 1 if you’re feelin’ froggy) and they hit a piece of rubber with feathers on it back and forth. Unlike tennis or ping-pong, the point is to not let the birdie hit the ground.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T WATCH IT: This is another game that gets set up at reunions, played until the birdie gets stuck in a racket or Uncle Dave drunkenly falls into the net. You pretty much shouldn’t want to watch this just for those memories alone, but add in the fact that the birdie is hit as hard as humanly possible but still flutters gently to the ground in the Olympics and backyard gaming…well, why should you watch it?
WHY YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL: Watching these people actually trying to score a point is a big magnetic pull. Even when they do score a point, the wonder on how they actually got a little floaty thing past two people frantically trying to hit said floaty thing in a court the size of a really big hot tub is amazing….but see for yourself:
The best part of Olympic badminton – other than the awe of someone not getting tagged in the head by their partner – is the “official” name of the birdie getting thrown around by British announcers – shuttlecock. It’s one of those words that sounds even better when drawn out. Try it – shhhhhhhuttlecock.
WHAT IT IS: Sword fighting, basically. I’ll admit that I watch this, but have no idea about the rules other than you have to stab the other guy without killing him…which now that I think about it sounds more difficult.
There are 3 weapons used in fencing – an “Epee” pronounce “Ep-pay” which scores points by hitting the opponent pretty much anywhere is the most solid of the three. A “Foil” which is similar to a wet noodle that targets the torso, and a sabre which is the mid-point of the three weapons which scores points to the torso and head. So yes, depending on your weapon, you can win by stabbing the other guy in the head while yelling “touche’!”
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T WATCH IT: It’s sword fighting, yes, but like anything nowadays there are a list of rules. Here are some things that aren’t permitted:
-Yelling “Freedommmm!” and charging your opponent
-Swatting away their sword and kicking them in the chest
-Give an epic dying speech as you lay in their arms, mortally wounded
-Carve a “Z” in their chest
…so pretty much anything fun you’ve ever heard that was involved in a sword fight is null and void when it comes to fencing.
WHY YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL: There’s only one reason really, and that is to watch people actually fight with swords. As I said before, I don’t know a whole lot about the rules, but from watching the video below I gather that you’re supposed to nervously idle back and forth, quickly stab, then depending on if you didn’t die you either fist pump or pull your mask off.
#1 HAMMER THROW
WHAT IT IS: It’s a 16 lb ball on a 4 foot chain. That being said, it’s the competitor’s job to spin fast enough to gain an insane amount of centrifugal force so that it propels the ball and chain outward until it lands safely on the grass. Furthest throw wins.
This game gets its name from the actual throwing of sledgehammers which is still practiced in Scotland. The world record is 86.74 meters (284 feet, 7 inches) by Yuri Sedykh. For those whose jaw hasn’t absolutely hit the floor, that’s throwing the heaviest possible bowling ball you can find 15 feet short of the length of a football field.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T WATCH IT: Well, it’s not a sledgehammer, so not cool. Secondly, you watch this over and over:
WHY YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL: Ahhh….because you really want to see someone get hit with that thing…or even better:
HONORABLE MENTION: 20K WALK
WHAT IT IS: It’s walking. You can get an Olympic gold medal for walking. Seriously, the only rules are to not go fast enough to be considered not-walking, and to not cheat….just….just watch:
…and with that I’m done.