I think that it’s time that we take a step back and clarify what activities are actually worthy of calling themselves sports, because if you’ve watched any ESPN channel over the past few years you have to admit that their programming choices sometimes make no sense.
Many times I’ve seen things on the “Entertainment and Sports Programming Network” that make me just scratch my head and wonder, “How is this even close to being considered a sport?” Others listed inspire almost the same question of “how is this even entertaining?”
After giving this topic much thought and conversing with my co-workers I’ve been able to compile a short list, my top five activities and hobbies (in no particular order) that don’t deserve to be classified as a sport.
5. Competitive eating: That people actually train to stuff their faces full of all different types of food as quickly as they can is simply mind boggling. What exactly is “athletic” about this so-called sport? I’ve discovered this activity has become organized with participants’ very own league and federation; the MLE (Major League Eating) and International Federation of Competitive Eating.
I wish I was kidding about this people, but I’m not. This comes from IFOCE website verbatim: “Major League Eating is the world body that oversees all professional eating contests. The organization, which developed competitive eating and includes the sport's governing body, the International Federation of Competitive Eating, helps sponsors to develop, publicize and execute world-class eating events in all varieties of food disciplines.”
Competitive eating, or speed eating, is not a sport. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say that eating 68 hotdogs in 10 minutes is rather disgusting.
4. Billiards: This is what I consider a “bar sport.” What I’m getting at is that I don’t understand how things like billiards wound up on ESPN. Come on, this isn’t a sport. This is a fun activity to participate in, but there is absolutely no athleticism to it. Skills are required, but many things in life require skills.
3. Darts: Chock this up to the same idea as billiards, a typical bar activity. Seriously, anything you can do while having a beer just shouldn’t be classified as an actual sport to me. I will say though, a majority of people are better at darts when partaking in an alcoholic beverage.
2. Bowling: Again, I have to point out that bowling requires a lot of skill. In my case, it requires the bumpers! This is just another activity that I fail to see the athleticism of.
1. Poker: The fact that I’ve even had to list poker in this list might be what disturbs me the most. Why, oh please tell me why, has a card game made it to ESPN? Stare at the cards, stare at the other guys’ eyes, stare at the cards, up the ante, lose all your money! How is this even minutely considered a sport?
There is nothing athletic about holding some cards in your hand. In fact, the moving around of the chips may perhaps be the most athletic thing poker players do in a game. Hey, I’ve got an idea for a sport! Let’s all sit on the couch and reach for the remote to change the TV channel. If channel surfing is an idea that would be ridiculed in the sporting world then why is it that poker is not? If a card game must be considered a sport, why not have the World Tour of Slapjack or World Spoons Tour.
At least those games use physical activity!