Frantz: Olympics can be a world-class bore 

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

There, have I met my federal obligation to be excited about the Olympics yet? I mean, I don’t want anyone calling me anti-American simply because I find most of the entire Olympic experience about as thrilling as a WNBA, ahem, highlight reel.

Let me put it this way: When someone in a uniform bearing the flag of the United States is launching bullets, grenades or missiles into an enemy’s territory, I’m wearing my red-white-and-blue face-paint, cheering on the good guys and waving my giant foam middle finger at the bad guys. But when our boys (and girls) are instead launching shuttlecocks into the private domain of foreigners wielding nothing more than oversized fly-swatters, am I duty-bound as an American to stand and cheer?

I mean, come on — badminton? We’re supposed to take this fortnight of fun and frivolity seriously when the world’s best “athletes” are standing around like guests at a summer family reunion in some distant cousin’s backyard spanking a rubber ball with wings on it back and forth across a makeshift volleyball net until it lands on the patio in Uncle Jeb’s iced tea?

U-S-A! U-S-A!

So why not horseshoes? I mean, nothing says national pride and superiority like a throwing a big “U” around a tent-stake, right? How about lawn-darts? Frisbee? Miniature golf? Hell, we might as well put up a tetherball pole and really separate the men from the boys!

U-S-A! U-S-A!

And then there’s the all-important “BMX cycling” event. Remember the kids you always have to shoo-away when they’re hanging out in your street, blocking traffic and trying to do front-tire wheelies and bunny-hops next to your parked car. Now they’re national heroes!

U-S-A! U-S-A!

And of course, who can’t get excited about Olympic fencing? Two guys dressed up like beekeepers and pretending to stab one another? I mean, the swords don’t even have points on the end of them! You want me on my feet and cheering for the Stars and Stripes? Then take off the masks, sharpen the swords and let’s see who bleeds!

Same goes for archery — what’s with all this stationary target nonsense? You want to find out who the real athletes are, position the archers on opposite ends of the field and let’s get it done! Dodgeball rules apply!

And don’t forget about those compelling equestrian events. One question, though: Why do they give medals to the riders and not the horses? Who’s doing all the running here?

“Our little people go for horseback rides much better than your little people do! And you just try to out-dressage us! Just try!”

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Don’t misunderstand, it’s not as if there aren’t real athletes on display in Beijing, and I am indeed following the remarkable Michael Phelps and his quest for a record eight gold medals in swimming. The gymnasts are amazing athletes as well, and many of our most memorable Olympic moments have been provided by 15-year-old, 4-foot-aa girls.

Obviously, I’d like to see the nation that invented the game of basketball remind the world that they are still nothing more than the Washington Generals to our Globetrotters, and there may even be a few more (baseball, boxing, wrestling) that matter, too. But if we could just stick to the essential games that require real athletic talent, and eliminate the nap-inducing pseudo-sports that interrupt them, we could probably get this whole thing done in a long weekend. If things continue as they are, however, then you might as well get ready for Rock-Paper-Scissors and Texas Hold ‘Em at the 2012 Games in London.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at bfrantz@sfexaminer.com.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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