Revisiting Mary Carillo’s Epic Screed on Badminton Ahead of the Olympics — The Greatest Sports Rant You’ve Probably Never Seen
It’s Olympic time — which means that for the next few weeks, millions of Americans will breathlessly track the results from sports for which they otherwise wouldn’t care, and might not even know anything about.
One such sport is badminton — a game that few are familiar with save for possibly a few volleys taken in their youth. During CNBC’s coverage of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Mary Carillo delivered an explainer on the sport that ranks among the greatest sports rants ever delivered, and one that has arguably not gotten as much attention as it has deserved over the years.
Carillo’s screed is something of a slow burn. Watch the first third of the video, which clocks in just under four minutes, and you’ll have no idea why it’s so good. But once she dispenses with the background and technical explainers, Carillo is off to the races.
The thrust of the commentary is that the sport is horribly inconvenient for suburban parents who have to retrieve the birdies from trees, have neighborhood kids invade their house, and just deal with all-around chaos brought on by a simple game of badminton.
“By the seventh shot, this thing’s up in the tree, okay? So then what does your kid do? She says ‘Mommy, I’ll get it down.’ Throws a racket up in the tree. So now the racket’s up in the tree. ‘OK, I’ll get that down.’
“So now your kid goes up into the garage, and goes and gets the red rubber ball — which should come as standard equipment in any backyard badminton set. Throws that in, that immediately gets impaled. So she goes and gets something else to get one of these things down, OK?
“Now there are kids from all over the neighborhood that have come into your backyard, and they’re emptying out your garage, throwing stuff at your tree, all right? You realize, suddenly, you own 18 basketballs! You’ve got nine footballs! There’s softballs flying through the air. The tree is now groaning with children and equipment.
“Someone’s turned on the hose! Badminton is a water sport. They’re trying to get this thing down with a hose!”
“And somehow, mothers from all over the neighborhood hear that badminton is being played at Mary’s house. They’re dropping off their kids — they know it’s an all day affair! They know it’s gonna involve 17 other sports. They’re dropping off their kids, they’re leaving skid marks!”
And she was just warming up. The whole thing is brilliant. Nothing this side of the lighting of the Olympic torch will get you more in the Olympic spirit than this masterpiece of a video.
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