Tuned into the Olympics coverage on NBC this weekend, only to discover its tape-delay programming was showing the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Who cares? We like this Mary Lou Retton’s chances. Besides, we all need a sporting diversion from the current presidential race, a political mushroom cloud of a cliff dive with all the decency and societal merit of a discarded heroin syringe at your local tent city.
“We played a bunch of cowards,” women’s soccer goalie Hope “Trump” Solo said after the U.S. of Us lost to Sweden. Because someone who has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence should be talking about cowardice.
Let’s not let one ugly American make ugly Americans of us all. We can always count on the sports arena to keep us above the fray of political insults and international dust-ups.
We’ll let swimming ambassador Lilly King cool the waters for us.
“I’m not a fan,” King said after glaring down a Russian swimmer who was allowed to compete despite multiple drug suspensions.
Because, if anyone has the moral high ground when it comes to Olympic doping, it’s ’Murica, home of the drug free. And Marion Jones. And Lance Armstrong. And Carl Lewis. And Justin Gatlin.
Wait ... you mean we let drug-suspended Gatlin back on the Olympic team?
Before you flip the channel back to Fox News for the softer, kinder world of Trump v. Clinton, there really is more to these Olympics than poor national anthem manners and celebrated DUI champs.
Let’s win or place with the quiet respect of Rafer Johnson, or the estimable protest of Tommie Smith,
There’s swimmer Katie Ledecky, who touched the 800-meter freestyle wall in such world-record time, she had enough time to win three more medals before the runner-up pulled in.
Want to see Ledecky win another race?
Want to see her do it again?
There’s Simone Biles, the best gymnast on the globe, making it clear America is the new Romania when it comes to walking on air. There’s Simone Manuel, the first African-American woman to win a swimming gold, who spoke with class about police brutality and the hope for change.
You’ve got Michelle Carter, the first American woman to win the shot put, and Ryan Murphy taking two backstroke golds. You hardly know about either, and that’s because they won without vicious complaint.
So, enough with the sore losing and sour winning. Just because it’s an election year, we don’t have to let our presidential politics infect our sports entertainment. If we wanted name-calling and eye poking, we’d ride a donkey to a Trump rally, or an elephant to a Clinton town hall.
When we want a septic infection, we’ll tune back to political TV. Or take a dive in the Rio pool.
1. If we say the Fresno State football team can’t run the football, it’s more of a health update than an offensive critique. Five running backs are sitting in the trainer’s tub after freshman Saevion Johnson got a golf cart ride out of Saturday’s scrimmage. Good thing the Bulldogs have veteran quarterbacks to carry the heavy end of the piano vs. Nebraska … oh wait.
2. Fresno State baseball coach Mike Batesole has sent a lot of ballplayers to the Big 30. Aaron Judge will prove to be the best. As far as great starts go, you won’t beat his first major league at-bat Saturday – a home run to center field for the Yankees. Just, wow.
3. You’ve got to tune into today’s 49ers preseason, and not because you need more Blaine Gabbert reps in your life. That’ll be the Clovis voice of Kate Scott giving play-by-play on KNBR 680 when the 49ers play the Broncos. Hope she has the 49ers punt team memorized.