USA vs. The World – Who Won?

    

     First of all, it sounds like either Michael Bay’s next disaster starring Shia LaBeouf, or The Donald’s campaign slogan for 2012.  Instead USA vs. The World is the Penn Relays format / marketing campaign  for their century-plus year old track carnival in Philadelphia.  

     I watched yesterday on ESPN, but I never caught the score.  Anyone catch the final?  It probably came down to the last race, and what a match up that would have been.  Everything on the line in that one race, all the pressure, all the prestige, all the money.  I know I saw a lot of national uniforms racing around the track, and waving flags in the packed stands. 

     Excuse me?  Oh, you say they didn’t actually keep score? Really?  But it was supposed to be a competition between the USA and the World, right?  I wanna know who won. 

     It was what?  Just a bunch of individual races?  You mean with nothing on the line like moving on to the next round or money?  So kind of like if the Heat – Celtics game this afternoon in the NBA Eastern Division semifinals just ran up and down the court for 48 minutes with every 24-second possession being an end in itself?  Jeez, you wonder why the NBA doesn’t do that. It’s such an intriguing format. 

END

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2 thoughts on “USA vs. The World – Who Won?

  1. How difficult would it be to sell/promote this? I can see even a 1 hour special with a million dollar prize to be shared by the winning team members. Would the big boys; Ford, FedEx, Budweiser pass this opportunity up? Do you think anyone asked them?

  2. Mike,
    Exactly the right questions. Nothing needs to change except the perception of the audience as to what they are watching. Athletes are doing their jobs perfectly as it is. What’s lacking – outside the Olympics – is a framework through which to showcases the talents we display. In our culture that frame is high stakes, whether a championship or a large prize. For heaven sakes, if poker can draw an audience and sponsors, why can’t track & field? Only because we continue to present our athletes in meaningless, stakeless races which have no connection to the other meaningless, stakeless races that share the venue but don’t cohere into a unified whole. Nothing extends beyond itself, and so nothing resonates beyond the narrow confines in which it was created. Crazy and of course frustrating that so great a sport would be allowed to stagnate like this.

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