One can't argue against nature but definitely against TV producers!
America has its Superbowl, England its F.A. Cup, South Africa the Curry Cup and Austria has the Streif. As most tend to assume that living in Austria is like living on the set of Heidi, you might understand that alpine skiing is a major sport here.
Last week I thought that only I set my schedule around the Streif run, but on Friday night, while out at the lake house, which is the headquarters for the Anglers of our village ( odd how Bob goes there on Sunday morning without any type of fishing rod ) just about everyone around the table was looking forward to the Streif. No one was going to stray even an inch from their TV screens.
Yes, the Streif is a big deal and even for those odd souls who don't care either way, the backdrop and background to the Streif is littered with the A-list, Arnold, celebrities and those wanting to be. Formula One sent a timely reminder for us fans by being there in the form of Nikki Lauda and Christian Horner. Even Geri Halliwell ( old spice ? ) was seen dangling on the periphery, as she always does!
The imminent race had me stay home the whole day. As nature gave us a big reminder of what matters, the persistent fog meant a start time that kept on moving further out. As annoying as this was, the safety of the skiers is top priority and once you see the ride they have to perform on waxed skies and at over 140 kph down an extremely steep, curvy and seemingly endless slope, you would agree with the delayed start.
What took everyone by surprise was how much the run was shortened because of the fog. Almost half the distance was slashed for the run. What was close to 2 minutes turned into just under 60 seconds. Again, fair enough, safety first.
The overall race time was now more or less cut in half. All over Austria, Streif fans were kept prisoners in their own home while awaiting this run. When the first skier finally flew out the starter gate, I was enthroned on our couch with all my creature comforts at hand. Wow, the excitement was here.
As that song from the 80's says: " I should have known better..." Each run was more or less a minute which already meant we were robbed of a minute of nail biting scenes. One could have hoped that the TV producers would be so kind as to let us see at least that left over minute...but no, they only showed the skiers when they were 22 seconds in the race.
You know, if I had had a phone number I would have called and complained bitterly.. With only showing us this 30 second clip of some skiers, they took an all the air out of our feverish excitement.
This was ZDF, and when I quickly switched over to Eurosport they were stuck with the Australian Open. Next season we have decided to augment our viewing with all the ORF channels ( Austrian and worth the extra fee ) because they will understand what it means to be a Streif fan... I hope?