Monday, January 28, 2008

Swedish Sports TV Placates Me

Who needs the National Football League when you have alpine skiing? Every Saturday and Sunday in Sweden the TV is filled with winter sports. And I love it. I’m a big fan of winter sports. Mostly just because I love to ski. But having lived in the US for so long most of my winter sports watching comes every four years. Aside from the Olympics, winter sports don’t get a whole lot of airtime.

So I don’t know much about the sport from a technical, competitive aspect. Sure we’ve got the X-Games and a few races here and there that show up on NBC but they are few and far between. So being able to watch skiing almost every weekend has been a nice surprise. It allows me to get a sense of what elite skiing is all about. And how the competition side of skiing works rather than just the weekend warrior side.

Which I think is why I appreciate being able to watch it on TV so much. Granted, the Swedish sports announcers leave something to be desired. And make John Madden sound like a well educated, insightful, intelligent man. But still. They know some stuff. And some stuff is better than no stuff. So I listen intently. And learn that leaning a little too early going into a turn can cause you to lose one hundredth of a second. And with as many turns as they make during a regular slalom run that adds up.

I’ve seen men and women eat shit. There’s really no better way to describe it. They just eat shit. It looks like it hurts like hell. And it must. I’ve slid down the mountain before face first. And it hurt. And I wasn’t going over 100 km/h. I’ve seen competitors cry after realizing they lost by three tenths of a second. And watched them cry after winning by three tenths of a second. I’ve watched ridiculous celebrations that always seem to be a bit constrained because of the huge six foot planks attached to their feet. It’s glorious.

So while I miss the NFL. And history being made. I try to console myself with the knowledge that I’ve seen skiers flying down the mountain at 140 km/h in controlled idiocy. I’ve seen skiers slide down the mountain in uncontrolled fear. And I’ve seen it all while sitting in Stockholm, Sweden. Which is pretty cool.

Of course, I’d give anything to be watching the Super Bowl next week in the US with all of my friends. Ski races happen every weekend. A team trying to stay undefeated in the Super Bowl on the biggest sporting scene in the United States? That doesn’t happen every weekend.


  1. Sweet. Maybe I should apply for a job there. Although from your previous posts, I think I'll have to change my name and smile less ;) BTW the super bowl is going to suck this year anyway. I hate choosing between the top dog and Eli Manning. Booo

  2. When I was in Sweden I found myself captivated by the skiing coverage on tv...I couldnt understand anything the announcers were saying other then Bode Miller and Darren Rahlves :)
    I tried to explain to my swedish friend that Bode Miller is twice as popular in Sweden as he is in the U.S. but they couldnt understand that!
    I really tried to get into the Swedish sporting culture as heavy as I could. Already a huge soccer fan, I attended a professional handball match, a professional indoor bandy game, and even played some bandy myself.
    I love Swedish sports, and for a country of only 9 million people they produce a ridiculous amount of world class sporting talent.
    Heja Sverige!

  3. @chase - no no, sports announcers can do whatever they like so you're good to go. and no no no. Eli Manning is a douche. So in fact the choice is easy. Go Pats.

    @travis - yeah it's pretty entertaining stuff over here. I wrote a post about going to a hockey game here with my brother. it was glorious. and very different. I haven't been to a handball game yet though. innebandy I have. and basketball. but I would definitely like to see a handball game. or even a bandy game. we'll see...