Posts Tagged ‘misty may-treanor’

When my fiancee’s father, a superfan of the great tennis player Roger Federer, found himself traveling on his way back from a vacation on the Sunday of this year’s men’s Wimbledon championship match, he set out to do the impossible: avoid the match results until he arrived home and could watch it on his DVR.

Federer was playing in that final against Scottish hopeful Andy Murray, a highly anticipated match which, if Federer won, would improbably launch him back to the #1 ranking for the first time in two years. (If Murray won, it would mark his first major title and the first time a British male had won Wimbledon since 1936.)

My fiancee’s dad only made it as far as his plane change in Dallas before accidentally gleaning the result from a TV in the waiting area that was tuned to the news. Though I knew he’d have no real chance to avoid the score for an entire day, I still felt his pain. It wasn’t all that long ago that people relied on the next morning’s newspaper to tell them everything that happened since, well, the previous morning’s newspaper. Of course the internet changed the immediacy with which we receive news forever which is, generally speaking, a good thing. But when it comes to sports, and in particular, the Olympics, I find myself in the same boat as my future father-in-law, meaning I’m looking for less news.

The Summer and Winter Olympics only come around every four years, respectively, and the fact that most of the sports they include are scarcely televised or talked about other than during the Olympics. You couldn’t pay most Americans to watch gymnastics in an odd year but come the Summer Olympics they fall in love with their favorite American gymnast who, just moments earlier, they didn’t know existed. The same goes for the media-fueled rivalries like Phelps versus Lochte that no one was paying attention for the past few years.

Last week while on vacation, I found myself checking Twitter on my iPhone. Twitter has become my #1 news source, customized with the types of updates I want based on the people I follow–all 971 of them. I suppose it was naive of me to think that once there, all 971 people would keep it a secret who won that day’s swimming events, and that I’d get to watch it on tape delay later that night without knowing the results ahead of time. (Media outlets like ESPN, for that matter, had no motivation to keep it a secret and let competing network NBC rack up the ratings if it could spoil the results for would-be viewers.)

With modern television the way it is, where a large chunk of the best content is time-shifted with DVRs and online video streaming, we’re at the point where “appointment viewing” and the next morning’s water cooler conversations have all but disappeared. As a result, it seems to me that sports–particularly those that we only get to see every four years–might be the last remaining and most purest form of drama on TV.

I’ve watched most of these Summer Olympics without the word “LIVE” in the top right corner of my TV screen. In fact, as I write this I’m awaiting the start of the women’s beach volleyball gold medal match, featuring legendary pair Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings. The match started about five hours ago in London and probably ended while I was wrapping up my workday. But I don’t know the result because I’ve avoided the internet all day in search of a genuine fan experience. The internet has brought me more information than I could ever hope to retain, but tonight, ignorance is bliss.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: