Sports:The Sports Challenged Perspective
The Sports Challenged Individual Defined
If you are reading this you probably fall into one of two categories...a Sports Fan or a Sports Challenged Individual. Sports fans can come in varying sub groups, including the Avid Fan, the General Fan and the Occasional Fan. The Avid fan will be intensely engaged in one or more sports and/or teams to the point of watching them, talking about them and wearing their logos on a regular, almost cult-like schedule. The General Fan enjoys watching sports on a regular schedule, usually has a favorite sport and team, but does not become obsessed to point of getting inked with their logo. The Occasional Fan likes sports, usually claims a favorite team based on hometown pride alone, enjoys them in cursory fashion, and will usually watch when the opportunity presents itself, especially "big" events like the Superbowl, Olympics etc. All of these Fans will have at least a general understanding of the rules, regulations and how to play the game, and may actually have played to some degree of skill.
Then there are those like me. We are the Sports Challenged Individual. We have a trivial knowledge of at least the basics of most of the major sports, can name some teams and a handful of players. We understand basic game play, general scoring techniques and occasionally what season it is without doing a Google search. We have no allegiance to a team, only watch in the group setting of get togethers where the general consensus is, "hey, let's watch the game". We could play a sport (whether with any talent is questionable), but chose not to. We are not wired to have sports as either a spectator hobby or as a physical endeavor. The following paragraphs will explain how we see sports. I hope you get not only a good laugh, but also a look into the mind of the Sports challenged Individual.
The Big Four (Baseball, Football, Basketball & Hockey)
The Big Four team sports are the most well known sports and garner the big buck and the most avid (rabid) fan bases. They are packaged, logo'd, video-gamed, bobble-headed, sports carded, idolized, bought, sold, traded and fantasy leagued. They are played on playgrounds, fairgrounds, backyards, high schools, colleges, minor and professional leagues. They rely on athletic prowess, team work, strong coaching and rugged determination. Like all sports they require hours of hard work and years of practice. This is time and energy that the Sports Challenged Individual (SCI) just can't seem to place in the "logical to do" compartment of his/her brain. It's not that we don't understand how someone else can be that into it, we just don't see ourselves doing that...ever. You see, we don't run unless we are being chased. If we work out at all it's occasionally and without much vim or vigor. I'm not even sure what vim and vigor are, but they can't be pleasurable in the realm of exercise. We also, usually lack the ability to hold on to a ball or multitask two athletic abilities at the same time. We can run or dribble, usually not both at the same time. We may acquire the ability to skate, but not while cajoling a puck with a stick. We do not lack the competitive gene that is useful in being a star athlete, we just tend to compete in things that don't require the use of blunt force trauma, kicks to the shin or protective gear.
As to the spectator part of the "Big Four" we just can't seem to make the personal connection needed to be a true fan. We can't say "our team" since we don;t actually work, in anyway for the team. We can say "we won" since we didn't in any way, shape or form score points, prevent points from being scored or even attend the game in person. We see the team sport as an enjoyable pass-time for others, both spectators and players, to participate in in their own way. It is also a great example of the free-market at work with people getting paid ridiculous sums of money based on supply and demand.
Let me add that if we institute the equivalent of the "sometimes Y" rule into this discussion, then we would call it the "Big Five" and include Soccer. That statement alone has just set Avid Sports Fans at each others throats.
The Olympics : The Global Encounter
The Olympics are a different breed of sports, minus the team sports that have entered the fray. I'm talking about the Javelin, Shot Put, Skeet Shooting, Uneven Bars, Ski Jump and the like. These are the sports that are individual sports for the most part. They are variations of things people have just done anyway through out history. The Javelin is the hunter's spear, Skeet Shooting is hunting with a rifle, the Ski Jump is the "hey, dude...watch this!" It's just people in pure competition for the sake of individual triumph. These are safe to watch for the SCI, as they are only bi-annual events, they enable a bit of Patriotic flair and the rules are generally so simple that you could learn them on a business card sized cheat sheet. They are single action sports. Throw, Jump, Shoot etc. They would not lend themselves, as a general rule, to being a team/duo sport. As an example, Javelin and Shot Put throwing are reasonable events based on the above criteria, but it would not be advisable to have a catching partner. I think we can all agree that the original Olympics, especially the wrestlers, lack something that we all encourage modern participants to have at all times. This, of course, would be clothing.
Golf...why it's stupid.
Golf is an interesting game. And, when I say "interesting", I mean stupid. I'm not one for the regularly scheduled long walk, but, on the occasions that I do partake of a leisurely stroll, it will not be to chase an small ball that has taken up residence in a small wooded area, a man-made pond or a giant litter box. Happy Gilmore aside, it is even too boring to watch for any but the most avid of fans. Here are a few reasons Golf does not, even in SCI opinion, deserve the name of Sport.
- You yell "fore" when you hit a ball off course and towards other players or spectators. Fore?? How about "Duck, I suck at golf!"
- You use terms like "Birdie" and "Eagle". You want to make it a real sport? Actually aim for and hit a bird or eagle...and still yell "Duck!"
- You can drive from one part of the game to another. Do you see Football players getting on a moped and heading for the goal line? NO!
- Links are for sausage. (closest to a bacon reference I can make here)
- You lie to children by setting up the false dreams of windmills, treasure chests and lots of ramps. I want a par 4 with a windmill on the course or an immediate apology for the false advertising.
Why Bowling is The Best Sport
There are those sports that can be, and often are, enjoyed by even the most consummate SCI among us. They, for various reasons, do not adhere to traditional sports protocol concerning sponsorship from most nationally recognized products, mass-merchandised logo'd clothing or a true athletic "feel". They are SCI approved sports that can be played with abandon without the fear of losing one's SCI status. The premier sport in this limited playing field does not actually require a field. It requires an alley. Contestants will also be required to find a 3-holed 12-18 lb. ball and the rental of some quite fashionable 2-toned shoes. Welcome to the world of Bowling.
The following reasons will give you an understanding as to why Bowling is an SCI approved sport:
- In bowling you are supposed to drop the ball. We are going to do that regardless of the sport, so it is helpful to have that be a required action.
- There is not defense. While the end of the alley does seem to be missing a goalie, we are glad for his lacking.
- Pizza and/or Beer. This are completely acceptable to eat during a game of Bowling. The more seasoned players can even participate without putting down their food or beverage of choice while taking their turn.
- As alluded to in #3 of this list we see that the term "game" is used rather than sport, allowing us to get off on a technicality.
In Conclusion...until I edit and Add More Sports...
I'd like to state clearly and concisely that I have no animosity, jealousy or ill will towards the Sports Fan, as they are people too. They are often irrational and full of ill conceived self importance, but people none the less. But, seriously, I am sometimes envious of your ability to quote statistical data from each and every player from your favorite team without even knowing what that that's what Stat is short for. It takes all kinds to keep this country great and you are a part of that greatness. Through merchandising, ticket sales and pay-per-view, you help keep the economy ticking along. Through your ability to live vicariously through your own children as they achieve prominent little league status, you help keep local emergency rooms active and thriving while ensuring at least a few psychologist will have a steady flow of new patients in the future. Beer and hot wing sales are secure for generations to come, and for that we thank you. Finally, remember this...Go Team.