Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What Is and Is Not Sport

As we get closer to the silly season, when everything is cold and dead and the only thing left is basketball, the fading memories of hockey, and whatever wanker thing The World Wide Lemur (Sorry, but the Four Letter just annoys me too much to give it any love anymore) tries to sell to us as important...

It's time to establish the FTT Ground Rules on What Is and Is Not Sport.

You may or may not agree with the following. But if you don't, you are Wrong.

1) Sports is not commuting.

Somewhere, in some place that gets snow and ice, some guy is going cross-country on skis. Then he's jumping over something. Finally, he's swooshing through some trees and/or other obstacles in the parking lot.

It takes him about 20 minutes or so, and then he steps into the lobby, pulls his skies off, and heads over to his cubicle to fire up some YouTube timewaste. (Give him a few more weeks before he's reading FTT. We're gonna be big in the Arctic.)

He may or may not be an athlete. But as a guy going to work, he's less interesting to watch than Texans-Raiders.

Four out of every seven days, I jump on a bicycle helmet and pedal off to the train station. After it shows up, I ride it for a while, and then catch two different subways.

I am not an athlete. If you watch me doing this, you're doing it to stare at my ass. Pay me or stop.

Someone – oh, let’s just say you’re mom, to up the ante -- climbs into their car every weekday and drives to work. No one cares. It’s not sports.

None of us are engaged in strategy, worried about what wrinkle the defense will come up with to stop us, or scoring points. We're just getting to freaking work.

So stop pretending that skiers, bicyclists, drivers, walkers, joggers, jockeys, rowers, yachters, and a billion other monkeys moving from Point A to Point B are worth putting on the tee vee.

Because no matter how you dress up, it's just commuting. And commuting is not sports.

2) If it's more fun to watch it being done badly, it is not a sport.

In 1984, a fat loser from England (Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards) attempted the ski jump at the Calgary Winter Olympics. Would he crash? If so, would be bounce? Would he even get off the platform? The world was riveted.

It was also the last time ever that ski jumping was interesting.

This is, of course, another nail in the coffin for NASCAR. And gymnastics, diving, luge, bobsleds, and a million other things that are usually trotted out every four years.

If it's more fun to watch you do it badly, it's not sports.

3) If two people can have an honest disagreement on who won, it's not a sport.

If someone wants to turn figure skating into a sport, put freaking hoops on the ice for them to jump through. Stick banners on tops of greased poles for them to pick up against a clock. Maybe some land mines on the ice, too. Or something.

Because without a scoreboard, what you've got is a beauty pageant on skates. And beauty pageants are Not Sport. (This also goes for the Dog Show, which is the same thing as the beauty pageant, only the contestants lick each other for love, not money.)

4) If you can get better at it with liquor, it's not a sport.

In college, I knew a ROTC guy named Marty. Like all ROTC guys named Marty, he was a freakish ball of fast twitch muscle trapped inside a guy who used to be socially awkward.

Being broke college students, we'd go out bowling, and at the start of the night, be more or less even -- both crappy. Then Marty would pound some, charge the lane like he was throwing grenades, and improve his pin count up into the 200s, mostly from throwing it straight ahead like a shot put.

So I'm sorry, but there goes bowling, darts, and 90% of all softball leagues. (Not yours, though. Yours has serious athletes in it that could have definitely gone pro, if only your high school coach wasn’t such a douche. Now, please, stop writing me about it.)

5) If you're sitting on your ass while playing it, it's not a sport.

I like poker. And chess. And, for that matter, Parcheesi with my nieces and nephews, especially when I send them home and make them cry. (Then, mock them for crying.)

But none of this is sports. It's recreation. Nothing wrong with that. But it belongs on television about as much as Peter Vecsey. (Look away, before you go blind!)

6) If it's a reasonable substitute for war... I'm not telling you it's not a sport.

Boxers, lacrosse players, wrestlers, ultimate fighters, rugby players, javelin throwers, hammer tossers... you're all great. Really. Me Like You Much. Going away now. Bye bye.


Aaron said...

Sprinting is a sport, and anything that was in the original Olympics including javelin and wrestling is a sport as well.

Ernest said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
athletics fan and runner said...

Running is to a sport. I don't run to work.

I do bike to work but at times it feels like a combat sport. Ask me about the time that a driver pulled up beside me and started to throw ice cubes at me.

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