I was flicking around the television remote the other night when I went past the PBS station and saw that they were airing yet another of their ballroom dancing competitions. Although I only paused for two seconds, it was long enough to hear the announcer report that ballroom dancing has been accepted as an exhibition sport by the International Olympic Committee.
Ballroom dancing as an Olympic sport? I don’t think so. It makes about as much sense as Larry King giving Rick Rockwell marriage advice.
I’m no expert on athletic endeavors, but I’m fairly sure that if it involves participants in formalwear, it’s not a sport. The Olympic motto is “Swifter, Higher, Stronger.” It isn’t “Honey, can you help me with this cummerbund?”
On my show the next day I asked my listeners, “If ballroom dancing is in the Olympics, what else should be on the roster?” They came up with a pretty good list.
First, the beer sports, naturally. The sorts of events where training must involve a six-pack-a-day. Darts. Fishing. Horseshoes. Limbo. These are the ones you can play while holding a cup/can/bottle of beer and never risk spilling a drop.
Then, there are the camp sports. Where outside of camp have you ever seen anyone play Tetherball? You don’t hear anyone quitting work for the day and heading for the gym for a good game of Tetherball. I’m fairly certain it’s illegal outside of licensed summer camp facilities due to the danger inherent in that rope getting wrapped too high up the pole.
While we’re there, add Ultimate Frisbee to the list, along with its sunny day park-pal, Hacky Sack. I’m sure that somewhere in the world there’s a Full Contact Hacky Sack competition of some kind, but it doesn’t sound Olympic to me.
Wiffle Ball. Stick Ball. Stoop Ball, for you urban dwellers. Dodge Ball — the sport where only your very best friend would dare leave a huge red mark on your leg after throwing that gym ball at you with all their might.
Trampoline!! Studies have shown that there has never been a human being who didn’t enjoy the trampoline. But you never get a chance once you’re out of school, do you? I’ll give away a million dollar idea here: a health club with trampolines in the floor — not raised like the old ones, where you need spotters around the sides, but flush with the floor (they have them at kiddie play-gyms). Who wouldn’t love to spend some time just bouncing up and down, trying to work up the nerve to attempt that twist-your-legs-around-and-land-on-your-tush move in front of other adults?
You say the Trampoline doesn’t deserve Olympic status? Remember that they already have an event called Rhythmic Gymnastics, the rules of which require several 13-year-old girls with no actual bone structure to roll around on a mat twirling a stick with ribbon on the end. Then they toss it in the air, do a quadruple somersault, and catch the stick again. If that’s a sport, so is being a drum major.
Table top games come next. Paper football! The one where the triangle hangs over the edge for a touchdown, followed by the extra point attempt through your friend’s finger-goalposts, which inevitably ends up going in someone’s eye, thus ending the game. It can also be played as penny football, for you rich kids who can’t handle the origami involved in folding paper into a triangle.
Tiddlywinks. Marbles. Jacks. Washers. Thumb Wrestling, a game that doesn’t get boring until well into the second minute.
Jigsaw puzzles. Mancala. Chinese Checkers. Pop-A-Matic Trouble. Yahtzee!!
Pool (controversy: which game do they play, 9-Ball or Stripes & Solids?). Ping pong — please, don’t call it table tennis — which we haven’t seen televised since the US team went to China many years ago in a desperate attempt to create a historic moment that could later be replicated as a scene in “Forrest Gump.”
Back outside now for Hopscotch. Jumping Rope. Double Dutch. Hide And Seek. Kick The Can. Yo-Yo, with expert analysis by Tommy Smothers.
Bocce Ball. Shuffleboard (an Olympic sport for seniors only). Miniature Golf — let’s see those Romanians take a shot at some American windmills!
Bring on the mutant sports. Truck pulls. Dwarf tossing. Bungee jumping. Bull fighting.
Rock, Paper, Scissors! Who can forget the scandal when the Bulgarian team faked the scissors and brought out the rock instead, just as the buzzer sounded? Do you believe in miracles?!?
And don’t forget the sport most feared by adults all over the world. The one that would cause spectators to exit at top speed from poolside at the Olympic swimming venue. Yes, I’m talking about Marco Polo, Olympic-style.
Lest you think any of these suggestions are too outrageous to be considered by Juan Antonio Samaranch and his Council Of Easily Bribed Officials at the International Olympic Committee, keep in mind two simple facts: 1) the Winter Games already have Curling, a sport that consists entirely of a bunch of people sweeping up the ice around one of those bombs Boris Badenov was always throwing at Rocky & Bullwinkle; and 2) they are seriously considering adding the card game Bridge to the roster of Olympic sports.
Sadly, I’m not making that up.
Okay, that’s enough. I have to get back to working with my daughter, who I hope to have ready to play in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Look for her as captain of the US Crazy Eights team.