Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Wide World of (Just a Few) Sports

By Kibby Kleiman
Thu, Jan 17, 2008 at 12:30 PM

If there are still bowl games left to play (East-West Shrine Game this Saturday!) then it isn't too late for a just-before-the-buzzer Resolution from the Sports department.

Everything's running late thus far in '08; Democrat and Republican nominations are still not sewn up after, what, two weeks? The A's still haven't traded or dumped every outfielder who's played a full nine innings of major league baseball (no, wait they just did), and Al Davis still hasn't fired the crew for the past year's offenses against football.

So, here's ours for the new year: Enjoy more sports.

Over the years we have seen our sports-scope narrowed to a negligible point. It's football, baseball and basketball and that's it. We have 24 hours of sports radio, three round the clock ESPN's, a local Fox TV network, and yet, we have fewer sports aired, posted and printed.

Let's resolve to do better.

When I was a kid, Saturday meant the Wide World of Sports, an unapologetic celebration of athletics that didn't distinguish between curling and cliff-diving. Now we have become so xenophobic that an Olympics year like the one we're fast-breaking toward is cause for cranky posturing. Sporting News magazine, like many media outlets, brags that it won't cover the Games; that it will focus on real sports news instead. That means I won't be stinted on coverage of how much beef they'll serve at Minnesota Vikings training camp, but that I'll be shit out of luck if I hope to know who to watch in the decathalon.

And this isn't even a plea to create a United Nations of sport, it's an off-speed pitch to ask us to remember sports that we used to watch, sports Americans even win, that have been kicked to the curb and deserve a space in our sporty hearts. I'm not asking for something exotic; let's start with comfort sports, if you will. Golf and tennis, hockey and horse racing, boxing and bowling are all perfectly mainstream, and yet they've all been washed away to almost invisibility.

So, as you watch the A's this 2008, trailing 8-2 in the third inning, as you thrill to the Raiders not being able to sign half their draft choices, you can tell yourself, that this will be a resolution easy to keep: I can do better than this!

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