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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spoil Me

There's a lot to enjoy about the Olympics.  The pomp and circumstance.  The opportunity for national bragging rights.  This:

This is Ryan Lochte.  He swims.  But it's funner when he's just standing somewhere.  Half-dressed.

But there's another aspect of the Olympics that I'm really starting to enjoy.  That aspect is the people who go on social media to complain about how social media is ruining the excitement of prime time by posting the results hours before we watch the event unfold. 

It's really fun to watch people who follow ESPN or The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal or any reporter on the face of the planet get all up in arms when those news outlets or news reporters proceed to output and report the news.  It's like getting mad at babies for being cute or cake for being delicious or Tijuana for being hot and kind of scary. 

Don't want your biological clock to start ticking?  Stop holding 8 pounds of sweet-smelling newborn human.  Don't want to awaken your sweet tooth?  Pass on dessert.  Don't want to end up featured on National Geographic Channel's "Locked Up Abroad?"  Buy your herbal supplements in California.

Don't want to hear the news before you watch the newsworthy event?  STOP FOLLOWING THE NEWS!!!  Go to work, do your work, go home, eat dinner, read a book, and then turn on the television.  Answer the phone, answer your emails, and then you put that evil news-transmitting device in the bottom of your purse or the furthest-away pocket.  MAGIC!

I bet the vast majority of the people who are angry with Facebook/Twitter/the Internet for spoiling the Olympics have no idea that 600 million people in India are without power, that a huge patent trial between Apple and Samsung is taking place in a California courtroom, or that unemployment is at a record high in the Euro zone.  But that's all in the news, too.  Clearly people are able to filter what information penetrates their eyeballs.  They just need to take that filter to a new frontier.  With the 2-for-1 bonus that they'll both avoid spoilers AND they'll know how Lewis & Clark felt during their transcontinental expedition to the Pacific coast.

I, for one, love the spoilers.  I loved watching Missy Franklin win gold in the 100M backstroke and know, as I was watching, that she was going to win.  When NBC transitioned to men's gymnastics, it helped knowing that they were going to crash and burn before I suffered through their teensy-weensy errors of ghastly consequence.  To my mind, spoilers soften the blow and buoy the spirit.  Spoilers cradle the viewer as they do the viewing.  Spoilers are pad the walls of the sports-watching cave.

On the spectrum of sports fandom, I'd rank myself somewhere in the "above average" category.  I quite like sports, and I generally like watching them.  But I LOVE watching them when I know the result.

Too many years ago to think about, I watched one of my sister play in the state basketball championships.  She was the starting point guard.  They won the game.  It was agonizingly close throughout. She played brilliantly and had a decisive impact on her team's winning result.  It was exciting and excruciating and emotional to see her do it.

I watched the entire thing on videotape.  (To give you some idea of how long ago that was.)  I knew she had won when I sat down to watch.  And yet I still cringed every time her opponent scored, jumped up every time she did, and clapped whenever she had a great pass or a steal.  When the game was over, I was exhausted but elated.  In other words, I experienced all the swings of a game, but my emotions were cushioned by the reminder that I knew she and her team would ultimately pull off a victory.

It was perfect.

I wish every other game she played in high school and then in college could have come with a spoiler.  I wish the same for every game anyone else I care about has ever played and will ever play.

In fact, I'd love spoilers for life events outside of sports.  Which is probably why I found out the sex of my two children when they were still in utero.  Here are other spoilers I'd sign up for, if they were available:

  • On April 16 of every year, I would want to know what my taxes for the upcoming year would be.  So that I can both budget accordingly, and spread out my rage over 365 days instead of cramming it all into one uncomfortable weekend.
  • Every morning, I would like to be told what treats I will be offered over the course of the day.  So that if someone offers me an oatmeal raisin cookie at work, I can pass in favor of the chocolate peanut butter ice cream run my husband suggests after dinner.
  • When I go anywhere, I would like to know who I am going to run into there.  So that I can dress and mentally prepare accordingly.
  • When I travel, I'd like to know how many delays and inconveniences I will encounter.  So that I can have all of my back-up plans fully mobilized.
  • When I start a conversation with my husband, I would like to know if there is a fight lurking at the end of it.  So that I can pretend to hear my son crying and dodge that bullet.
  • When I start to cook dinner, I would like to know how badly it is going to turn out.  So that I can give up immediately and order pizza.
How about you?  Would you like more spoilers in your life?



  1. I dont like spoilers in sports like you do, but the idea of spoilers in life would be oh-so nice!!

  2. I particularly like the "outfit planning spoiler" so i can plan my grocery store visit in something OTHER than a sweat drenched tank and shorts. i imagine there are post-workout Saturday morning shoppers who feel the same way... ( i have run into them at the store)

  3. Sports, movies, book endings, spoil me silly! Guess I am kinda a cart before the horse type of gal! :) The one spoiler I NEVER want is to see a bride before she walks down the aisle! Love the build up!

  4. Thumbs up on this article and this excellent idea of "spoilers"...!!! brilliant! spoilers could be the modern day version of crystal balls. Apple, Inc. - could you please make these????