Sunday, April 16, 2006

Not Enough Sports

Originally posted on, January 9 2006 2:31pm:
It has become apparent to me that they are more sports networks than actual sports to watch. There are seven Sports Networks on basic cable (Even more on advanced digital packages), and when you have ESPN showing the World Scrabble Championships, then you know that they are having trouble finding enough programming to fill airtime. FSN probably took the biggest hit during the Hockey strike/lock out. I vaguely recall seeing English Cricket on FSN during this period. Throw in the occasional Baseball strike, then these Sports networks are and have been screwed.

On any given day you can find a myriad of crappy programming on these many networks. I find it confusing how anyone can refer to activities like bass fishing or dogs jumping off of a dock after a Frisbee a sport. There is an entire network devoted just to golf. I mean, how much golf can a person watch. Most of the programming on these networks are hardly what you would call spectator sports.

I am a big fan of playing poker. It is a fun game, but that is what it is... A GAME. As much as I like to play poker, I think that watching it on TV is one of the most boring things you can do. The drama and fun of playing is in no way transferable through a television medium. I think that the World Series of Poker would make more sense if it were on the Game Show Network rather than on ESPN.
What is next, The World Championships for Golden Tee? How about the World Series of Darts? Or maybe the various sports networks will be clamoring for exclusive rights to the NCAA Beer Pong Championships.

When it comes to sports, I follow two simple rules.

1. Any activity that you can play while drinking is not a sport. These include such activities as Bowling, Billiards/Pool, Darts, Poker, Golf, etc.
Although I admit that these activities require a great amount of skill and technique, they are games, not sports, and thus do not belong on ESPN, FSN or any other channel that calls itself a Sports Network. It could be argued that any sport could be played while intoxicated, and many will argue that the Great Bambino himself would step up to bat after having a drink in the dug out, but it goes with out saying that just because you could play football drunk doesn't mean that you would.

2. Any activity that has to be judged is not a sport. These activities include Diving, Gymnastics, Figure Skating, Ballroom Dancing, etc. Although a great amount of athleticism is required for these activities, the fact that they are judged takes any and all competition out of them. In such events, you are not competing against an opponent, but rather are trying to fulfill a list of requirements. I admit though, that with the introduction of the X-Games (Winter games to be exact), my stance on this definition has grown a little lax. Events such as half pipe, and big air are spectacular and entertaining to watch. Suffice it to say, this rule applies mostly to the entertainment value of the event. Not many would tune in to watch Ballroom Dancing, and although figure skating is hugely popular, and garners good ratings, I still don't consider it a sport by definition.


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