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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

Sporting an attitude on ESPN

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

There is a time in one's life when you hear a higher calling. For me it came the other evening when I settled back into my La-Z-Boy hoping to relax with some basketball with my close, personal friend ESPN.

So imagine my surprise when I turned on my beloved ESPN and saw the World Series of Poker. Confused, I quickly changed channels to my other friend, ESPN2, but was shocked to find the National Spelling Bee. That is when I realized that I was destined to become the program director for ESPN. And apparently I have the one qualification the current titleholder does not: I KNOW WHAT IS AND ISN'T A SPORT!

According to another friend I'll call Webster, a sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules and often engaged in competitively.

That is why I was confused to find poker on a sports channel, especially when it can be found on practically any other channel on cable. I would never classify poker players as athletes. I mean I have played cards many times. My dad would take my pennies time and again but I never considered it a sport except for that one time in college when I lost my shirt (and other clothing items).

Exactly how athletic do you have to be in order to sit and play poker? I guess you have to have a good, strong butt to sit for so long and you have to be able to lift a small number of playing cards repeatedly. So, those who are lazy probably qualify more than anyone.

And what is the deal with the looks these guys have? Do you have to wear sunglasses to be a poker player? If you want to make it a sport than spice it up a little bit. If a player goes all in, he can challenge his opponent to a fight. The one left standing gets the pot. Now that would be a sport, unlike spelling bees.

Being in the business of words, I know that spelling words can be difficult, especially for those kids in the National Spelling Bee. But just because a kid can spell appoggiatura, or another word that you or I will probably never use, doesn't make him or her an athlete.

Maybe if the contestant had to spell a word correctly and then win an arm wrestling match against another kid it might be a sport. Otherwise they should put the National Spelling Bee where it belongs, on PBS.

Then, I read that ESPN will be paying $270 million a year to show NASCAR races. I never knew driving around in circles for three hours was a sport. If that is the case my dad is the greatest sportsman of all-time after driving 15 hours straight to Florida one summer.

The only athletic ability I see from NASCAR drivers is when they have to run from their burning car or when they are chasing down an opposing driver who crashed into them. Of course, this only results in the driver hurling a helmet at the car as it speeds by.

If you want to make NASCAR a sport, make them drive for 150 laps, then ride a bicycle another 150 laps and see who is the best athlete. Otherwise put the races on the SPEED network where they belong.

And while we are taking the non-sports off the air, get rid of hunting, fishing, competitive eating and the dog Olympics. Shooting an animal that doesn't even have the sense to get out of the way of a car is not sport and neither is sitting in a boat and catching something that has the IQ of a piece of plastic. Competitive eating isn't a sport either. Actually, isn't it one of the seven deadly sins? If you want to make it a sport, make the contestants run a mile immediately after eating those hot dogs and watch the mayhem commence. Speaking of mayhem, who created the dog Olympics? Anything that tries to eat poop does not deserve their own Olympics.

Well, I've ranted enough. I think I will go check out what is on ESPN now. I think it is the Go Fish Superbowl.



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