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« Blut, Eisen and Survival | Main | Incomprehensible Sports »

November 07, 2009

Silly Sports

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Even though some people become wrapped up into them to the point that the scene is almost indistinguishable from warfare, to a disinterested outsider, most (all?) sports can appear silly to some extent.

Consider: Rolling a ball to knock over pieces of wood. Kicking an air-filled bladder up and down a field. Bouncing a ball across a floor and then trying to hit a target with it (the ball, not the floor -- though the latter prospect is intriguing).

I could go on with such verbal twists, but you surely get the idea.

This leads to the question of which sport seems silliest to outsiders.

Golf was almost my first choice, but I got to thinking more deeply. The game seems to be an extension of the simple, happy act of swatting a small stone along a field using a stick. That I can related to, even though I don't golf.

No, to me the silliest sports involve whacking something back and forth using a flat-surfaced object of some sort. Badminton, ping-pong, squash and tennis, to be precise. It's the intercession of the hitting device as an extension of the arm that pushes these sports into the "huh?" realm for me.

Any other candidate sports?



posted by Donald at November 7, 2009


I don't really think any sport is silly, since the point of the sport is not moving a ball from here to there, or whatever. The point is to give people a chance to pursue excellence, and for others to watch someone else demonstrating excellence. The human body is a uniquely beautiful thing, and so watching human beings engage in athletic events with beauty and excellence gives us vicarious pleasure.

Posted by: Mark on November 7, 2009 8:02 PM


Posted by: Peter Winkler on November 7, 2009 10:49 PM

Curling. Now this is a weird "game". It's like shuffleboard on steroids.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on November 7, 2009 10:55 PM

May I quote myself?

Baseball: One bloke throws a ball. Another bloke hits it with a stick. Then people run around a square. Sounds like a sport that was invented by the inmates of a mental hospital. On reflection, it probably was.

I think Curling is silly in a good way, like Monty Python.

Posted by: LemmusLemmus on November 8, 2009 2:39 AM

"There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games." - Ernest Hemingway

Posted by: dzot on November 8, 2009 2:45 PM

Some would say that it's not really a sport but I've never understood the interest some people have in Boxing. That this primeval "sport" (in which the goal is to punch another person senseless) is followed by millions confounds me. Even worse is the cage match fighting that I always seem to land on when flipping through the channels.

Posted by: al w on November 8, 2009 3:46 PM


Posted by: free Chinese Mobile softwares|china mobiles games|china mobiles themes on November 8, 2009 4:42 PM

They used to broadcast hours on curling on the CBC when I was a kid. It was yet another reason we thought Canadians were weirdos.

Posted by: Ted Craig on November 8, 2009 6:27 PM

Those China Mobile Games are pretty bloody silly.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on November 9, 2009 12:55 AM

The ANGLE at which that flat paddle, etc. strikes the incoming ball or shuttlecock is crucial for a succssful return. Also the speed with which the paddle/bat/mallet is swung. And various other parameters.

In other words, the successful player is exrcising a number of carefully attuned skeltal/muscular/motor skills, not unlike a skilled portrait artist. We who have aspired to such skills but lack the necesssary excellence can appreciate the performance of our betters, and discuss them intelligently, even if we can never hope to be progessional ball players. Or professional artists.

Posted by: mike shupp on November 9, 2009 2:05 AM

Lots of silly sports if you take them out of the context of human competition and just look at the actual mechanics of them. However, no sport is actually silly because it's not the mechanics that matter; it's the skill and competition that matter.

That said, fucking NASCAR. What the hell?

Posted by: JV on November 9, 2009 12:10 PM

I think even a tough guy like Hemingway would have had to admit the sportsmanly merits of low jumping.

Posted by: Brian on November 9, 2009 1:09 PM

Any sport that requires "judges" to determine the winner.

And any sport prefaced with "Extreme".

Posted by: Gunther on November 9, 2009 11:11 PM

Not a very interesting post. You must try harder. It's all be done before, long ago ('flannelled fools and muddied oafs' etc.). If you don't like sport, and you're not interested, do try to find something you are interested in to write about.

Posted by: Graham Asher on November 10, 2009 2:24 PM

Graham Asher:

Not a very interesting comment. You must try harder. It's all been done before ("Ray Butlers", "shiva", etc.). If you don't like posts about sports, and you're not interested, do try to find something you are interested in to write about.

Posted by: PatrickH on November 11, 2009 12:04 PM

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