Sports? Who Needs 'Em?
I have mentioned games and sports a few times before, not so much as a space filler but because they provide an opportunity to bind groups together and as a substitute for war.
It says much about Indonesian patriotism that once again the Olympic Games will not be shown on any Indonesian terrestrial TV channel. It also says much about Indonesia's parochialism that the 17th National Games
, which opened yesterday in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, are going to be clogging up the TV schedules for the next week or so.
The irony is that SBY believes that these games will be "a springboard to international glory
This is what RCTI said four years ago about the Athens Games: "Learning from our past experience, it is not commercially advantageous to buy broadcasting rights for a multi-event sporting showcase like the Olympics, because we have to buy it in one entire package, while our viewers are only interested in a few sports such as badminton and soccer
won the men's single gold in badminton and was quoted as saying that he did it for the millions of Indonesian people who were watching. Except we weren't.
This is what RCTI says this year about the Beijing Games ~ they "cannot afford the expensive rights
", reputedly $13.7 million, whereas in 2000 it was 'only' $2 million.
To be honest, I'm very surprised that no Chinese-Indonesian conglomerate, such as James Riady's Lippo Group or Antony Salim's Indofoods has offered to dip into their petty cash reserves.
So, although there are expectations of more medals in badminton and possibly weightlifting, those athletes who fulfil their dream of having qualified to take part will have to make do with just that. At least they should be able to SMS their good/bad news back home where RCTI will be focussing their sports coverage on "local major events
". Medal winners will probably also have the added glory of large cash bonuses
as they did four years ago..
If the UK
and other countries achieve international coverage of their local sports events, perhaps RCTI can get the TV rights to those sports which aren't among the 43 on display in Samarinda for a bit less than they're not going to pay to broadcast the Olympics.
I don't really know what these sports might be might be, apart from cockfighting, bull racing and stone jumping, so would appreciate some suggestions. The emphasis should be on local and here are a few Jakarta examples I've uncovered:PaintballBelly DancingUltimate Frisbee
International sports fans are welcome to make suggestions, especially if they are as classy as the following:Cow FightsForget bullfights. In the Alps, it is the female cows that get to enter the ring. The female members of the robust Heren breed fight it out for the title "Queen of Queens." It's a competition where Daisy and Buttercup get to be contenders. Cheese ChasingEvery year a bunch of fearless men and women hurl themselves down a near-vertical English hill in pursuit of a giant rolling cheese. Although gravity ensures they all make it down the slope, not all competitors do so in one piece.Finger Pulling ChampionshipsIn the old days, people say, it was used to settle disputes. Today it has the standing of a national sport in the Alpine region of southern Germany and neighboring Austria.
If we can't have fun, what else are we here for?
As so often happens, I find much more interesting links having already posted. Ho hum indeed, but I cannot sign off without recommending that you spend an hour or three exploring the Strange Games compiled by Montegue Blister.