Log onto the Internet, and you’ll be privy to an #NBCFail debate surrounding whether or not the network should be streaming the Olympics live over the Internet, or show the events primetime hours later. I am not at all interested in that debate. I just want to watch the damn Olympics and I don’t want to know what happens before I get to watch it on TV. Since NBC is only offering the Olympics one way, then I am beholden to their genius.
The critical response to this year’s Olympics is, however, interesting. After all, we’re not used to having to worry about spoilers when it comes to sports. If you don’t watch Game 7 (do they have seven games?) of the World Series, you still know that the winner will be announced in the news and on Facebook and Twitter and you have to stay away. And if you hope to avoid finding out who won last night’s mid-season Yankees game, you can safely avoid spoilers by neglecting to log onto sports sites. But the Olympics are so huge, and so widely reported, especially in this day and age when social media and SEO reign supreme. The news of Michael Phelps losing, for instance, is going to be covered by every media outlet with a blog or a bit of ink, even if we don’t get to watch it ourselves until we’re curled up on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the air-conditioned comfort of our little homes. That means we need to keep away from all press while waiting for NBC.
But we can’t. It’s nearly impossible to ignore the news when logging onto the Internet, or fielding text alerts via your phone. (You just wanted to call your mother to say hello, for God’s sake! Why must USA Today and The New York Times ruin things for you?!) And once you know how a sporting event ends, it’s difficult to want to watch it later. It’s not like learning that Jack is really an alien at the end of Lost (he isn’t) — such a plot twist wouldn’t necessarily keep you from watching the show (because, how did he become an alien?!) — but knowing that Phelps picked up Gold will make his race as exciting as a group of 4-year-olds playing Marco Polo at a public pool. It’s just difficult to care anymore.
So, how can we continue caring? How can we get through the day and preserve the sanctity of the games? Follow these easy steps:
Sign Off of Everything: Yes, that means Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Tumblr, MySpace, Friendster, and even your old Prodigy account. Somewhere out there, someone is going to make some sort of comment about who wins or loses, and then you’re going to have to track that friend down and punch him or her right in the gut. The best thing to do is just give it up entirely. Yes, that means your Farmville is probably going to wither and the cows will all die, but so be it. The Olympics only happens every four years!
Twitter Away: Twitter is by far the worst offender, because most people not only follow their friends, but also news outlets like ESPN or the New York Times, which are going to be sending out little 140 character headlines of death. If you can’t stay away from Twitter, just unfollow all of them. Unfollow everyone who even uses the word Olympics. Your feed should be all stories of people’s cats, discussions about the weather, and annoying Instagram pictures of what your friends just ate (mmm, chicken parm sandwich). Everyone else can go suck it until the middle of August.
Don’t Read the News: Sorry, world, but nothing can happen right now. No regimes can topple, no presidential candidates can stumble, no natural disasters can occur. Well, these things can happen (and Mitt sure has had his fair share of stumbles), but I’m not going to read about them because I am not looking at the homepages of any newspaper, magazine, TV station, or even any blog about anything. All anyone is talking about is the Olympics, and no matter the topic of the blog, the results of some event might be hidden even in the headline. Don’t even send me links, because that might even give something away in the URL.
Be Preemptive: I have a friend who is immediately responding to all emails, texts, Gchats, and other IMs with the message, “DO NOT TELL ME ANYTHING ABOUT THE OLYMPICS!” Yes, this is what you have to do. Tell everyone that you do not want even a mention of what might be happening. No one should even talk about last night’s Olympics. What if you DVR-ed it but still haven’t watched? Just no Olympic talk at all, unless you’re simply hoping to send along pictures of sexy athletes.
Complete Isolation: Seriously, who knows if your husband read something about Missy Franklin or if one of your stupid kids is going to spill the beans about ladies’ gymnastics? You don’t know if someone on the subway is going to start talking about what he saw on the live feeds. You don’t know!
Permanent Vacation: The only solution is to take the next two weeks off. Just don’t go into work, put some blankets over the windows and lock yourself into a cave of athletic events, inspiration stories, and NBC news anchors. The only thing you have to live for is the Olympics, and you want them nice and pure. However, as soon as you start thinking that Bob Costas‘ hair is actually speaking to you, then it’s time to go outside and get some fresh air. Just don’t look in the newspaper box, whatever you do.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo credit: Getty Images]