Opinion

The weird world of sports, according to Dave McKenzie

So much going on! Our young Mariners team is showing some nice surprises, football season is nearly here, the last PGA Major event is only days away — and the Olympics is dominating the sporting news (even if it is eight bloody hours ahead).

What could be better for the typical sports fan?

OK, so, I’m not the typical sports fan. That’s not to say I don’t like sports — I do. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in front of the TV with my dad and watching professional bowling.

I now like to go into the bowling alley pro-shops and, with a Middle Eastern accent, tell them “I need a ball that knocks down all the pins, rather than just a few. I think I need an extra-large ball. I saw a man knocking down all the pins with a purple bowling ball. I want one of those.” They don’t know where to begin.

How to play soccer: Run around, and try to kick the ball. Be careful, as others will be doing the same thing.

I humbly admit that I do not understand the worldwide love for soccer. When Peru plays Ecuador, there are a billion people in the stands. The line to the one Honey Bucket is 20 miles long. I believe the captain of the losing team is beheaded. Well, maybe that was 1,000 years ago. But they are fanatical about the sport.

Knowing how popular soccer is, our presidential candidates have weighed in. First, Barack Obama promised to let girls play on boys’ teams. Not to be outdone, Mitt Romney told a Midwest soccer group, “Vote for me, and you soccer players will be able to use your hands!”

I was also into the martial arts when I was young. My parents let me choose any Japanese martial artform I wanted. I picked origami. Bullies beat the crap out of me and stuffed the paper flowers up my butt.

Then I got serious. Kung fu, tai chi, jiujitsu, tae kwon do, Krav Maga… I always figured the names had a bearing on how effective the styles are. I started experimenting with combining them. But one must be careful here. If you learn Krav Jitsu, you will be too powerful. Conversely, Tai Fu and Kung Chi are silly and useless in a fight. My dream is to find a parallel universe where people move more slowly, and where I can be better than them at everything. Possibly a superhero. I’d like to beat someone up using the tai chi I’ve learned.

I golfed for a while. One of the best pieces of golf advice I’ve heard is this: If you’re going to be playing a round against someone you know, give him a golf magazine the day before.

The message here of course is that the many swing “tips” from the pros are likely to mess his game up good. Here’s my favorite piece of advice, and it’s something that a golfer must always remember: You will hit at least one terrible tee shot if you golf with someone prone to flatulence.

Running — for the sake of running — has become a major industry. I’ve heard it said that running is “half physical and half mental.” What does the runner have to think about? “Left, right, left…Don’t run into things…Must continue to go counter-clockwise around the track…After I cross the finish line, stop running.”

This brings me back the Olympics. I’ve been watching a little of the coverage when I can. Can anyone tell me why “beach” volleyball is an Olympic sport? Regular volleyball not enough? Need to see what they can do on sand? Or is this about the bikinis?

Actually, some of the track and field events are kind of strange, if you think about it. First, there was the foot race. Easy to understand. Then we decided to place barriers in the way (hurdles). Then the runners had to jump over an occasional barrier and puddle (steeplechase). We even slowed it all down with the walking races.

It wasn’t enough to see how far one can jump. They added a couple of hops before the jump (triple jump). It’s not enough to see how high you can jump — they added a pole. And to show one’s strength, there are no less than four objects to be thrown (shot, discus, hammer, javelin).  It’s not terribly different with the swimming events. I mean, what’s the point of the butterfly, back and breast strokes? By this logic, we may need a few more track events. My choices are: the 400-meter backward run, the 100 meter one-legged hop, and the 200-meter dash with the runners not being allowed to bend their legs.

Oh, and I almost forgot, the 100 meters on sand. What the heck — let’s have them carry a dog too.

 

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