Monday, August 16, 2004

Oh, those fascinating Olympic sports! I tuned in to the coverage this morning and saw two teams of women playing something that looked like a cross between field hockey and water polo on land. I remembered before too long that there was something called "team handball" and this must be it. I'd never seen it before. It was the Hungarians, who all seemed to have their hair frosted in unison, and the Chinese, who seem to be able to come up with skilled athletes in any sport in a month or two after the sport is adopted in the Olympics. The US is definitely at a disadvantage in women's team handball, since hardly any Americans are even aware such a sport exists. All our athletes are out playing "beach" volleyball, which is now an Olympic sport distinct from regular volleyball. Maybe this is a trend. Why not have "beach" soccer or "beach" tennis or "beach" cycling, where athletes try to ride a bike through deep sand? No doubt they'd develop new bikes with big tires. Didn't the Romans set their gladiatorial combats on sand? I think "arena" comes from a word for sand. So once again the Romans were there first. But there's little blood in women's beach team handball, just a lot of screeching and hair pulling.

As for men's basketball, starring two NBA stars against the rest of the world, the US lost to Puerto Rico yesterday. Which is very odd, considering that PR is PART of the US! Does no one else find this disturbing? Why not the US vs. Florida in football? Florida would win. I've been puzzling over the autonomy of PR in basketball since I've been watching Olympic sports. I suppose it's an outgrowth of the move for independence, which has been soundly rejected by the Puerto Riqueno populace every time it's been voted on. And for good reason, considering that half or more of the PR populace receives US government Food Stamps funded by the taxpayers of the rest of the US. But still. In the Soviet era, Belarus and the Ukraine were not allowed to have separate Olympic teams. All their athletes had to play for the Soviet team, even when in the United Nations they had separate votes as part of the Soviet bloc. And you know who's responsible for all this nonsense? Yep. You guessed it. SHEMP!!