Tag Archives: Television. Americas Cup

America’s Cup Runneth Overtime

26 Sep

Well, I just had to do it! I heard that the America’s Cup had come down to one final race and that team USA had forged from behind to erase an 8 race deficit to tie the series at 8 all, thereby forcing team New Zealand to battle it out in one final race for the championship!

Since I’m an old sports junky, I just had to watch. Sadly, I’ll usually watch just about anything if they call it a championship. I remember years ago when ESPN had just begun its 24 hour TV sports coverage back when cable TV was brand new and having more than 5 channels to watch on TV seemed like one of the greatest achievement in the annals of human history…at least to those of us who grew up in the 50’s.

Anyway, ESPN was offering the bicycle motocross world championships that day…for 6 year olds! Who wouldn’t watch that? When the winner crossed the finish line and crashed, the adult announcer quickly ran on the course to get an exclusive on the scene interview with the young champion. “How do you feel about winning the championship?” He asked. Uncontrollable sobbing was the champion’s only reply.

Jeez, I thought. This 24 hour sports stuff will never work!

However, here I was in 2013 watching a yacht race of all things but without all of the boring yachts and staid yachtsmen and definitely not presented in the leisurely pace that we think of when we think of yachts and the Richy rich types who sail them. Nope in this race the defending champion gets to design the yacht that all other challengers must use to compete against the champion. And this year team Oracle USA chose a yacht design that was so expensive that only 3 other countries could dare to mount a challenge. Then they set the championship at not the best of 7 or best of 9 races as is usual in this 161 year old racing series but rather at the unusual and unprecedented best of 17!

But I must say that it was an excellent event to watch. The graphics and camera work and expert analysis were spot on. And the “yachts” zipped across the San Francisco Bay at incredible speeds that made it seem as if one were watching the Indy 500 and not some boring sailboat race.

And after being behind 8-1, Team USA came all the way back to win 9-8! Amazing! USA! USA! USA! It was a comeback for the ages!

But actually, in all fairness to the truth, Team USA was already ahead 10 races to 8 when the final, winner take all race, took place!  Why? Because the championship was stretched to 19 races because of a legal twist that occurred just before the event when Team USA was penalized two points by an independent jury that ruled that they had…I hate to say it… illegally altered their yachts in preliminary events held last year…so Team USA had to win 11 races while Team New Zealand just had to win 9.

Still they miraculously won all of those races after being behind 8-1! How could they have possibly made such a comeback? It truly was amazing…although you see for me once a competitor has been cited for cheating one never knows if they were caught the first time they cheated, the last time they cheated, or…somewhere in between. At least that’s how I look at it. I find it pointless to ever compete with someone who has been caught at cheating at what you’re competing for.

But I digress…and I must admit that I have become jaded after all of my many years of sports watching and playing. I now believe that It is definitely not how you play the game. Nor is it about whether you win or lose. I think It’s just about how good of a show you put on. And this America’s Cup, I must admit, was an excellent show that i did enjoy watching and I think that may be about all that we can ask for anymore.

What’s “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” I suppose? … but watching that little boy cross the finish line some 30 years ago and then so eloquently expressing his inner most feelings at that compelling moment may just have been the purest and most honest sports moment that I have ever seen on television in this modern age of sports coverage.

Oh well, Only 3 years to the next America’s Cup challenge. In the interests of fairness and in the interest of saving a lot of people and countries a lot of money, I say we use imaginary boats. After all from what I’ve read, it would be within the rules to do so.

And if they put that championship on TV…I’ll definitely have to watch it!

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