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Hopster
06-30-2003, 12:35 AM
Below is a column from the Las Vegas Review Journal. All the words are the writers, take what you will from it.
Hopster

Sunday, June 29, 2003
Copyright Las Vegas Review-Journal

COLUMN: Joe Hawk


Games people play outside sports' realm








Undoubtedly, you've seen the bumper stickers.

You know, the ones with the double entendres about what type of "equipment" it takes to play a certain sport? They're generally harmless -- considering some of the outright obscene things you hear in movies and music today -- and, what-the-hey, when a little creativity is put into their phrasing, these tailpipe ticklers can be good for a chuckle.

The other day, I saw one for billiards on the back of a dented, late-'70s pickup -- suffice it to say it had to do with one of the properties of a good cue stick -- that led me to think:

What is the difference between a sport and a game?

As a teenager, I had a pool table. I played on it almost every day for three years, and I became fairly skilled in eight-ball and rotation. I was no Minnesota Fats; more like Oregon Tubby. Yet, I was feared in my neighborhood.

But was I an athlete? Was this truly "sport" -- anymore than the sport I got from taking my buddies' after-school burger-and-fries money?

Of course not.

Still, those who compete in billiards at the professional level see their activity as sport. As do those who compete in darts. And those who compete on skateboards.

I cite these examples because this week all three are holding events here, all while continuing to seek credibility from those who follow mainstream sports.

Today, it's the finals of the $250,000 Boost Mobile Pro of Skateboarding being held at the Hard Rock. Tuesday through July 6, the $120,000 Las Vegas Desert Classic II Darts Championship will be contested in the MGM Grand Conference Center. And Wednesday night, the Billiard Congress of America will stage a come-one, come-all Challenge the Stars benefit for the Billiard Education Foundation inside the Sands Convention Center.

What's a sports columnist to do? Risk becoming a games columnist by covering one or more of the three?

If you go by the most liberal definition of "sport" as provided by Webster's -- "an activity, when competitive, requiring more or less vigorous bodily exertion and carried on, sometimes as a profession, according to some traditional form or set of rules" -- skateboarding would qualify, but billiards or darts, by lack of even "or less vigorous bodily exertion" wouldn't.

However, if you check with the International Olympic Committee, which should have set standards, billiards somehow qualifies but skateboarding and darts do not. Then again, while not sanctioning the following, the IOC does recognize as sports: ice dancing, kite-surfing, mountaineering, paintball, roller skating, tug of war, Ultimate Frisbee and competitive life-saving.

The esteemed organization also considers korfball, orienteering and wushu, whatever they may be, as sports, as well as -- count to 10 before screaming -- bridge and chess! ... Eight, nine, 10!

So much for "vigorous bodily exertion."

If we can't get a precise definition from the dictionary or the IOC on what level of physical activity qualifies as "sport," let us turn to that great American arbiter, ESPN. The vaunted cable network has televised billiards and skateboarding over recent years, mostly on ESPN2. But much to the chagrin of darters worldwide, not one leg, let alone match, of their "sport."

Apparently, ESPN officials, whose network also proudly carries the finals of the annual National Spelling Bee every May, are "pococurante" when it comes to darts. ("Pococurante," the winning word in this year's bee, means "caring little.")

Darts has made some progress, however, with Fox Sports stepping up to the "oche" (pronounced OCK-ee) -- the line from which darters throw -- and televising portions of Desert Classic II, beginning Thursday and running through the finals July 6.

Note, that's Fox Sports!

Perhaps the best definition of what separates sport from game is one provided by a close friend: If you can successfully compete while holding a beer in your hand or a cigarette in your mouth, it's a game.

That would seemingly draw the line between bowling (sport) and billiards (game). Our apologies, too, to those who compete in darts.

Still, I can see their double-entendre bumper sticker now: "Darters aim to please!"


Joe Hawk's column is published Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. He can be reached at 387-2912 or jhawk@reviewjournal.com.

tateuts
06-30-2003, 10:43 AM
Hi Hopster,

Bet everything is nice and cool in LAS these days.

I have gone to the definitive arbiter of such arguments - the digital TV Guide on our cable system. Billiards is classified as "sports: other". There you have it, we are "sports; other".

By the way, I get my cardio workout every time I'm hill-hill and facing a long shot on the niner.

Chris

SPetty
06-30-2003, 11:22 AM
Thanks for the post, Hopster. I enjoyed it.

Based on the last tournament I participated in, I've figured out that for those of a higher skill level who are able to remain at the table and gently run ball after ball after ball, it is a game.

For those of a lesser skill level who can't pocket a ball and play safeties poorly enough to allow the opponent to hit the ball and safe you back, so that you walk to to the table, bend down and shoot, walk back to the chair, sit down, stand up, walk over to the table, bend down and shoot, walk back to the chair, sit down, stand up, .... then it's an active sport. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

pooltchr
06-30-2003, 01:03 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> Thanks for the post, Hopster. I enjoyed it.

Based on the last tournament I participated in, I've figured out that for those of a higher skill level who are able to remain at the table and gently run ball after ball after ball, it is a game.

For those of a lesser skill level who can't pocket a ball and play safeties poorly enough to allow the opponent to hit the ball and safe you back, so that you walk to to the table, bend down and shoot, walk back to the chair, sit down, stand up, walk over to the table, bend down and shoot, walk back to the chair, sit down, stand up, .... then it's an active sport. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Unless you are playing one of those high skill level types who typically runs out, in which case you sit in the chair, get up, walk to the table, rack, sit down, watch, get up, walk to the table, rack.... then it becomes a spectator activity!

Hopster
06-30-2003, 09:36 PM
Thanks for the post, Hopster. I enjoyed it. &lt;--Spetty

Youre welcome Susan.

dardusm
07-01-2003, 11:58 AM
I have always felt it is a sport if the activity involved both hand/eye coordination and competition. Chess isn't a sport because of the lack of hand/eye coordination but darts would fit under my definition.

Darryl

07-02-2003, 02:10 AM
Hi Hopster, I'll be performing out in Vegas next week at the BCA trade show, come see me in the Billiard Capitol pool table booth. When you come in the door my name will be on the entertainers list and you can pick up my booth # there.
I'll play you a game of rotation.
Of course pool or billiards or snooker is a sport. The problem is that the sports writers don't think any activity that does not appear in their newspaper sports section is a sport. I think their view of this is a little narrow.
Fast Larry

Hopster
07-02-2003, 10:21 AM
Hi Hopster, I'll be performing out in Vegas next week at the BCA trade show, come see me in the Billiard Capitol pool table booth. When you come in the door my name will be on the entertainers list and you can pick up my booth # there.
I'll play you a game of rotation. &lt;--Fast Larry ??

Im assuming it is you posting and not one of these clowns using your name. Based on that assumption, i will definetly see you at the show if i can get in and take you up on that game of Rotation.

Wally_in_Cincy
07-02-2003, 10:44 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Hopster:</font><hr> ...i will definetly see you at the show if i can get in and take you up on that game of Rotation.
<hr /></blockquote>

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote 9 Ball Billy:</font><hr> Hopster, you still just dont get it do you. You are not invited, you are not welcome, they dont want you in there to be able to see the top players on earth to perform and show and see and meet the people who make this stuff and to be able to shop and try it out. .......<hr /></blockquote>

Sorry Hopster, I couldn't resist /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Hopster
07-02-2003, 12:12 PM
Sorry Hopster, I couldn't resist &lt;--Wally

Nice one Wally, nobody appreciates a good zing more than me. lol

07-03-2003, 03:04 AM
Dear Mr Hopster, yes it's really me. You asked a long time ago to meet me at the show and it's now a week away. See you there, bring your boy. Yes, a lot of post were made by people using my name, my identity and email address. It became a severe problem. False posts were made on ccb and a hugh number on playpool.com. I pray that this has now stopped and I can get back to work. I apologize to those people who I provoked to take to these extreme measures. I am sure it's all my fault and I pray some how I can work my way out from under all of this. Fast Larry

Hopster
07-03-2003, 03:30 AM
Dear Mr Hopster, yes it's really me. You asked a long time ago to meet me at the show and it's now a week away. See you there, bring your boy. Yes, a lot of post were made by people using my name, my identity and email address. It became a severe problem. False posts were made on ccb and a hugh number on playpool.com. I pray that this has now stopped and I can get back to work. I apologize to those people who I provoked to take to these extreme measures. I am sure it's all my fault and I pray some how I can work my way out from under all of this.&lt;-- Fast Larry

Im glad it is you and i will definetly see you there, looking forward to it in fact.
A little rotation for $10 a game you say ?? DEAL !!! lol