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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Poker is not a sport

    Adam Gaubsports editor
    Adam Gaub
    sports editor

    gaub’s gospel

    Like a sickness, spreading slowly, it has invaded our society, attacking our young and old alike. And no, I’m not talking about the Asian bird flu that we keep getting warned about, or some outbreak of mad cow disease.

    Its name is poker, and it rears its ugly head in a variety of forms: five-card draw, Omaha hold ’em, seven-card stud, or arguably the most popular, Texas hold ’em.

    Poker tournaments are becoming increasingly popular; both student unions on campus have hosted them, with various fraternities also getting into the mix.

    This sickness has now infested itself in our televisions sets, taking over channels desperate for 24-hour-a-day programming. But it’s everywhere – just take a look at how much poker is on the screen these days: “”Celebrity Poker Showdown”” (Bravo), “”World Poker Tour”” (Travel Channel), “”World Series of Poker”” (ESPN and ESPN 2), “”The Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament”” (FSN), “”Poker Challenge”” (FSN) and even “”Casino Cinema”” (Spike), and that’s just naming a few.

    If poker can be called a sport and given more television coverage than a Los Angeles police chase down Interstate 5 on CNN, then can’t we give just a little bit of love to other “”sports”” that require equal if not more amounts of athleticism?

    I propose a list of five things that would make for better television viewing than guys in sunglasses with headphones on flicking cards across the felt.

    5. Kite flying

    It’s got all the key elements: physical exertion, high-flying excitement and the ability for sadistic jerks to watch, hoping and praying that the poor guy running along with his kite eats it on the sprinkler head he’s about to trip over.

    You may be wondering how in the world you can turn kite flying into a competitive sport. I would have asked you the same thing about bass fishing, but they seemed to figure that one out, canvassing TV screens with competitive fishing at 2 a.m. nowadays.

    4. Skydiving

    People love the X-Games – high-action, big jumps and young, exciting athletes. So why not judge people for jumping from planes?

    We’ve got judges grading the quality of a double axle in ice skating, so why not have a team of judges scoring the artistic quality of the jump and scoring technical points for the quality of landing? Bonus points could even be given for more daring landing choices, such as coming down in a cornfield or attempting to postage stamp oneself on a rooftop.

    I’d like to see Chris “”Jesus”” Ferguson of World Series of Poker renown try to keep a straight face when hurtling toward the earth from 20,000 feet.

    3. Ultimate Frisbee

    A hugely popular sport on campus, with female, male and coed teams alike participating, ultimate Frisbee is truly a sport worth watching. Less violent than lacrosse but sharing a vaguely similar format, this game could garner huge support from college campuses nationwide.

    In fact, if they put it on ice, ultimate Frisbee would already be a sport at the Winter Olympics. (This is actually a better idea than putting bowling, fishing, Bob Knight’s reality show or the “”Sun Devil Insider”” on TV – at least maybe ESPN U will look at the idea.)

    2. Elementary school field days

    It would actually be entertaining to watch cute little kids attempt the 100-yard dash, run across the field in a sack race, or go for the gold in the broad jump. If ESPN is desperate enough to run the World’s Strongest Man competition over and over and over again ad nauseum, I can’t see why it wouldn’t want this. It’s pure gold. (Except for when little Billy cries uncontrollably after falling off the monkey bars during the obstacle course. Nobody wants to see that.)

    1. Coloring

    This is one I seriously consider to be picked up by PBS. When it is, I should get some sort of a cut on the next telethon.

    I remember as a kid growing up watching painting shows with little old ladies drawing vases of flowers and bowls of fruit after my folks had finished watching “”This Old House,”” on Saturdays. Here’s the chance for Public Broadcasting to get in the sporting game in an eccentric way: Coloring as a sport.

    Points would be given for creativity, staying within the lines and variety of color usage. Just like poker, coloring could also be spiced up with a couple of commentators, preferably at least one who used to color professionally, who can overanalyze looks given between competing colorers and harshly criticize them when they make a style mistake or questionable color choice.

    I can see it now: “”Marigold, Bob! Marigold! Just what was she thinking?””

    “”I agree 100 percent with you, Mary Lou. This was clearly a situation that called for sunflower. That mistake is definitely going to cost her.””

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