I was recently asked the question, “Do I care about other sports?” This person was referring to anything other than football – which he knows I care about dearly. Here’s my answer.
…well, I grew up with the knowledge that basketball and baseball were solely there to keep you in shape for the next football season. In my adult life, I have grown to love college basketball – both men’s and women’s – which have heart and passion unknown to the NBA although in the last coupla years the NBA’s passion has improved, and I’ve gotten slightly more interested in it. I know the parity that has crept into the college basketball game has upset some critics. However, I would say it makes it more interesting. Why? Because there’s a play-off at the end, and we can pronounce a winner. It’s not the stupid BCS – we can actually watch these teams that are jockeying for the top rankings go at each other one-on-one and see which one REALLY is better. I reckon in that regard, college basketball has it better than football.
Then we get to baseball (because, as a Southern Lady, I am not even going to deign to comment on hockey – of which I know nothing and barely even acknowledge its existence) which we all grew up thinking was similar to basketball – you played it or watched it because football hadn’t started yet. Having said that, I do have a fondness for baseball. It’s laid back, slow paced play… the way you can watch it and still multitask a million other things while it’s going on – it’s different from ALL the other sports if only in that one manner. Baseball is so slow that you never miss anything. If anything truly great goes on – more than any other sport – they have plenty of time (and don’t even need slow-mo) to re-show the viewers whatever exciting thing happened. Turn those games on and I guarantee you won’t miss anything...wash your car; bake a cake; mow the lawn; write a novel...you will NOT miss anything. I can’t say that about any sport other than golf.
That brings me to the next two sports: tennis and golf. Let’s get golf out of the way first. It’s much more interesting to play than to watch. The exception to that rule is, of course, if John Daly or Tiger Woods are playing. Each can bring unique intrigue – Kardashian-style – to golfing events. Nonetheless, golf isn’t even as much of a sport as it is a hobby – like knitting and pottery making. I accept that it takes skill, patience, talent and practice to perfect it… It’s just not necessarily as athletic as other events classified as “sports.” Even NASCAR drivers have a better claim as a sport than golf. As for tennis, many will disdain the sport as outdated and uninteresting. I, however, still remember getting up extra early in July to watch the Wimbledon matches and staying up extra late to see Steffi Graff whoop up on folks in the Australian Open. I concur that it has lost some of its marketability in the last few years, and I’m not sure how that happened. It’s an excellent sport and one of the few that is one-on-one throughout its entirety. It also is one of the more demanding sports on the body. No, nobody is suffering concussions to the rate of football, but watch how their lower bodies take the brunt of the hard surface courts and pound on their hips, knees, ankles… It’s tasking. It’s athletic. It’s demanding. I personally look forward to its resurgence.
While on the topic of demanding, we’d next have to look at track and field – as well as the X Games - but first the classic. Track and field is definitely demanding. It’s just that it’s not so exciting to watch. I mean, if you’re watching the final hundred yard dash in the Olympics – maybe. If you’re talking about marathons, all anybody cares about (if they care at all) is who crosses that finish line first. Not very many people care to watch folks run for one or two or three hours…. It’s a little boring. Even those of us who have run them know we mostly did so to say we DID it. Most marathoners aren’t out to win. That’s why we all talk about our personal best times rather than how many races we’ve run…
Next is the X Games. Those are phenomenal, but like gymnastics and diving, they have an Olympics type aura to them so that we don’t look so much to who wins the half pipe this year…we are waiting to see who wins the Gold Medal in the next Olympics in the Half Pipe. It’s just not followed like the “regular” sports. If I have the opportunity to watch the X Games, I always enjoy it, but I don’t go out of my way to make sure I’m watching. Give me two pitiful college football teams in a make-shift bowl game, and I’m rearranging my schedule to see it….THAT is the difference. AND, I think that needs to change…marketing and television exposure just hasn’t caught up to the X Games. They’re working on it, but I would love to see more, more, more.
Did I miss anything? Cycling is ridiculous – particularly in light of what we now know about it and like marathons, is just tedious to watch. I get the draw of car races but am just not personally drawn to it. ….oh – the crossfit competitions! I really enjoy watching them. They give me great new ideas for stuff to add to my workout while also making me feel weak and inferior – but they are inspiring! Again, though, they are more about individual accomplishment than really competing against someone – coming up with strategies and game plans, etc. It’s just different, and like the X Games not as broadly marketed – yet!
So…. I reckon the answer to the question is what I’ve often told people about the state of Georgia…. There are 3 things that matter most here: God, Football and Coca~Cola.
So, all non-football sports are just time-fillers, AND I’m enough of a sports junkie to keep up with all of them anyway.