Thank you, Garry for pointing the article out. The author belongs to the club that knows a little about baseball, perhaps basketball, football, golf and bowling. With the risk of offending some other track fans, I dare to state that the road cyclist (not even the Tour de France caliber) are the best conditioned athletes of all the sports.
What ignorance, I wonder why Americans are sometimes disliked around the world...?
I've been watching the Tour everyday. Armstrong's performance yesterday after falling off, then taking a nut shot on the crossbar, was one of the most impressive things I've seen for years. The look of determination on his face was awesome. Of course they're all guilty of "that subject"!
Now ice skating. Is that a sport? I don't think so...
The writer calls cycling a "hobby, an activity" like kayaking & darts. He writes: "My basic premise is that given a couple years training and a cool bike, I could be a professional cyclist. I might not be able to compete in the Tour de France, but I'd get close. Come on, pretty much everyone can pedal a bike."
Yeah, right. Don't the Tour de France guys go up to 40mph? He is mad if he seriously considers golf & bowling as sports, but not cycling. I'm not even a cycling fan. Although there are some good laughs in the article. Another similar article...
I think most people reading this board are probably biased in their judgement of the article in that they are obviously already a fan of individual type sports such as track and field and cycling. However I to intend to come in off the long run up and make the 29 ft jump over the 2.4m high bar onto the bandwagon, and say that the guy who wrote that article really has different ideas to most people about what constitutes a sport. What has been unfolding this year in the tour de france makes it one of the more exciting sporting encounters I have ever observed. When Ullrich closed th gap to 15sec I thought all was lost for france armstrong, but then to attack as hard as he did after falling off and win the stage was brilliant and carries all the drama, the danger, guts determination of any sporting encounter. It would make any honest person want to take up cycling and thats saying something from a hardened track man like myself.
While I disagree with the article's key thrust, the writer's views are NOT different from most people's (Americans') views re: what constitutes a sport. Or at least an exciting sport. Armstrong must be America's least-watched sports star. The Tour de France undeservedly gets media coverage in the U.S. that is WAY out of proportion to actual interest. Americans tune out big time. As usual, the TV ratings are abysmally low -- watched by about 1.3% of U.S. homes -- despite Armstrong's "drive for five" quest this year. Even track & field attracts many more TV viewers, yet doesn't get 1/2 of coverage that I've seen for the Tour de France. That's not right, & the world track champs deserve much more coverage than the tour. Yet it won't get it, because USATF isn't up to snuff in promoting our sport.
OK, the devil in me pleads guilty for making the original post just to see what kind of heated conversation we could draw on the board. As somebody noted up top, we were definitley just doing some major chain-yanking (great cycling metaphor that).
I'm amazed that somebody could say "What ignorance, I wonder why Americans are sometimes disliked around the world...? " Somebody needs a humor (or is it humour?) transplant!
As to whom the guy represents, remember that even though it's called the "sports pages" and the people are "sportswriters" they have nothing to do with sports and everythig to do with GAMES! That's where the interest of the great unwashed has lain forever, is now, and for evermore shall be (world without end....)
Live with it folks! We're in a raging minority; it's a couch-potato world and we're just casual observers on the fringe.
>Live with it folks! We're in
>a raging minority; it's a couch-potato world and
>we're just casual observers on the fringe.
I have never accepted that viewpoint. I firmly believe that track and field is an inherently exciting sport, and most sports fans would find it entertaining given exposure to it. About ten years ago I went to Cleveland to see the K of C indoor meet and convinced two of my college buddies to go to the meet with me. Neither had ever attended a track meet in their lives, but had a thoroughly good time. The next year they asked me when the meet was coming up -- I had to tell them it had been cancelled, and they really didn't understand why. All you have to see is a hotly contested mile relay with the meet trophy on the line, and you can be hooked for life.
Another sportswriter recently said that Armstrong's stare-down of Ullrich a few years back was the moment that cycling ceased to be a fringe sport in the USA. The fact that this idiot actualy wrote an article denigrating cycling means that it shows up on sportswriters' radar; I wish our sport could get such abuse.
"Armstrong's stare-down of Ullrich a few years back was the moment that cycling ceased to be a fringe sport."
People want the drama of personal rivalries. Why do we scold our sprinters for their behavior (as long as it isn't obviously bad sportmanship) when that is the essence of sports entertainment. We don't live in 1880's England anymore. Showboating in the NBA/NFL is an art form.
OK, so in his next week's column, here's what the SF Chron guy said:
<<My anti-cycling rant from last week generated more e-mail than anything in my previous 230 columns. It wasn't even close. I never thought I'd say this, but cycling fans are more emotional and more passionate than Raiders fans. I was impressed.
At least 100 people sent me the dictionary definition of sport. Got it, thanks. Many people assumed I'm a fat, ugly, potato chip-eating loser who has no sex drive and who would throw up after one trip around a track. Um, OK.
Some clever folks even subscribed me to cycling e-mail newsletters. That's the kind of payback I can appreciate.
Everyone questioned my sanity, something that's always been rampantly questioned and never quite clarified.
Since baseball is the antithesis of track, I imagine most of us find it very boring. My friends say track is dull because of all the incessant 'running in circles', but my idea of sport is not 18 guys sitting/standing around watching a game of catch, as another guy whiffs his bat around ineffectually 7 times out of 10. Wake me up when the big guy pulls a hamstring trying to break 5 seconds getting the 30 yards to first. The 7th inning stretch is necessitated by all the blood pooling in the buttockial region from so little excitement getting you out of your seat.