Thursday, September 1, 2016

Countdown. or is it up?

We've recently started watching "American Ninja Warrior" and something occurred to me. More accurately, re-occurred since I did think about it years ago. That involves the clock in various sports. There are several, Football, Hockey, etc, that have a set time limit, so the clock counts down to the end of the period/game. That makes sense.

In what we Americans call Soccer, but the rest of the world calls Football, the clock counts up. That's not because there isn't a time limit, but instead to account for "Stoppage Time", to time when the clock was running but there was a penalty or some other stop in the play. This time gets added to the end of the half, and you never know how long it's actually going to be. That adds a bit of urgency into the game, since the next second could be the whistle.

Now back to what started this all, Ninja Warrior. When Michelle and I first started watching the show, it was the original Japanese version on the G4 network (which I miss terribly). That and X-Play were "must see TV" for us. In that show, the timer counted down for the stages. If you ran out of time, no matter how good you were doing, you were out. Now, in the American version, the timer counts up and they take the top 30 people, whether they finished or not, to the next level.

I think this displays some of the mindset of the cultures. In Japan, it's set up so that you have to try your hardest and, even then, you could fail. Heck, there have been years when no one has made it all the way to the end of the competition, therefore no one wins. In America, that land of the participation trophy, the idea of having no winner doesn't make sense to us. If you compete in something, someone has to come out on top.

Two different takes on how to do it and, since I haven't seen more than a few episodes of the American version, I can't say which is better. The Japanese version does seem to reflect life a little more, though.

Regardless of all that, these people are amazing ... no, more like AMAZING athletes. The fact that they do this in their spare time is stunning. Heck, just check out this run by Kira's favorite ninja:

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