Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 4

I had a recommendation from my brother to watch rugby, so I made it a point today to catch some. And I suddenly realized something as I watched:

I might prefer rugby over football!

Now this is very abrupt, considering I have about three hours of rugby viewing over thousands of hours of football viewing, but let's just put professional football up against rugby. If you only look at it that way, then it's a little easier to understand.

Before the comparisons begin, yes, both of these events cause life-changing health issues. When people collide with each other it's bound to damage the body in multiple ways. People are aware of this, and hopefully the athletes are aware of this and are playing in ways that would prevent a lot of issues for them in the future.

Football requires a lot of equipment, including helmets and pads. Rugby requires pretty much nothing - maybe a helmet.

Football is a series of 2-8 second plays that start and stop so that the refs can properly place the ball. Rugby just keeps going and going, with only small stops for penalties or fouls.

Professional football games can be 2 1/2 to 4 hours long. Rugby sevens - the version seen at the Olympics - only has two seven-minute halves. (Normal rugby is 80 minutes long - which is still way shorter than a football game! It does have a continuous clock like soccer, but still.)

Football is a series of running, passing, and kicking. Rugby has no forward passing - it must be lateral passing. You can run with the ball, but if you're tackled you have to give it up. (This creates a ruck for who gets control of the ball.)

There are very specific rules for tackling in both sports.

The total number of points achieved for an individual score in both sports is 7, but in rugby the "try" is 5 points at the beginning and then the kick afterwards is an additional 2, but the placement of the kick depends on where you score. In football it's usually in the same location, unless there's a penalty.

I think I like rugby a lot is because of its continuous play. There are no network-placed commercial breaks - everyone has to wait for their ads to air at halftime or the end. It's quick and powerful.

At these Olympics there is an active NFL player on the men's US team, Nate Ebner. He is on the New England Patriots, but got permission from the team to attend the Olympics! Better yet, he scored one of the trys! If this means more NFL players will be trying out rugby, I approve.

Here's some mini blurbs...

  • Today's roundup:
    • equestrian eventing
    • women's rowing
    • women's diving
    • women's gymnastics
    • men's judo
    • men's rugby
    • women's table tennis
    • men's handball
    • men's boxing
    • women's tennis
    • men's volleyball
    • men's beach volleyball
    • men's kayak
  • As expected, equestrian eventing was awesome. It's a combination of speed and jumps in a smaller space, so it's easier to view. New Zealand really blew it as a team - they had gold in the bag, and then their last horse and rider got too many penalties by missing the jumps! They actually penalized themselves outside of the podium. Australia also messed up, but they managed to stay on for bronze, causing the French to win!
    There was also an individual eventing competition in the afternoon, which combines the first three scores with another eventing score. There was no contest; the man from Germany - Michael Jung - hadn't gotten points added since dressage - he was amazing!
    Better yet - Phillip Dutton of the US won bronze!
  • If you've been watching rowing and are curious, "repechage" is the last chance for people who didn't already qualify to continue competing. They have to compete in one additional competition in order to move on.
  • I got the chance to watch Travis Stevens compete for the gold medal in judo! It was the first time that the notification for a gold medal match was relevant for me. Unfortunately, even though he tried everything, the Russian did one move that won it. But Stevens got silver.
  • Every time I watched Serena Williams play these past few days, she never looked like she was on top of her game. I wasn't surprised to see her lose today. 
  • I loved that there was so much talk about Chad le Clos and Michael Phelps, and in the end, Phelps had the gold and le Clos had nothing. 
  • I have NOT been impressed by our US teams in these games. Whenever I watch their round robin play, they do not do well. I watched the US men's volleyball team lose again today, after watching the US men's polo team lose before. It always seems like the women do better at the team sports.
  • Was it me, or did the gymnastics competition today seem too anticlimactic? We all knew who was going to win, and when the US women came out with nerves of steel, there wasn't any drama because we knew they were going to crush it! At least they, once again, lived up to expectations. (I'm looking at you, US men's gymnastics.)
  • Phelps was a beast tonight, and was exhausted by the end of the 4x200m relay. For being his last Olympics (probably) he is going out in style. (And if you're wondering why I haven't been gushing about my favorite Olympian, as they say in Hamilton: just you wait.
  • The one table tennis match I watched today featured a Japanese player who threw up the ball so high it left the view of the screen! It was like she was serving a volleyball in the air. And yet it landed right where she wanted it. I have no idea how they do it.
  • Just an FYI: I did not watch any of the NBC Primetime coverage tonight. Why? Well, I watched diving and gymnastics live, and I watched swimming on the live stream. I didn't miss a thing, and I didn't have 800 commercials or special interest stories to bog me down. It was fabulous. #boycottNBCprimtetime
Whenever I get kind of exhausted from all the coverage, I just remember that in two weeks I'm going to be begging for the Olympics to come back. (I did have to take an hour break to play Super Mario World this evening. It was necessary.)

Even more fun to come tomorrow! 

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