Aug 08

Olympic Avoidance Log 2008: Day 2: Bouncyball (Giant Division)

FT + TMFD4 comments • 198 views

I saw a minute of the Basketball game between the USA and China today. Gosh Basketball is dull. Look at all the things I thought about in that minute to try to avoid engaging with the game

a) Is giganticism a kind of disability (door frames too low etc)? Hence shouldn’t basketball be in the Paralympics. Or maybe there should be a special division for people under five foot six playing basketball.
b) Basketball is a perfect example of a sport which humans have out-evolved to an extent that the game is completely different to the one originally intended.
c) In retrospect it was probably kind of dumb for the USA to have lobbied for certain sports that they were particularly good at to be involved in the Olympics. In the Baseball and Basketball they really are setting themselves up for a fall if they don’t win. (I know I am probably wrong in this, but the only way to get our Olympic loving statisticians to post is by deliberately provoking them!)
d) How do the US pick their national team (in this and the baseball)? Its kind of related to “how does anyone pick their national team” but in a professional sport where club competitions are paramount, is there an easy way to do this?
e) Whilst I have been told (three times in that minute) that basketball is massively popular in China, and Yao Ming is like the Chinese David Beckham, its still a bit odd that he was chosen to light the Olympic torch. Don’t you give that honour to someone who is a genuine gold medal prospect, which as far as I can see, is not the case with the Chinese basketball team no matter how much they like the game?
f) Actually, once a seven foot six bloke has got hold of the Olympic torch, its probably quite hard to get it off of him, so maybe that’s the explaination.



  1. 1
    CMJ on 11 Aug 2008 #

    I too am far more interested (well, if I have to be at all) in the oddities of sports then actual sports. Other family members are constantly watching Olympics on TV so it’s hard to avoid (I had to feign interest in my sandwich at supper tonight while they oohed and aahed over swimming) but I did take note of a funny tidbit. Some Olympiad from some country in some sport (swimming I suppose) has teh first name of Nimrod. Poor guy. But I shouldn’t laugh because how do I know in another country in another laguage my first name isn’t an insult or maybe a even dirty word.

    While I don’t care to watch the Olympics, it’s nice that there’s an outlet for athletes to do what they do, plus I’ve also come to appreciate that for two weeks it keeps other family members occupied and I don’t have to feel bad for spending hours working on the computer and being anti-social.

  2. 2
    Martin Skidmore on 11 Aug 2008 #

    I guess Yao Ming is one of the few internationally famed Chinese athletes.

    I think the US appoint a coach for the Olympic team and let him pick the players. It’s been noted that no player from the champions, the Boston Celtics, was chosen this year.

  3. 3
    Martin Skidmore on 11 Aug 2008 #

    Actually “internationally famed” there = “lots of Americans have heard of him”.

  4. 4
    CMJ on 11 Aug 2008 #

    I think Yao Ming is the guy in the Garmin commercial, where he comes off of a billboard to hand a woman a Garmin device.

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