The Olympic ideal is to “build a better world through sport.” It’s a quaint — and certainly, debatable — notion. The secret of the popularity of the Olympics, however, can be summed up in two words: beach volleyball.
It’s the one Olympic sport that even has cheerleaders.
NBC, no dummy in the big scheme of things, is showcasing beach volleyball in these Olympics, giving the sport more prime-time coverage than, say, field hockey or softball, which is played fully clothed.
Reports the Vancouver Sun:
President George W. Bush went a couple of days ago. He wasn’t chased by cheerleaders, but one of the U.S. women’s team bent over to let him give her the traditional butt-pat for good luck. But with photographers standing by, Bush chose instead to tap her on the middle of the back with the back of his hand.
There’s a “traditional butt-pat? Who knew?
The Washington Post’s Paul Fahri writes in his blog, however, that the reason the more covered-yourself-up sports are relegated to the late, late-night slots, is women.
Not everybody gets the fun. The musical element has to go, says San Francisco Chronicle pop culture critic Peter Harlaub
It’s awesome that beach volleyball is an Olympic sport, but the blasts of rock music between points (which sounded like they were coming from a dude with a boom box) need to go. This is the Olympic Games, not your uncle Dave’s annual beach barbecue.
But, perhaps beach volleyball — or sand volleyball as it’s called in the land-locked regions of our country — is more popular than we think. In Faribault, for example, one bar reports 158 teams are participating in its four-month “season.”
“It’s supposed to be recreation, so people can leave their stress from work and everything else at home and come and have fun. That’s what it should be all about,” its organizer says.
Now, there’s an Olympic ideal you can really get — wait for it — behind.