Giving up social networking for Lent

Blame it on the Olympics

I haven't given anything up for Lent since Heinz Ketchup in junior high school. OK, I stole the idea from my friend Debbie, as I thought it was pretty creative. Granted, she absolutely adored ketchup, and I was more of a tartar-on-my-fries kind of gal. But I gave up the bottled red stuff anyway; why would I want to sacrifice something I truly loved? Ah, the joys of being Catholic.

This year when Fat Tuesday arrived, I announced on Facebook that I wasn't giving up anything for Lent. Well, thanks to the Winter Olympics, that's all changed. I've given up social networking from noon to midnight every day, since my Facebook friends and fellow Twitterers are posting results and ruining my Winter Games!

Of course the true culprit here is not social networking but NBC Sports. As I grumpily posted in my Closet Canuck blog, we West Coast viewers are getting screwed.

Not only are we forced to watch NBC's coverage three hours after the actual events take place, we're stuck with saucer-eyed Bob Costas as the main man. Hey Bob, what's with the bad dye job? At least you could have gone for Olympic gold, silver or bronze in your tresses. Talk about poor color commentary.

And then there's KING-5, our local NBC affiliate, which is acutely aware of the thousands of ticked-off viewers. On the station's website is a page titled Why are Olympic events not being broadcast live? Not only that, during the local nightly news, the anchors kindly ask us to close our eyes as the current results are posted and the Olympic theme music plays on. When the music stops, it's time to open your eyes. But wait! Then you show the medal count, and you don't have to be a numbers cruncher to figure out if there's another gold for the Americans. It might mean we one a big race, like Lindsey Vonn's victory in the Olympic Alpine. Keep that music playing!

I'm not alone in my criticism. Monika Guzman, author of The Big Blog in the Seattle P-I, polled her readers and 91percent of the nearly 4,000 who answered were not happy about the three-hour time delay. Ron Judd, Seattle Times staff columnist, blasted the peacock network in What Olympic tape-delay controversy? NBC still doesn't get it. More than 300 readers chimed in.

So here's my game plan for the final week of the 2010 Winter Olympics: No Facebook or Twitter after lunch; it's just too risky. And from now on, I'm recording NBC's evening coverage of the Games. It's already three hours late as is, so why not make it even more? Plus, you can fast forward through those annoying ads that we'll have memorized by the Closing Ceremony on Feb. 28.

In the meantime, I'm headed up to Whistler. No, I don't have tickets for any of the events, but I'll watch the Canada vs. U.S.A hockey match on CTV while enjoying a Kokanee and fries.

Hold the ketchup, please.

Sue Frause is a Whidbey Island freelance writer and photographer. You can reach her at sue@suefrause.com.


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