Monday, June 23, 2008

Oh, you were finished? Well, allow me to retort.

I didn’t realize the other Joe was gay for golf, but it’s always nice to have a debate, so let’s get into it.

There’s an aspect of golf and darts and other various sports that bothers me that I didn’t really mention in the previous post, but I’ll bring up now since it’s probably the pinnacle of my disdain.

YOU DON’T PLAY AGAINST ANYONE.

In darts, you’re not trying to outsmart anyone; you just toss metal at a wall. In golf, you’re not competing directly against other golfers; you’re just trying to play as well as you can play. If you’d like a comparison, think of it this way: Is it more gratifying to beat another player/team in a match on Halo, or to have each person play the first level of the campaign and declare as the winner whoever finished it faster? Golf, bowling, darts, figure skating, shot put, these are all “turn-based” sports, if you will. Say what you will about swimming, boxing, sprinting, tennis, or Greco-Roman wrestling, at least they’re head-to-head sports.

“[G]olf requires more precision and concentration than any other sport.” Hmmm, really? Let’s take the same comparison with pitching in baseball and examine it. Starting with when the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher, he has to be mindful of his feet. A balk is about the worst thing a pitcher can do, and it comes from simply forgetting yourself for a split second. Then, he’s actually got to pitch, which is done very differently based on a hundred different variables: who’s batting, who’s on deck, is someone on base, if so, how fast is the guy, how many outs are there, what’s the count, what was the last pitch, what did you throw this guy last time in this situation, do you have any weaknesses behind you in the field, is the sun going to affect the batter’s ability to pick up the rotation on the ball, etc etc? Then, after getting all of your preparation together, he’s got to actually pitch, which is just as complex as swinging a club, and a millisecond or millimeter difference can take you from double play to gopher ball. Yep, golfing and pitching are pretty similar…except that when you hit a golf ball, you don’t have a 220-pound cyborg named Dan Uggla trying to turn your pitch around and send it into the bleachers. There’s a pond, but they tend to be a little more predictable…in that they don’t move.

And I like how Joe mentions that golf takes 4+ hours and football takes only 3, and that they get breaks in football, but fails to mention that football players actually have to touch other football players. I’m not arguing the fact that professional golfers are athletes; in order to play any sport well, you’ve got to build your body for that sport. And general physical fitness always puts you in a better position to be successful at a task that requires physical acumen (or so I hear; physical fitness isn’t my forte). In football, you have to prepare yourself for thirty live minutes of combat among 3 hours of walking around, studying, and getting yelled at, rather than four hours of walking, with 50 big swings and 25 small ones mixed in.

In fairness to golf, I’ve never played an organized game of golf in my life; just a couple of those par 2 courses (or as many call them, miniature golf courses). But you know what? I’ve never played an organized game of football. I’ve never played hockey on any level. I haven’t played any game of tennis that I wasn’t forced to play by some sadistic P.E. teacher. But I can appreciate the competitive nature of those sports, and I can understand people who enjoy those sports (I myself like that foose ball). I’m not saying that golf isn’t fun to play, because I don’t know, maybe it is. But I am saying that I don’t understand how people can want to watch golf on television. When I watch sports, I’m not trying to watch something “done well.” I’m trying to see someone beat someone else. Playing the best round of the day is great, but there’s no adversary nature to that. Golfers even seem to generally like each other, always shaking hands and smiling. Gag me. Bill Belichick may be a bastard, but there’s no doubt he makes football more fun. The more definitively teams are divided into “teams I want to see win” and “teams I want to see lose,” the more fun it is to watch games.

It may simply be that I have some genetic flaw (or lack a flaw that many other people have) that prevents me from being able to see why golf is important to so many people. I’m more of a team sport kind of guy anyways, so maybe that’s part of the equation here. One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t talk people into not liking something they like, so obviously my writing here is in vain. I just enjoy a good fight, and since your two hosts of Joe & Joe Sports tend to agree on so much, we have to highlight our rare disagreements. Especially when I’m right.

1 comment:

Chip said...

Are you kidding me?

Let me break it down to two categories. 1) watching golf (PGA) and 2) playing golf. They're both very different.

Watching golf is very much head to head and takes into account not just the golfer's actions, but everyone else's actions on the same course. It is as much of a competition as any other sport, where your performance and the performance based on others determines who wins. And that's just stroke play. The PGA has a handful of match play tournaments, where each hole is a head-to-head match up. Both players are on the same hole at the same time. Whoever buries the ball with fewer strokes wins the hole. And no team play? What about the Ryder Cup?

Playing golf is a different game. Mostly because I suck. Playing golf is more me versus myself because I'm not good enough to give Joe Mandi a run for his money. Playing golf is more about having an excuse to get out of the house, enjoy being outside and around good friends, and enjoying yourself. I've come to enjoy it more recently. I'm not active outside as much as I used to be when I played team sports in high school/college and had all the time in the world with no responsibilities. Golf gives me a chance to get outside. And I don't need 17 other friends to get a game of baseball going or 5 other friends for a good 3-on-3 basketball game. I can play by myself, with one other person, or with 2-3 other people. A great, quaint group. Its social, its active, and you can drink beer while doing it.

I don't know how it gets any better than that.

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