Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Something for everybody

August 3, 2012 

Eight years ago, I walked into the newsroom and saw a group of journalists huddled around a television. They were gazing intently at the screen, watching something serious and important.

I wondered what was happening. Had the stock market collapsed? A world leader assassinated? A celebrity being pursued by police on a Los Angeles freeway?

That's when I noticed who wasn't watching. The women were at their desks, writing, reporting, proofing. You know, doing their jobs.

What were the men doing?

Watching women's beach volleyball.

That pretty much sums up why people watch the Olympics. We don't necessarily watch them because they're sports. We watch them because they're interesting for some reason we can't explain.

OK, we all know why men find it interesting to see women in bikinis whacking each other on the backside after a brilliant set and spike.

But what's so interesting about women in parkas sweeping the ice with little brooms to make a stone move faster?

Don't know, but it's darned interesting, which can be said for most of the winter games.

Go out to any park and you'll see people biking or shooting hoops or running around a track. But catching big air on a snowboard? Skiing and shooting a rifle at the same time? Scattering your fellow short track speed skaters like human bowling pins?

Winter sports are even cooler in person. When my wife and I attended bobsledding in Albertville in 1992, we expected to be watching the action from bleachers.

Instead, we were allowed to roam paths alongside the bobsled chutes. We could have reached out and touched the sledders as they sped past.

But for some reason, the interesting summer sports get put on ice.

Spearfishing has been considered throughout the years but has never made the cut.

Icelandic folk wrestling was one and done in 1912.

And let's not forget the 1900 Paris summer games, which featured hot air ballooning, bocce ball, surf lifesaving and tug of war.

Where's ESPN8 ("The Ocho") when we need it? (That's a reference to the movie "Dodgeball"; and where's dodgeball when we need it?)

By the time St. Louis hosted the games in 1904, only tug of war had survived, but it was gone by 1924.

Oh, and Korfball died after the 1928 games.

Korfball is kind of like basketball, except it involves eight players, four female and four male.

When it debuted, it created a scandal because the women's uniforms exposed their -- brace yourself! -- ankles.

Some journalists refused to cover it.

Times sure have changed.

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, can be reached at dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com

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