Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2002-02-05 Entry: "Sporting Issues"

This entry was partially inspired by Columbine's entry about the superbowl, and by the fact I didn't really have anything else that I urgently needed to divest myself of.

I'm not heavily into televised sporting events. Watching them live is slightly more entertaining, but not much. Top of my personal list of overrated sports is football. Everyone raves about it being our national game but not only is our national side mediocre at best, but the league teams are full of foreign players.

I've never been a football fan. I grudgingly follow enough to keep up my end in a conversation, but I couldn't reel off any results or team members or team standings or anything like that (unlike my brother, who could probably list the result of every match since the beginning of the century and who played in them).

The only sport I watch religiously is Formula 1 motor racing. Not sure why, as when you get right down to it, it's just a bunch of cars following each other around a track for two hours. There's very little overtaking, and there's such a gulf between the top couple of teams and the rest that they may as well be in different races.

I'm probably going to suffer for my odd sporting tastes in the US - I'm not sure how much coverage of the F1 races they get, but it probably isn't a great deal; the American Grand Prix will almost certainly get coverage (I was in New York when the first one happened), but they might be a little lacking in the rest. The time difference may also be a killer - with most of the races in Europe forcing coverage during the early hours of the morning.

No, I'll probably have to settle for one of those nice, easily televised American sports. When I was younger, I followed American Football for a while, so I just about know the rules there. It could do with being a bit faster though. I'm presuming the propensity for litigation in America is the reason they play this over rugby (which is practically the same sport without the padding).

Baseball is interminably dull. How anyone can make a national sport out of rounders is beyond me. It's almost as bad as cricket for a spectator sport (Cricket is only entertaining to play - watching is dull, dull, dull).

I occasionally find myself watching whatever sport BBC2 have decided to put on in place of the sci-fi (which always gets cancelled for the sport). This means I get the occasional tennis, snooker, darts, bowls, or athletics, and I watch the skiing when I remember it's on. I've even been known to watch golf if it's a close finish, but single participant sports tend to be a bit dull - there's not enough going on to keep the attention.

So I need a team sport, or a single participation one with large numbers of participants at the same time. The participants need to be reasonably likeable (which discounts all footballers everywhere), and there needs to be a reasonable amount of movement from the teams (which discounts baseball out of hand, and may discount American football). It also can't be solely designed to inflict pain on the opposition, with scoring points being a side issue (my main problem with ice hockey). Based upon sports I know the US play and televise, I'm guessing that leaves basketball...

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