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Everybody's An Expert

August 15, 2008 - Wes Burns
Have you been watching the Olympics? Most people have, myself included. I like the Olympics. Countries from around the world, the height of human competition, all the jazz. And of course this time around many Iowans are tuned in to watch the performance of Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines.

Many Iowans. Frankly, a little too many. What? Too many people watching our local hero perform at the greatest athletic competition in the world? Yep, too many people.

My problem isn't really with viewership but rather the opinions of the viewers themselves. Just tonight on a local news broadcast that shall remain nameless I saw an interview with some local fans of women's gymnastics. The HILARIOUS portion was that the viewers were mechanics, firefighters and other seemingly too macho professionals that were all swept up in the medal chase.

Why is it that if an NFL team or major league baseball team starts performing above and beyond the new fans are called "fair weather" fans or other, more derogatory terms? Remember when the Red Sox were going to "break the curse" and all of the sudden there were thousands of Red Sox fans? Ever seen a Patriots hat on someone who couldn't name three players?

Why do people get a pass on the Olympics? Just tonight, while enjoying a game of pool with some friends of mine, we decided to play some music. We were at a bar. The jukebox was on. As soon as the first song started we were immediately yelled at by some lout who was so drunk he couldn't remember why his kids never call to turn the music off.

His reason? He and a few of his leather Muppet looking compatriots were watching women's gymnastics. Aside from the fact that people in public places will play music if there is a machine designed to do so, why did this guy even care? Do you think he's watching the world gymnastic competition during the off years? No. Is he keeping up with new training schedules, or even know what the qualifying rounds are called? No. But its on, and he's an expert.

Oh, how the experts appear from the mist during the Olympics. One competitor being from a place that is vaguely close to your town and all of a sudden you know the intricacies of point deduction for balance check? Every four years this country is descended upon by arm chair judges that seem to think their perspective is clearly more accurate than the people that can actually pronounce the name of the moves.

I'm not saying I am an expert. I don't really like gymnastics but the Olympics is a time to marvel at what humans can do in their peak condition. And unless you have some expertise or at least experience in the matter than that is all there is; nothing more. So if you're going to watch a performance of a sport you don't fully understand then fine; but don't stop me from listening to Oingo Boingo as a result.


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