Tuesday afternoon. I’m watching Italy take down Greece in men’s water polo. I’ve been mulling over some questions about water polo in the 2016 Rio Olympics:
1. Why are the Australians so cool? Everything they do is cool. When they swim, they look cooler than everyone else. When they shoot, it’s with a powerful coolness that no one else possesses. When they talk, they sound so cool. When they yell, they sound even cooler.
2. How does Southeast Europe manage to dominate the sport of water polo? Here’s something to consider: The population of Montenegro is 675,000; the population of California is 39 million. Montenegro beat the US 8-5 in Rio. I think it’s great that smaller countries are able not just to stand up to the geographical giants, but to beat them regularly in world water polo competition. Hungary was won nine Olympic gold medals in water polo since 1900. The US has won zero.
3. How did that American play-by-play announcer get his job and why hasn’t NBC fired him? Seriously. He’s terrible. I would rather listen to silence than to be further subjected to his painful efforts at run-on sentences. He lost my support in the first game he announced when he referred to a player’s shot on goal as “delicious.”
4. Why do British announcers sound so fabulous no matter what the sport? The British announcers are top notch, as is the Australian guy. I love their accents. I love their descriptions of the play and the players. The Europeans, I am compelled to admit, have a much more colorful vocabulary when describing sport. My favorite so far: “And the end-of-play hooter has sounded.” So much more interesting than, “And that’s the final horn.”
5. Is there a strategic reason for the beards? Men’s water polo is like a high fashion ad in GQ. Ripped dudes with scraggly beards. They look great. Maybe that’s the only reason. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t allow them to swim faster.