Sound Observations

Humor, sports and social satire from an absurd modern world. Comments are encouraged and appreciated. Welcome!

Location: Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Friday, October 20, 2006

Golf Is For Pussies

I've been reading a lot of articles lately about Tiger Woods, and how he's the "Greatest Individual Athlete of All Time." It could be an accurate statement. Woods has the build of an NFL cornerback and the concentration of Bobby Fischer in his prime (before he lost his mind and his country by becoming a Jew-hating miscreant). But is Tiger really an athlete if he plays a non-athletic sport? Is Phil Helmuth a great athlete because his poker forum has taken over ESPN?

Absolutely not. Golf is a game, but not a sport.

Let me define game first. A game is any competition that one or more people play to determine a clear winner. This includes Super Mario Bros., billiards, Red Rover, etc. The term "game" denotes a wide spectrum of possibilities. The simple fact is, you can play games while smoking and drinking (ping pong, pool, poker, and... golf).

The smoking and drinking rule is what sets apart the game from the sport. You would not be running wind sprints in practice as a professional football player if you had gotten loaded at the bar earlier in the day at lunch with some 57-year-old woman that kept buying you drinks until she looked good enough for you to take her home for some afternoon delight, rubbing her leathery skin against your cheek, only to realize as you laid in bed afterward, smoking a cigarette, that it's your buddy's mom's best friend.

In short, you can't indulge in debauchery while engaged in a sport. Maybe before, maybe after, but not during.

You can do anything during a game however. I know people that can only beat me in Madden when they're stoned out of their minds. I know people (because I am one) that play better pool when they're drunk. They can't really stand without swaying, they're hitting on the Golden Tee machine, they're pissing in the corner wall by the women's bathroom, but they'll hustle the hell out of you on the pool table. It's beautiful.

This can be dangerous, though. Who decided to put dart boards in bars? I mean, who figured, "Hey, what goes better with pints and pints of booze than medium-sized projectiles with pointed ends? We should set up the game right where anyone can walk through during a throw and get thunked in the jugular. It'll be great!"

This may be a good time to mention my idea for the bar games triathlon. I'm thinking about a kind of Olympic style venue for only people who are good at meaningless games. So far, I have Ping Pong, pool, and darts, which should be enough, but I'm thinking about expanding it (air hockey, foosball, arcade basketball, Rochambeau, etc.) to a decathlon. I'm sure there would be interest from ESPN, don't you think? I'd watch it.

Anyway, I'm getting away from my point. Golf is a game, and not a sport, because you can drink and smoke while you play. I love golf for this very reason. I love any game where you can smoke and drink during the course of action.

Sports take physical attributes that very few Americans possess. Swimming, basketball, football, and tennis are very difficult to play when you're either hammered or hacking up some lung butter from those Malboro Reds you smoked this morning because they were 2 for the price of 1. Sports take athletic ability and physical stamina, which means strength and great cardiovascular health.

I will note an exception here for baseball. I suppose it's a sport, because its always been a sport. Although, baseball does fit in more with the definition of a game. Besides running out a ground ball at first or tracking down a flyball in center field, baseball does not take much physical effort. Therefore, you could conceivably drink and/or smoke during the game (see: Babe Ruth, David Wells, etc.).

As for golf, look at some of the winners on tour this year. Phil Mickelson, Tim "Lumpy" Herron, J.B. Holmes. These are guys that couldn't win a race against Gregory House, MD, even with the cane! How about the perennial PGA talents like John Daly, Craig (and son Kevin) Stadler, or Jason Gore? The sheer physics of these guys' girth is amazing. I've played plenty of golf, especially in the last few years. I've played in 104 + degree heat, and have lost 20% of my body weight before the turn. And I was riding in a cart! These guys walk the courses week after week in mid-summer in places like Houston, Phoenix, and Jackson, and they're STILL pushing 300? It's amazing to me. They must eat a block of cheese and a chihuahua every half hour to keep up their stamina.

So Tiger Woods might be a great athlete, but he's not involved in a real sport. If he drives down the lane and dunks on Alonzo Mourning, if he runs back a kickoff from 5 yards deep in the endzone, if he throws his gloves off and goes after Brendan Shanahan, then I'll call him great athlete in a sport. Until then, he'll just be playing a game. He might as well kick back and have a beer.



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