Friday, July 26, 2013

Our need for recognition, or is it the need to fill air time?

While slavishly trying to loss weight working out at the gym the other day, on my ravaged knees and aching joints (OK, dial down the whine button!), the screen above my elliptical running machine was set to Fox Sports Midwest. And since you can't change the channel from your machine you are kinda stuck with what is on.
Usually it is some sports channel or infomercials (did anyone get the number for the battery powered weed-whip?).

On my third visit to the gym this week, it was on Fox Sports Midwest.

And I was 'lucky' enough to catch the 'Ultimate Dodgeball Champinships'. And since I was on the machine for the incredible duration of 16 minutes, I was able to catch several matches. (And it was still on when I left the gym 30 minutes later!)

I guess since the fall from grace of Tiger Woods we should expect some unusual sports to try to carry the mantel till his return.

But, Holy Cow! Dodgeball?

The championship is sponsored by Sky Zone Trampoline Parks (which are really fun places for birthday parties) and held through 35 different parks till a winner is decided.
There is $50,000 dollars worth of prize money at stake. (OK, now I get the incentive.)

Now, don't get me wrong, I love trampolines (I have had one since 1973) and I love watching people on them in gymnastic competitions,  and I love all good sports (can't wait till the next table tennis season starts). But geez, are we so in need of recognition and reward that we now have to have a tournament for Dodgeball (didn't Ben Stiller make a movie about this?), but now played on a big bouncy floor.

What was really cool (not!) was that they also did player profiles and interviews and displayed there photos on the little circles showing each member on one screen, with their names underneath (can't wait to see them do that on the duck hunting show, each dog in a little circle, blood line profiled.) and real cool team names like the 'St Louis Dream Team'.

The way I remember Dodgeball is like this; another indoor game you played in school, when it was to hot or to cold or to rainy to go outside and play, well . .,  dodgeball, that they called a sport in gym class, but was really just another game that kept the gym teachers from having to come up with anything new, and also allowed the bullies to once again pick on the fat guys with glasses, that were really slow (can you say 'run on sentence') and easy targets.
The big jock/bully could usually throw the ball harder than most quarterbacks, and he usually aimed for the head of us guys wearing glasses. We (I mean 'they') rarely lasted past the first couple of throws, blood dripping from where our glasses had cut into our noses, to then usually enjoy most of the gym class from the side lines, and we were never, ever, the first picked because something about wearing glasses made you bad at sports but good as targets (do I need therapy on this issue? No, I'm over it, really.)

Flash forward to 2013 and we now place a trampoline under the players and we call it a sport worth television time. I am going to check the ratings as soon as I am done here.

There was nothing particularly new or overly athletically different about having it played on a trampoline other than if you fell down you bounced back up. Actually, most of the time was spent running on the blue padded areas of the court. There were no flamboyant costumes or players. It was almost more exciting to watch duck hunting on the outdoor network two TV screens away (actually, it was more exciting to watch duck hunting, at least the dogs are great swimmers.)

If the players were required to take advantage of the trampolines it could be fun to watch. Like, say, each player had to do at least four flips or aerials during each match and you had to be in the air to throw the ball. Or you got to bring a player back in if someone caught the ball while doing a flip. I don't think they should be allowed to touch the blue mats either once the game starts.
Maybe, if the right sponsors sign on to the show, some of these changes I have suggested could be implemented.

OK,OK, I get it, we all want to be recognized for doing good at something we enjoy. And it's always fun to win an award for doing good at a sport or event we enjoy (I have several medals for kayaking and one plastic one ounce beer stein for a chili-cookoff).
But come on! Dodgeball! on TV! as a sport! with prize money! (I also noticed that none of the teams had anyone that wore glasses.)

Maybe we have to many sports channels, or maybe we except to much mediocrity as valuable. You can't blame the Dodgeball players; Who doesn't want to be on TV sometime? You have to blame the viewers for giving such stuff relevancy (yea, yea, same with 'Jersey Housewives').

OK, so I am going to get off my soapbox now, after all, it's time for me to program my DVR to catch the latest episode of 'Ninja Industrial Tumbling Janitors'.

Clic here if you want to hear what the Huffington Post says

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