Sunday, August 12, 2012

How I can still make jokes about dragon boating not being in the Olympics

Two weekends ago I again co-emceed the opening ceremonies of the Long Beach Dragon Boat festival, and coming right on the heels of the start of the London Olympics I couldn't help but make a quip about how our little event was more important because, unlike the Olympics, ours had dragon boating.

Another year of exciting clipboard holding.
Despite that denial from the IOC, having participated in a sport that most Americans not only don't follow but don't even know exists does give me a certain appreciation for those athletes who work hard and who are only acknowledged every four years when their competition is shown. Frankly, it's the way the audience not only watches something they ordinarily would ignore but get passionately involved in rooting for that makes me certain if dragon boating ever gets into the summer games it will be embraced by a viewing audience on whatever channel it airs, almost certainly at 3 a.m.; the Olympics demonstrate not only we do have a certain appreciation of what the human body is capable of doing, but when those bodies are competing in the name of nations we'll passionately follow.

For two weeks. Every four years. And that's two weeks more every four years than dragon boating gets now, so we'd take that.

Of course, dragon boating being an Olympic sport would put an end to me being able to quip about how the Olympics won't let it in. But given the acknowledged pattern of the public to abandon their interest in these (shall we say) less popular sports once the games are over, I'd still have the option to play on how dragonboating isn't more popular. Over the years, when emceeing such events (whether there was an Olympics that summer or not) I've mined that for jokes on how to get Americans to pay more attention, including having green jackets for the winners (like golf) or having soccer announcers at the finish line to yell an emphatic "gooooooal!" when the boats cross the finish line.

Olympic participation or not, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to make those lame jokes about its popularity when emceeing for quite some time. However, being in the Olympics might make it so when I allude to dragon boating I get something other than blank stares.

That would be something.

During the opening ceremony, when he spoke the festival organizer alluded to how although dragon boating wasn't in the Olympics they were still working toward that. Afterward I threw in the following joke:

"Although dragon boating isn't in the Olympics, you know what is? Dressage. That's right—horse ballet. So maybe if we put horses on the boats we could get in as an equestrian event."

Yeah, it elicited a level of laughter appropriate for that level of comedy. Those jokes always do.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe the IOC will ditch the scandal-ridden non-sport of badminton and replace it with the squeaky-clean non-sport of dragon boating. It's all about image. Not sports.


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