Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Show Recommendation

If you're looking for something else to stick on the timer list of your DVR, consider Dhani Tackles the Globe on Travel. Dhani Jones is a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals, but apparently spends a lot of time in the off season working in the media. Before doing this show, he's written for Page 2 on ESPN.com and appeared on ESPN and the NFL Network. He's 31, so it's probably a good idea for him to start working on a career outside of football. I don't think linebackers have the longest lifespan in the league.

Anyway, the premise of the show is that Dhani, an obviously talented athlete, travels around the world learning the sports that are big in a certain culture. The first episode had him traveling to Thailand to learn Muay Thai kickboxing, for example. It is really cool learning about some of these obscure (to an American) sports as he learns them and seeing how well he can manage that sport in a week's time.

Just so you know, the wrestling/fighting sports are easier for him it seems. Rugby really isn't that far from American football in the grand scale of sports, but Dhani seemed a little lost on the field even at the end because of the complicated strategy and teamwork that is different than what he's used to. The same kind of went for jai lai in the Basque region of Spain and hurling in Ireland. It didn't have quite the teamwork and strategy of rugby, but it required a set of skills that he hasn't had to use in football.

I only have a few minor qualms with the show. First, each episode degenerates into a generic travel show in the middle where he goes clubbing or out to eat. They don't do the non-athletic aspects of the culture as well as they do the sports. It ends up just being the same shtick you see on every travel show for that country. Plus, this eats away from the time they could be spending getting you a better feel for the sport. In sports like Schwingen wrestling where you don't have the complexities of team sports, this isn't quite as bad, but team sports just have so many complexities that you need to grasp to really understand the game. The show doesn't always manage that so well. The last problem is that Dhani is most definitely an American. He usually comes across as pretty charming, but occasionally, especially in the Switzerland episode, he comes across as excessively cocky and even rude at times.

Despite that, I've really enjoyed watching the show. My irritation with his bad attitude in Switzerland has mellowed a bit since I've not seen much, if any, of it in the other episodes. I kind of wonder if there were some off-camera problems with the locals that led him to react that way. A lot of the wrestlers there didn't seem to be as welcoming as the athletes in some of the other shows.

Oh, and football is most definitely not an endurance sport. Every sport that's required a lot of endurance (rugby, hurling, dragon boat) has left him gasping for breath for most of the episode. Really fun show.


A Free Man said...

I'm not surprised that he would have struggled with rugby. Having spent the last few years in rugby playing countries, I've come to realize that rugby players make most football players look like overweight, out of shape oafs.

Still like American football better, however. It's what you grow up with.

SOunds like an interesting show.

Mickey said...

Sounds pretty cool. I remember you talking about it last time we got together.

Tonight I'll go home and stare at the logs that make up my walls for an hour or so and imagine what you describe.