Before you see that logo of 3 figures doing ring-around-the-rosey, no, this is not deja vu all over again. Now that you know I’m not fooling your mind, let’s note that today (Saturday, August 6) is the day that the Olympic Games in Rio really get underway. The opening ceremony was last night, during which I posted my last post about the Olympics in general. Typing up that post felt like a great respite from NBC’s tape-delayed (insert eyeroll here) and quite banal broadcast of the event. (Yes, Matt, Meredith, and Hoda, Djibouti does sound like “your booty.”) The broadcast was so bad that I admit I turned off the TV and went to bed not to long after adding my Olympic post to my blog. That meant I missed the three most important parts of any Olympic opening ceremony: The official opening pronouncement by the host country’s head of state; the entry and raising of the Olympic flag, done to the tune of the Olympic Hymn; and the lighting of the cauldron. If anyone stayed up and watched, let me know whether or not NBC showed the Olympic Oath; that’s a relatively minor yet important part of the ceremony.
It’s that “quality” of television broadcasting, at least that which is practiced by NBC, that can drive a person to drink. Which reminds me of a 1998 episode of Dharma & Greg where title character Greg, his father, father-in-law, and best buddy from work were watching the Winter Olympics and went the “Hi, Bob” route: Every time the Olympic flame appeared on television, they’d belt back a shot (“Flame!”). They got so tipsy that they challenged themselves into a quick flight from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe to toboggan down a snow-covered hill together, almost just like the 4-man bobsled teams on TV were doing (albeit backwards).
So, let’s have that 1990s TV flashback serve as the springboard for a completely and sincerely humorous little thing I’m calling “Allison’s Olympic Drinking Game.” The rules are simple: Every time you see anything on the below list occur during an Olympic telecast, take a drink. Before I proceed, I do not, by any means, condone chronic drinking of alcohol (heck, I’m a teetotaler); therefore, I recommend substituting alcohol with whatever the official soft drink, orange juice, or bottled water of the Olympic Games happens to be. Or milk, if you have it. If you want to act drunk, by all means go ahead and expand your acting range; just know, though, that not everyone appreciates inebriated behavior, alcohol-fuled or otherwise. Whatever you drink, brace yourself since a lot of what’s listed below happens so much you’ll set an Olympic record for shortest run to the restroom.
A note: Since the opening ceremony occurred last night, I’ll retroactively include what would occur in said ceremony. But clip and save this list for Pyeongchang or Tokyo, where “Allison’s Olympic Drinking Game” will resume after they’re finished in Rio. So, here we go:
- Whenever the Olympic flame appears, do what the guys did on that Dharma & Greg episode and have a drink. (“Flame!”)
- Whenever the host city’s most famous landmark appears (like, say, Rio’s), have another drink.
- Whenever a commercial from an “official Olympic sponsor” airs, drink. Drink again if it shows imagery of an Olympic athlete in training or performing.
- During any image of beautiful scenery from the host country, marvel in awe at how beautiful it is, then drink. (Say what you will about NBC’s coverage, but they have the videography down pat.)
- When the countdown to the ceremony’s opening is shown, count down before having a drink.
- When an opening ceremony segment appears to be real artistically abstract, drink. Or don’t, since the visual appeal of an Olympic opening ceremony is strange enough of a trip without any intoxicant.
- When the announcers crack lame jokes about a country (i.e. Djibouti) or get their geography wrong as Matt, Meredith, and Hoda did last night, have a drink — but not before raising your glass in tribute to Jim McKay; that guy always did his Olympic homework.
- Whenever you see slo-motion footage that’s pre-produced and not an instant replay, drink.
- When you realize what you’re watching on NBC is tape delayed (again), drink. Or switch to another NBC-owned channel that’s actually airing a live event. Your choice.
- Whenever the announcers go on and on about an athlete’s humbling background, no matter their country or sport, drink up. Drink twice if it’s part of one of those “up close and personal” segments.
- When NBC’s cameras linger too long on a celebrating or distraught athlete… well, let the image get to your heartstrings before drinking. NBC wants you to feel that joy and sadness, dagnabbit!
- When, during a feature segment, a reporter attempts to play the sport being reported on (e.g. taking a stab, pardon the unintended pun, at fencing)… first, make sure that you’re not actually listening to a crazy morning radio stunt. If you’re not, then drink.
- When you’re watching the diving events and hearing Cynthia Potter‘s intelligent, articulate, and at times piercing analysis, don’t drink. Seriously, listen to what Ms. Potter has to say; she knows what she’s talking about.
- When you’re watching the equestrian events, don’t drink then either. And if you have someone nearby who loves horses (such as my 13-year-old niece), put the liquid refreshments away and enjoy the event together. Seriously, who doesn’t love the graceful beauty of a horse?
- If a report airs that includes any reference to any sort of Olympic-related controversy, be it something about the host city or country, a cheating bust, or political or geopolitical situations, that’s another time to put your drink aside and pay attention to serious world events.
- Whenever someone in the same room as you watches an event and says something like, “Gee, I never knew that sport existed,” everyone in the room drinks.
- When the Olympic flag is lowered and the cauldron extinguished at the closing ceremony, drink. And get back to life as normal. Your 17-day Olympic marathon is complete until another two or four years, when another tantalizing roster of Olympic nations, athletes, events, and iconography await to stir up your emotions.
That’s all that I can come up with for “Allison’s Olympic Drinking Game” for now. But don’t let this be the entire list. Make up your own rules, and feel free to share them in the comment section below. Thanks, and remember to always drink responsibly.