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February 18, 2006

The Wide World of Corporate Sponsorship

The Wide World of Corporate Sponsorship

By Daisy (aka Marjorie) James

(The following is a guest blog and opinions expressed within do not necessarily reflect those of the Book Tarts.  Or anyone else on the planet for that matter.  Possibly including the author.)

I love the Olympics, every last self-important second of them.  I will happily go for four years without giving the slightest consideration to cross-country skiing or pole-vaulting; but, as soon as that trumpet intro starts to play, I'm hooked.  From the invariably goofy opening ceremony (Flaming Rollerbladers!  The Waltz of the Cows!  Silly Hats!) to the more melancholy closing festivities, you will find me locked onto my TV, trying not to miss a second.  And, thanks to the glory that is Tivo, I don't even have to stay up all night and miss work to do it.  If the Olympics were soup, I would be licking the bowl.

I also love to mock the Olympians, because I'm not a very nice person.  They devote themselves to their sports, risking life and limb for personal glory and national pride; I sit at home and make fun of their hair.  We all have our roles to play.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I have recently been attempting to encourage my own hair to become curly, with predictably tragic results.)

And so it happened that, due to head injuries sustained while trying to make the team in the four-woman luge, the Tarts have allowed me to write this guest blog about the Games.  For those of you who have missed the action so far, here's a brief recap of some of the key events:

Figure skating:  As of this year, I am officially over Olympic figure skating.  Why?  Well, when a pair can have a fall so bad they have to take a five minute break while they tape the chick's leg back on, then stagger through the rest of the program like drunk lemurs (okay, drunk lemurs that can skate really well) and still get a silver medal, you kind of get the idea that things might be a bit, shall we say, predetermined.

Downhill skiing:  NBC loves Bode Miller.  Nike loves Bode Miller.  Bode Miller loves Bode Miller.  Me, I kinda like Ted Ligety.

Speed skating:  The Dutch must just be kicking themselves for inventing inline skates.  Just think, for decades they dominated speed skating, because apparently that's how you get around Holland in the winter.  But then someone had to go and come up with a way to do it on pavement, and all of a sudden people from places like Houston and Miami are coming in and taking over their sport.  It hardly seems fair.

Short track speed skating:  NASCAR on ice.  A bunch of guys making left turns while everybody watches to see if they crash.

Snowboarding:  I know this sport is all about being young and cool, but do their pants really have to be falling off in competition?  I mean, seriously, I was seeing underwear.  (Aside to female snowboarders:  You have hips.  This may not always be a positive thing, but they're good at keeping your pants on.  Just because you want to be as respected as the boys doesn't mean you have to resort to cross-dressing.)  At least the American team's uniforms were actual clothes.  The Japanese looked like they showed up in their pajama bottoms.  I wonder how long it will be before someone breaks down and wears one of those spandex bodysuits in a competition?  Sure, they're dorky as all hell, but a lot more aerodynamic than twenty yards of loose fabric.

Luge:  "Hey, I know.  Let's lie on tiny little sleds and fling ourselves down an ice-covered track at freeway speeds!  With lots of turns, to make sure we have a good chance of crashing."

Skeleton:  "Yeah, but why don't we do it head-first?"

Doubles luge:  Unlike figure skating, they never let you know which pairs are couples and which are just friends.

Curling:  I was all set to watch the curling this year.  Sure, it's the sport that everybody ignores, the easy joke, but I was convinced I would watch it and discover a fascinating and quietly thrilling event.  Boy, was I wrong.  For those of you who are considering making the same mistake, here's a helpful introduction to the sport:

  • Two teams of four guys from Minnesota (or the equivalent) stand around on the ice with rocks with handles on the top.  Each team has four rocks.  Then one guy slides a rock out on the ice and the other guys, wearing very slippery shoes, run out and alternately do and do not scrub the ice in front of it with their brooms.  This happens sixteen times.  Per inning.*  There are ten innings.**  It's like watching the International Mopping Championships.

Hockey:  I have not watched an Olympic hockey event.  Nothing against the sport, but they're showing 400 hours of events and something had to go.

So there you have it.  Your complete guide to the 2006 Winter Olympics.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go listen to the National Anthem while biting my lower lip.

*Or whatever.

**Again, whatever.

(Daisy/Marjorie aka Shopping Tart is one of our favorite regulars here at TLC.  She's very shoe-savvy as well as a terrific writer.  Visit her blog for more of her hilarious Olympic insights.)


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Yes, the skating is lacking, all of it. You are right about the snowboarders uniform??Cute kids dressed in baggy clothes.
As for curling it is exciting to know that at the age of sixty something if I tried hard enough and trained hard enough I too could become an olympic champ.
Guess I have to "Swifter" that kitchen floor more often

Daisy, you crack me up! I even called my mom to read her your blog post over the phone, because she doesn't get online more than, oh, once a year. She was laughing out loud (and agreeing with you, too!). Great job, girl. Now get back to the boob tube so you don't miss a lick of the events broadcast this weekend!

Daisy, you are awesome. Not only was that hilarious, it was (to these inexpert eyes) beautifully crafted.

I dunno, though; I kinda liked watching the curling. There's something just so, what -- surreal? -- about the whole thing. And the commentary was the same -- lots of talk about rocks and "buttons" and brooms. My husband did point out that, as the person who does all the housework chez mois, sweeping might just be his athletic niche :)

Daisy---I'm so glad to hear someone else is lukewarm on Bode!
You're a hoot, girl!

Daisy - that was spot-on and funny too! Thanks for a great weekend post.

I'm an Olympic junkie as well. Come to think of it, I'm pretty much a junkie. Thankfully, it's limited to things that are legal: Steeler football; the Olympics; The Sopranos; local stand-up comedians; and live music. Could be worse.

On Snow-Bo-Cross (that's what the kids are calling it) - thought the same thing about the outfits, except I'd love one in a nice silk/cotton blend for lounging. By now, everyone will have read about Lindsay and the showboat move (My suggested headline: 'ShowBo on the SnowBo'). First of all, the girl is 20 years old. She got excited. No one died. No one even got hurt - OK, someone got hurt in the final run, but it had nothing to do with Lindsay's alleged hot dogging.

Part of the thrill of the Olympic games is watching atheletes revel in their sport - to see the pure joy that comes from hard work, concentration, and a kickass adreneline rush. These sportscasters and sportswriters - many of whom have never engaged in sporting competition at any level - need to give it a rest already.

And no kidding - I want those lounging outfits - especially before the ice dancing finals tomorrow - those couples can really fog up the windows!

Oh, the Olympics are on?

Kathy, can we wear our lounging pajamas to go see some local comedians? I'm up for it!

Hey, I hadn't thought of the lounging outfit thing. I think we have a licensing opportunity here.

I think I like that Wescott dude. Forget Bode Miller. Do the women skate tonight? I might want to watch Sasha Cohen fall on her butt a few times (is that mean? But she seems to always fall every time I see her skate...oh, hmmm, maybe I shouldn't watch, 'cuz I could be causing her bad luck). Nevermind.

YAY DAISY/MARJORIE!!!!!!! Totally hysterical stuff, and YOU RULE!!!!!!

Awww, thanks! Oh and Susan, the ladies aren't skating until next week- tonight it's the non-stop action of ice dancing.

My husband has only one suggestion for the Olympics. He says, and I quote " If they want to impress me they should dress like the first Olympians dressed, NUDE! " At that moment, I think of the wrestlers or weight lifters in the summer ones and shutter. I really could live without that imagine in my head. Thank you very much! But thats my husbands sense of humor. Keeps my in stitches, or nightmares depending. LOLOL

Daisy, LOL, that was great. I could’ve saved you the pain of watching Curling, but sometimes you must experience things like that firsthand.


I SO agree with you on Ligety. Miller is all talk no talent IMO. And the girl who lost the gold cuz she was showing off! People this is the Olympis! DUH. I do enjoy the women's luge and your comment on skeleton is so true. You have me laughing out loud! :)


The round things they use in curling are "fiendish thingee's." You will know what I mean if you are a Beatles fanatic--these objects play a role in one scene in the movie "Help," which is a bit before your time.

I have a passion for figure skating that cannot be crushed even by the Olympics, or more to the point the commentators. I watch a lot of figure skating with the sound off so I'm used to it by the time the Olympics roll around and the asinine commentators try to create "rivalries" that don't exist, "epic battles" between two people who are friends, decide someone's "a free spirit" because he doesn't spew the official line (as Stu and I refer to it "it's a good ball club....") but mostly because I despise Dick Button. BUT I still gotta watch.
And you know it still is worth it for me because for every over-hyped whining athlete who doesn't like the way the snow is falling or whatEVER, there's always the story of someone like Joey Cheeks, who donated his two checks for medal wins (total $40 thou) to the charity begun by Johann Olav Koss back in '94. I remember that name because who ever heard of such a thing, butI've got the tee-shirt! (they did a fundraising shirt with facsimiles of athletes' signatures on it, I bought it).
So for every ridiculous moment, and GODS are there a lot - there's a kid like Cheeks. And it almost, almost balances the idiocy of the ice dance costumes and behavior (look, she has Bjork's SWAN! Look LOOK! she's gonna DECK her partner for dropping her!) or the idea of the luge (where you can't see what hit you) or skeleton (where you slide down an ice run on a cookie sheet and you CAN see what you're aiming at.)

I have a major crush on Joey Cheeks.

I just like his name. :-)

As a writer of figure skating mysteries, I feel I have to clarify one thing about the fall/Silver medal Chinese pair.

The rule basically says that if something happens which can cause bodily injury to the skater -- from a broken lace, to a piece of jewlery on the ice, to a horrible fall they don't seem to get up from -- the referee blows his whistle. The skaters then have two minutes to decide if they want to continue. In this case, the Chinese pair decided to continue and picked up their program from where they left off. A deduction was taken for the fall (you can see it in the protocol), but, since she did complete an unprecedented four revolutions before landing, they also earned a good amount of points for it.

Finally, as the two teams behind the silver medalists were both Chinese, I personally find it unlikely that the fix was in for the second place Chinese. Shen and Zhao, the Bronze medalists, were two-time World Champions, so if China were campaigning for anyone, it would be for them, and they would have been happy to have the three Chinese pairs in any order.

Anyway, just one more voice from the peanut gallery.

Very interesting, Alina. Thanks for the insight! I'm anxious to see the women do their short programs tonight. If Sasha Cohen can get through the short and long programs without falling, I think she has a great shot...but she always seems to end up on her bumpkas whenever I watch her. It'll be fun to see what Kimmie Meisner and Emily Hughes do as well! Alina, do you have your medal picks???

Hi, Susan -

Re: medal picks... so far I'm three for three in Gold Medalists (not that it was so much of a challenge, but I did give a few interviews on the subject, so it's nice to not sound like a complete and utter idiot).

For the women, I'm feeling Slutskaya, one of the Japanese girls and Cohen - I too think she's a great talent but she's never proven that she can pull it together under even non-Olympic pressure. (Though Carolina Kostner is skating on home ice and that can either lift your or sink you -- how's that for noncommital, LOL).

Oh, you people with your rational explainations. I'm going to stick with my cynicism and conspiracy theories, thank you very much. (And I don't care what anyone says; you can't convince me that ice dancing counts as a sport.)

Emily Hughes should have been marked higher.
Sasha Cohen claims to be older and more mature and I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt; she's been a lot more together since she went back to Mr. Nicks and she really does seem to have her head on straight. (he's Mr. Nicks to her, he's Mr. NIcks to me; can't believe that with all the skaters he's coached, he's never had one win Olympic gold.)
Arakawa could take it all.
Sokolova was the biggest disaster with poor Kostner right behind; what pressure. You're 19, you carried the flag and it's your country. Sheesh.
Ice dancing is very much a sport. For me anything that requires you to be able to SKATE, I think, while you're doing anything else, pretty much gets to be called a sport. It's more of a sport that sitting in a car and driving it around a track. More to me even than bobsleigh/bobsled which seems to involve pushing a thing on skis, then getting into it and ducking until it stops.

Okay, I'm going to do it. I'm going to say - hey LOOK! I called it! I figure it's safe to brag - most folks don't go back and read blog posts from days ago, do they? They're too busy catching up on new posts. So no one will see my little dance of being right (albeit a tad surprised). (doo-dee-doo-dee-doo)

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