Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Views From The Westin

After visiting the aquarium, we rode up to the 72nd floor of the Westin Hotel in downtown Atlanta for a drink and views of the sprawl. Atlanta has some cool buildings, many of them skyscrapers. It's also a classic sprawl city that chokes with traffic every day. Still, it's pretty to look at on a clear day from over 700 feet up!

Looking north from the bar, the Peachtree Street corridor, or perhaps more aptly named the I 75/85 corridor, stretches out toward the horizon. Georgia Tech is on the left of the freeway.

In the center right of this picture is large area of trees; this is the neigborhood where the condo we were staying in is located.

We left Atlanta on Saturday, spent the night in Rock Hill, SC, then made it back to Morehead City, NC, on Sunday. Our condo on the beach is comfortable and we are recuperating, slowly getting over, I hope, our head colds.

I watched Monday Night Football last night. At least, I watched the first half. What a spectacle. I haven't seen much American football lately, and I was amazed at what I saw. It's much less about the game and more and more about pure hype, selling products and selling people. At one point they had the guy that sings the opening song for MNF (Hank Williams, Jr.) in the booth talking about what it's been like singing the MNF opening song for so many seasons.

The game seemed more like a reality show about a selected group of players. We heard more about their off-the-field exploits than we heard game analysis. The actual plays on the field were interspersed with interview clips of these star players. One was called the player you love to hate and his bad-boy reputation was hyped and hyped and they showed clips of him interacting with other players on the sidelines. Since he was excited we were told he was yelling at team mates, coaches and other staff. I'm not convinced.

The game was presented as a set of personal battles. We were encouraged to watch how certain players interacted with other players during the game. The camera work has gotten much closer to the players and you can see their facial expressions on the field in a way that you never could even five years ago. It was a show about individuals. Maybe fans enjoy this, but to me it seemed that the whole concept of a team effort was missing.

The opening plays of each team featured the introduction of the respective offensive and defensive lines, which is normal. But instead of one of the commentators doing it, they had a pre-recorded, obviously scripted semi-comedic reading of the introductions by one of the star players from each team.

Oh yeah, and there was some football, too. I went to bed at halftime.


  1. Walt, interesting comments about MNF. Since ESPN took over the Monday night broadcasts this year, we haven't been able to watch (we don't have cable). It's disappointing to hear that it's all become entertainment, like a reality show rather than a sporting event. My guys still watch football on Sundays, and the broadcast networks don't seem to have gone to that extreme yet. I do hate the trend and your observations sound right on.

  2. Interesting perspective on MNF. I must admit, I tuned in and out. While, in general, I think your observations are correct, there is a special case with Terrell Owens since he has made himself the target of much media attention -- most of it negative. A few weeks ago there were reports of a "suicide attempt" and it's been spiraling out of control since then.

    BTW, the World Series (baseball) is not much better. Somehow they (whoever they are) think that the games are not interesting enough on their own merits.

  3. My father always watched football games with the sound off. :-)
    Chris P

  4. My father rooted the same way as Chris' father -- with the sound off. Then he'd explain to me what was going on. From your description, Walt, it doesn't sound like a game my father would have enjoyed any more. Thanks for sharing your perspective.


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