The combination of skiing and shooting is hilarious to begin with. It sounds like something a guy would make up in order to create something he'd personally be really good at. It's amazing how hot it is to watch really handsome men swing guns on and off their backs. I feel actual physical pain watching biathletes chug-a-lug uphill. I appreciate how utterly exhausted they are when they cross the finish line unlike say a skier who cruised down one hill and then called it a day. I love watching the pile-up of prone bodies getting larger and larger as more and more guys finish. But there's one thing about the biathlon that makes it the best Winter Olympics sport. Nay, one of the best sports anywhere ever.
PENALTY LAPS. A quick primer for those of you who've never devoted any of your time to watching the biathlon. (It dawns on me right at this very second that what we were watching might not have been the biathlon because there was also ski jumping involved, but one of the good things about these sports is that I won't see them again for four years so I don't really need to bother to learn the specifics.) Anyway, these guys start out cross-country skiing and they ski and ski for what seems like forever. And then at various points during the race, they suddenly have to stop, whip the rifle off their backs, and shoot at five very small targets. Right next to the shooting station there's an extra loop in the track and for every target they miss they have to do a lap around the loop. Forget what I said about some guy randomly throwing together the two activities he happens to be good at, this sport was clearly invented by a P.E. instructor. These guys are literally running laps when they screw up!
Every sport needs to add this immediately. Can you imagine how much fun we could have with this? Jason Pominville misses the net? Take a lap around the rink. Thomas Vanek fails to shoot on a breakaway? Take a lap. Derek Roy gives the puck away trying to carry it through four people? Take four laps, one for each defender. Ryan Miller gives up a softie? Take a lap. In your gear. How entertaining would it be to watch Ryan waddle around the rink as fast he can while the Sabres scramble to defend the net until he gets back? I would be fine and dandy with the Sabres raising season ticket prices if we could get the penalty lap system up and running across the NHL.
On a side note, we had an extra long weekend at work. For our winter break we were off Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. (I use winter break loosely because we used to get an entire week off.) Thursday we talked to the kids a lot about the Olympics and one of the events that came up a lot was the luge. For days now I've been picturing my kids sitting down in front of the TV to watch luge highlights because Miss Heather said it was SO AWESOME and being traumatized for life. We'll just chalk that up as an educational experience, I guess. (I don't know what I was thinking anyway because the luge is horribly, horribly boring.)
ETA: I have no idea what time the stuff in the day's newspaper goes live on The Buffalo News website, but as of right now, the only story about the first U.S. hockey game is from the AP. I know it's early rounds, and the games might not be that exciting, but the entire season has been building up to Ryan Miller starting in net for the United States. Seems like maybe the TBN reporter on-site should have gone to the game especially since that's where local interest lies.
ETA: D'oh! I just realized I broke my promise to not blog about the Sabres on the FIRST DAY. Stupid Sabres.