Please add snow globe watching to the Olympics
Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2022
The current Games of the Winter Olympics being held in Beijing, China isn’t – at least right now – my favorite thing to watch on TV.
I’m a Red-White-and-Blue kind’a guy when our Yankee-Doodle-Dandy athletes perform on the world stage. But for some reason, I’m not glued to the TV as I’ve been during past Olympics.
I have tuned in on occasion since the Games got underway on Feb. 4. I caught some of the bobsled action this past weekend, and saw the tail end of one of the snowboarding events…but I can’t remember who completed or who won. Guess I either dozed off in my recliner or just simply lost interest.
Maybe it’s because the events held at a Winter Olympics. Since most involve speeding along the snow and ice, either on skates or skis, I just can’t relate because I’ve never engaged in that type of activity. I’ve never been snow skiing or ice skating. The closest such activity for me would have come in my childhood when the neighborhood kids would slide down the hill on Pine Tops Road just beyond Junie Warren’s house. I didn’t win any medals, but it sure was loads of fun!
Perhaps that’s what the modern-day Winter Olympics are missing…just plain, simple, old-fashioned fun. Maybe those in charge need to spice things up a bit by adding events that even simple folks like me can either participate in or relate to.
Here’s an example….snow globe watching. I can sit for hours on end, watching those tiny flakes of snow fall on a miniature winter scene.
We can ramp that up a bit by making it a competitive sport. Participants shake their snow globes for a pre-determined number of seconds and then set it on a table. The winner is determined by the most number of seconds that elapse from the start until the last snowflake settles on the bottom of the globe.
How about outdoor ping pong on ice skates? And instead of keeping score, and since ping pong balls are white in color, the winner is the participant who strikes a non-returnable shot that ricochets off the table into a tall bank of snow from where the opposing player cannot locate it within 30 seconds.
If that doesn’t hold your attention, perhaps a thrilling game of downhill running will do the trick. You might ask what’s so thrilling about running down a hill? I forgot to add in the other elements of this sport….it’s done at night, while blindfolded, with a pack of wild dogs giving chase.
Okay…I’ve had my fun thinking of events that may add some spills and thrills to the Winter Olympics. But did you know there were some in the past that are now no longer a sanctioned event?
I found these on the Bleacher Report website (www.bleacherreport.com) that were once a part of the Winter Olympics:
Dog Sled racing was demonstrated at the Winter Games of 1932 (Lake Placid, NY) and 1952 (Oslo, Norway). While the sport is still popular today, it never gained traction as an Olympic event.
Military Patrol was an official medal sport at the 1924 Winter Games held in Chamonix, France (that, by the way, was the year of the very first Winter Olympics). “Unlike the biathlon or winter pentathlon, military patrol is a team sport, usually involving a 25-kilometer cross-country ski (or 15 kilometers for women) and a 500-1,200-meter mountain climb, in addition to the shooting. In 1960, the sport formally gave way to the biathlon.” (Bleacher Report)
Ice Stock Sport was demonstrated at the 1936 and 1964 Winter Games held respectively in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and Innsbruck, Austria. This sport is a variation of curling, except with a vertical stick at the top of the stone instead of a handle. Additionally, the stone is smaller and is flung in more of a bowling style. (Bleacher Report)
NOTE: That leads me to think of another thrilling sport to add to the Olympics….ice bowling (the same as regular bowling, complete with stale beer and tasteless “cardboard” pizza!!)
Bandy was demonstrated in the 1952 Winter Games in Norway. It’s a mixture of ice hockey (with a ball rather than a puck) and soccer (with 11 players per side who play two, 45-minute halves). This sport sounds eerily familiar to a game I once participated in while visiting a friend at his dorm on the campus of ECU. It was played in the long, inside hallway of a dorm using brooms and a rubber ball. Yes, there was alcohol involved….and a few bloody noses as well!
Winter Pentathlon was demonstrated at the 1948 Winter Games held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Bleacher Repot notes it as a “competition blending cross-country skiing, shooting, downhill skiing, fencing, and horseback riding.”
Speed Skiing was a demonstration sport art the 1992 Winter Olympics held in Albertville, France. It’s as simple as it sounds….skiing down a mountain in a straight line. That sounds pretty dangerous to me….so I like it! The only drawback is that the world record for speed skiing is 156.2 mph. I’m wondering how a skier stops themselves at the end of the course….maybe by one of those devices used to stop a jet landing on an aircraft carrier???
Skijoring was demonstrated at the 1928 Winter Games (Switzerland). Once again, this is a fairly simple sport where a participant skis while being pulled by a horse, dog, or a motor vehicle. It wasn’t made clear on how a winner is determined, but it did mention there are versions of this sport where points are awarded for jumps or tricks.
While it wasn’t on a pair of skis, this particular sport is similar to one I participated in during my younger days. We called it redneck sledding. It involved having a hood off a junked vehicle, flipping it over, attaching it with a rope to the back of a pick up truck and being pulled through a snow-covered farm field. We scored “points” by not being hurled off the hood and breaking a bone!!
What’s your favorite winter “game”? Contact me as shown below.
Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-332-7207.