Sunday, March 25, 2007

Boring spectator sport

Back at the time of the Olympic Games of 1956 in Melbourne, I remember my aunt Nancy telling me excitedly that one of the amazing surprises of their new tool called TV was the fact that it brought swimming races right into your living room, because you could actually watch the swimmers in the pool. Big deal. For me, TV swimming remains the most boring spectator sport that I can imagine, because you can't understand anything apart from the excited words of the commentator. And you simply wait for the times in hundredths of a second. I should be super-excited about the prowess of Laure Manaudou, whose first name sounds like gold in French. The truth is that this mindless love-struck youngster is just as boring as the sport in which she excels. French commentators, with nothing to say about this silent juvenile wonder woman, complained that Laure might have at least inscribed AMOUR rather than LOVE on her left palm.

There's an even more boring sporting phenomenon than swimming. It consists of wandering into a Sydney pub, say, on a Saturday around midday and being confronted by dozens of video screens relaying matches of all kinds (rugby, horses, dogs, etc): the object of betting. Last year, shocked by this spectacle, I was tempted to cease considering myself as an Australian. Sport as gambling commerce. It's simply all too boring.

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