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Friday, August 22, 2008

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

This is
Olympic sport?

Anybody out there bothered to take a look at the Olympic games?

She-who-must-be-obeyed had the one-eyed-lobotomy-box on the other night as I was passing through the living room. One glimpse and I realized that some genius finally found a way to get me to watch women compete in an athletic event.

I know this is not politically correct, but the truth is, most people, male or female, could care less about female sporting events. If they did, the Womenís NBA would not have to pay people to attend the games.

I admit that I fall into the majority on this count. I just find it hard to care.

Unless you find some fairly hot babes, stick them in bikinis, and have them jump around in a sand pit playing volleyball. Iím not sure beach volleyball should be called a sport, but it is easy on the eyes.

Like cheerleading at football games, this makes a nice, parsley-like dressing to the real athletic events taking place.

But, just when I was beginning to enjoy the view, the camera switched to menís beach volleyball.

Thatís just embarrassing. I find it hard to believe that you could find men to compete in such. Itís not a sport. There is no physical contact. No blood. No bruises. Maybe itís a nice way to pass an afternoon at the lake with some coeds while demonstrating your sensitive side, but itís not a sport.

Perhaps I have been living under a rock for a few years, but I had not realized that beach volleyball had been recognized as a sport of Olympic caliber.

My interest was piqued and eventually I ended up on the official Olympic home page to see just what is considered Olympic sport these days.

From the looks of things, I may be able to try out for the Olympic typewriting team in a few years.

Get this: Badminton is an Olympic sport. Badminton. Is not badminton the game that girlish-looking Englishmen play with tennis rackets, and a little thing that is slower than a tennis ball, because those tennis balls are hard and rough and might leave a mark?

What is Olympic about badminton?

And then there is Rhythmic Gymnastics. Apparently somebodyís weak sister of a kid couldnít make it in real gymnastics where midgets on steroids swing and jump like monkeys, and so they invented rhythmic gymnastics, which looks a lot like a modern dance class, but without as many cute girls. Olympic?

On down the list is ďTrampoline.Ē

I like trampolines. My daughters can do things on a trampoline that make me clap, and their mom throw up in anticipation of visiting the emergency room.

But I have trouble with the concept of Olympic trampolining. Maybe Iím just old fashioned.

Near the end of the list there is Softball. Now, I learned the hard way that softballs are not soft when my kid sister was pitching softball in high school. I offered to catch her once. My little brother offered me his catching gear, and I scoffed.

ďItís a softball, kid,Ē I said, just a little worried that my little brother was lacking in the tough department.

Four pitches later I swallowed my pride, some blood, and a lot of pain, and started strapping on a chest protector and mask. It was like having a green watermelon shot at you from a cannon with a psychotic gunner at 10 paces. How do you catch that?

But still, I donít see softball as Olympic.

When I hear ďsoftballĒ I envision girls playing a slowed down version of baseball Ė right?

Apparently, not only is girlís softball considered Olympic, so is the version played by men.

Sorry, menís softball does not pass the Olympic test. Men play softball so they will have a reason to drink beer without getting in as much trouble with their wives compared to hanging out at a bar. As an added benefit they donít have to risk death facing fastballs in the 7th inning after a few too many. There are no other reasons. I am pretty sure they do not even bother keeping score Ė they just make it up at the end so their wives might believe they were out playing a game, and not just drinking and telling lies.

Then, right when I think I have seen it all, I read that there is Olympic Table Tennis and Olympic Synchronized Swimming.

Yes, you read that correctly. Some guys and gals are going to go home with the gold for playing ping-pong, while others will be awarded medals for swimming in unison.

Iím sorry, I donít mean to make fun. Not really. Both take a lot of skill, I guess. But so does baking a really good pineapple upside down cake. But there is no gold medal for cake baking. Not in the Olympics.

So, Iíve decided to write the Olympic committee a letter. Obviously committee members have been drinking the lead-laced water in China, and have lost their grasp on what sport is, and what sport is not.

Here goes:

Dear Olympic Committee,

When the Olympics first started up around 776 B.C., the only event was a foot race.

After a while the Greeks figured out that if they were going to draw a good crowd they would need more than one event, and so they added boxing, discus, horseback riding, javelin, pentathlon, wrestling and pankration (which is pretty much just a no-holds-barred fight).

Now, these are Olympic-caliber events. These are events where contestants bleed, sweat, punch, kick, choke, jump, throw, run, puke and sometimes fall off a horse.

Thatís sport. Thatís worth watching.

Table tennis is not Ė unless maybe it is girlsí table tennis, and the girls wear bikinis. I might watch that, but itís still not sport.

So, please fire the guy who is defining ďOlympic EventĒ and send him back to the French ballet school where you found him. Sport is defined as an event where men (or even women) bleed, heave, throw, punch, sweat, kick, puke, choke, run, lift, strain and sometimes fall off a horse. If it does not involve at least five of the above, it is not a sport.

Except maybe the bikini volleyball thing Ė we might keep that.

If you have questions please feel free to give me a call.

Yours very truly,

Smokey Briggs

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