Thursday, August 26, 2004

Going for Bronze! that doesn't roll off the tongue "quite" like "going for gold," but for the Iraqi soccer team, I still think it's an amazing feat. Tomorrow afternoon here (so it's like 3AM for most of y'all), Iraq will play Italy for the olympic bronze medal. The folks here aren't really expecting a win since Italy is known to be a really tough team, but then Portugal was supposed to be "the team to beat," and Iraq's beaten them, so _I_ still have confidence in them!

I even know some of their names now, although I still call #8 "Cal Ripken," and #11 "Jeffrey Hammonds." :)

What's funny is to see the difference between the name they have written on their jersey and the name that is written on the on-screen text. Transliteration of Arabic text is a very subjective thing. But what I don't get is that Eastern European teams have their names printed in Cyrillic text on their jerseys. Why can't Middle Eastern teams have their names printed in Arabic text?

It's also funny when they write the name on the screen for a goal summary or something because here, everyone goes by their first name. Their "middle" name is their father's name, and their "last" name is their grandfather's name. So the name on the back of their jersey is their "first" name, not their "last" name like we're used to seeing. But that confuses the people who write the stats up on the screen, so they put the "last" name first and the "first" name last....sometimes....

Oh, and just in case I've confused anyone, all of the sports channels that we get are announced in Arabic, but some of them are apparently just getting the uncut NBC feed, so we get the game stats in English.

It's been interesting to watch the coverage here because they don't prepackage it like NBC does for y'all. This afternoon I watched the women's diving competition (I dunno how high, but it was a springboard, not platform....10m maybe?). I didn't just see the American and the top five or six....I saw every dive of all 16 contestants....and I also didn't just see the final round or two....the coverage started from the first round and just kept going. I got a little tired of pikes after a while, so I turned it off, but it was neat to see the Brazilian girl who was 16th out of 16th....but who always smiled and waved at the camera. :)

We also saw the heats of the mens' 5000m (running) yesterday. Both of them. You'd _never_ get to see that in the States because it's "boring" (and I can't really deny that point)...but that also means that you'd never get to see the American guy who ran in the first heat who actually had a beard. He came in next-to-last in his heat, but he finished! And when there's nothing going on, you either watch people warm up, or you just watch the track get re-fitted for the next race (no commercials). It's kinda interesting to see _all_ of it. But, we don't get the announcers telling us who's good and who's got what sob story. And we don't get the backstories of selling sandwiches to pay for someone's trip or overcoming brain cancer in order to qualify. That's kinda nice and kinda sad at the same time. You don't get as emotionally invested when you know nothing about the people, but it makes you just cheer for the American. You don't even know which one that is, but you still cheer for them anyway, which makes it kinda fun. :)

No comments: