Dom George is the on-air producer for The Country.

Dom 'Furious' George goes to the Olympics

If you bait the online editor in your column, this is the photo of women's beach volleyball that you get. Photo / Hanoi Jane
If you bait the online editor in your column, this is the photo of women's beach volleyball that you get. Photo / Hanoi Jane

I've been filling in for Jamie Mackay on The Country this week while he's been at the annual PGG Wrightson Real Estate conference in Queenstown.

While that sounds suspiciously like a convenient excuse for a few rounds of golf at some of the nation's more exclusive clubs, I must confess I've been a tad distracted.

Naturally the television in the studio has been tuned to one of the myriad Olympic channels available on Sky, and this is proving a problem. As a mate of mine said to me via text the other day; "Three words - Olympic women's volleyball".

He hadn't even seen the beach variety yet.

The whole thing is driving me to the point of madness - finely tuned athletes wearing next to nothing, or if they are, it leaves very little to the imagination.

Online editor Hanoi Jane had the audacity to enter the studio earlier this week to ask some work-related question and became quite agitated when I kept staring at the screen and not listening to a word she said.

Quite selfish, I thought.

And herein lies the issue; the Olympics is bad for productivity.

I don't know the answer, and lack the inclination to find it, but I'd hazard a guess net production suffers when sporting events of this calibre and magnitude are taking place.

On Tuesday morning hordes of people gathered around various TV screens to watch women's sevens. Women's sevens! As one of our colleagues mused, "I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've watched a game of women's sevens..." Some agreed, others glared and yet all the while no one was working, even if we were all cheering.

Broadcasting on Radio Sport and hosting a local sports show on Newstalk ZB puts me in the smug few who can claim watching sport is part of their job; that's certainly true, although the correct amount isn't what you'd call an exact science. Suffice to say, at times this is truly one of the great jobs.

Now, not owning a business myself, I'm not really inclined to give a damn about the net productivity of the nation's workforce - that's for other people to worry about. As Jamie often says, "it's above your pay grade".

That's really a euphemism for, "mind your own business and keep your opinions to yourself". I've learned to pick my battles as a result.

But the reality is a good deal of Kiwi bosses are quite happy for their workers to indulge in things like the Olympic Games. And bloody good on 'em! We're a sports mad nation and there's nothing like jumping on a bandwagon if it suits you.

Wanna watch women's sevens or trap shooting? Fill ya boots! It's once every four years and most people still have fond memories of some Olympic moment they've witnessed over the past decades; jet-pack guy in LA in '84 for me.

Good on school teachers who raid the AV room (I don't think they have those anymore, but anyway) and rig up a TV so the students can witness a potential golden moment in sport.

The teachers don't have to teach, the sports fans respect the teachers for letting them watch sport during maths and those that aren't interested can write another entry in their diary, musing on the macho, sports-centric nature of New Zealand society - everyone wins!

So if the net productivity of the nation's collective workforce takes a bit of a hammering over the next fortnight, who cares? As long as the IT guys keep papering over the cracks of my technical ineptitude and I can guzzle back a dozen espressos each morning, I'm fine.

Oh, sweet baby Jesus, the Dutch and the Venezuelans are about to play a game of something - have mercy! I gotta go...

- The Country

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