So I just looked at some real old Historical Context entries that are sitting at the really old site. I can’t get over how … good … they are. They’re short and there are multiple entries per day. I talk about drinking coffee, waking up early, and studying for exams.
Nowadays my entries seem more like articles. Well, they are more like articles. I plan them at least a few minutes in advance, sometimes a few days in advance. They’re longer. They’re … less personal? Is that possible?
The Olympics are on. I’d say the best web site to read about the Olympics is NBC’s page. It’s so strange … the Internet allows us to take in information as it occurs; Yet I personally avoid pages like ESPN.com and CNN.com because I don’t want to read the results of Olympic events before I see them on TV. During the next Olympics or even the 2012 games, Americans may be allowed to view on-demand clips of event finals before they are shown on NBC. But when you’re at work, you might not want to spend two hours or even five minutes streaming that race to your computer.
This really brings up several interesting conflagrations: Sports as both news and entertainment, and the damned frustration that no matter where on earth the Olympics are held, the time of day is inconvenient for somebody.
First, sports. When it’s news, we want to find out about it immediately. Whether it’s a political election or a major event in a war or the latest on a hurricane, we don’t want to wait to see it on TV; we want the results right now, even if it means that we have to read them.
On the other hand, when it’s entertainment, we want to see it with our own eyes. If your friend tells you how The Village ends, you’ll poke their eyes out. You’ll record tonight’s episode of 24, but again, you don’t want to know the surprise ending in advance. The same applies to books, whatever.
And then you’ve got sports, which are mostly entertainment, but are covered more or less as news. Some people will record their alma mater’s bowl game and refuse to read or hear anything about it until they sit down and watch the tape themselves. But then some people will get on the Internet and watch the box score numbers update live. Here there is a distinction based on the importance of that day’s match. But I think a lot ties into personal preference. Personally, I would rather watch a gamecast of the numbers of the Yankees in the playoffs than record the game and watch it later.
The importance of the event relates directly to the Olympics. Also, the Olympics serve as the ultimate example of why you might want to watch an event later than read about it live. If it’s a baseball game, you might miss the broadcast of the game that is played while you’re at work, but hey — you can catch a game this weekend or next weekend or even Wednesday night. You might not see another World Series game until next year. Or another bowl game. And the Olympics … you won’t see them for another four years.
So Olympics seem to be more like entertainment than other sports, but in a kind of backwards way. Just like you wouldn’t want to read ahead of time that Rachel and Ross got back together, you might not want to read ahead that Paul Hamm won the individual all-around gymnastics gold medal. One is weekly fiction, the other is quadrennial nonfiction. Well, sports, anyway.
Oh … was I going to say something about how someone, somewhere is screwed because the Olympics are held just far enough away from their timezone? I don’t think any additional commentary is needed on that one.