Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dhani Tackles the Globe

In a recent post on Zane Lamprey and his show, Three Sheets, I also mentioned that I'm a fan of another Travel Channel show, Dhani Tackles the Globe. Well, the folks over at the Travel Channel happened to notice and they were kind enough to let me see an episode of the show before it airs. In the episode, Dhani travels to Jamaica and attempts the daunting task of playing cricket.

Here's the episode description:

Monday's all-new episode of Dhani Tackles the Globe finds Dhani in the Island nation of Jamaica trying his best to learn cricket. Jamaica is largely known as one of the world's most popular warm weather vacation spots, but cricket is a sport that is widely not understood by Americans.

The english colonials brought cricket to Jamaica in the early 19th century, when it was a "gentleman's game" meaning whites only. But soon after emancipation in 1838, cricket open to everyone. Soon a uniquely Jamaican version of the game evolved. It was much more aggressive, flamboyant, and athletic... it was dubbed "resistance cricket."

The only way to really learn cricket and Jamaica is to experience the it first hand. Dhani gets a heavy dose of the culture by doing his best to learn everything like a true Jamaican: with a smile on his face.

If you don't watch Dhani Tackles the Globe, let me let you in on why I like it. I'm not a big TV watcher, so a show needs a certain something before I'll like it, let alone recommend it. The premise of the show is simple enough: Dhani Jones is a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals who goes around the world playing various sports and learning about different cultures in the process.

There are two primary things that I think make the show worth watching. First, Dhani often wins. It's one thing for an athlete to learn a sport, but Dhani learns, competes in serious competitions, and beats the locals at their own game. This could be obnoxious, but it's not - which brings me to the second reason I like the show. This show is probably the most positive hour of TV around. Dhani meets each challenge with a really positive attitude and, in the great effort he puts into learning the sport and the culture, he creates an intercultural experience defined by dignity and acceptance. He often encounters exotic things, but in these encounters he doesn't exoticise the individuals. You never feel like he's an American immersing himself in something primitive, a first-world adventurer journeying into the third world to satisfy the viewer's voyeuristic desire to see poverty, gross food, and primitive customs. It's great to watch the sports, and to learn about the cultures highlighted on this show, but if there is one thing worth learning from Dhani Jones, it's how we Americans should respect and engage with cultures different from our own.
Here's some interesting photos and content associated with the episode:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My sentiments exact. Great review! It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a TV show and made time for it, even at the insulting 11PM hour here they've given it on the East Coast! I hope there is more promotion, emphasis and accommodation given to this inspiring and positive show.