I love sports. I think I’ve made that abundantly clear on this site. During certain times of the year I build a good chunk of my weekend around a six pack of beer and whatever sports happen to be on. Since I was a kid watching ball games with my dad, it’s one of my favorite things to do.
However, as much as I love sports, I don’t watch the Olympics.
Even when the Olympics were held in America cities and during primetime TV, I didn’t care to watch. I usually stuck to baseball games and preseason football.
That’s not to say I don’t respect the Olympics or the athletes who dedicate years of their lives to training for them. Those athletes are remarkable individuals. I don’t doubt that for a second. Their stories are certainly worth telling. I’ll gladly cheer for those stories.
I just don’t care to watch. That’s just my personal preference.
As for why I feel this way, I promise it has nothing to do with the politics that often get caught up in the Olympics. I understand that has always been an issue. This year has been no exception, especially with the pandemic.
Politics in sports has never bothered me. I honestly think people make way too big a deal out of it, so much so that it basically becomes a virtue signaling contest for both sides. However, I won’t get into that.
The underlying reason why I just don’t care for the Olympics is that it’s just so hard to follow. That’s somewhat unavoidable. Unlike football, baseball, or basketball season, the Olympics only happen every four years. Each time, the athletes change and unless they do something incredible, you never know their names.
It’s hard to have a favorite athlete.
It’s also hard to have a favorite team.
Since the Olympics are divided by country, you’re pretty much set into who you’re rooting for, unless you want to make things awkward to your fellow countrymen. There’s no regional drama like there is in other sports. With the end of the Cold War, there aren’t many rivalries either.
It’s just the best athletes from one country competing for another. The only competitive force driving them has to do with their nationality. It’s rarely something they chose. It’s just a matter of circumstance. Honestly, where’s the drama in that?
The reason why other professional sports are so compelling is because there’s a story behind a franchise. There’s a legacy and a history behind a team or an identity. Whether it’s a football team, a soccer team, or a baseball team, there’s a underlying narrative behind the game.
With the Olympics, that story is restricted to each individual athlete. While those stories can be compelling, those athletes usually only compete once and never again. That means their story is over quickly and there’s nothing worth following after that.
For me, sports without a larger story is like cake without frosting. You can still eat it, but it’s going to be bland. Again, this isn’t me knocking the Olympics or what they stand for. This is just my reason for not watching or following it, despite my love of sports. Then, there are many scandals and controversy, but that’s another story altogether.