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The List of Boring Sports
The List of Boring Sports
Test cricket on its average day can be dreadfully daft and painstakingly slow. After all,
there’s no restriction to the balls you can play and the time you can waste in playing
those balls. The bowler is happy to swing his arm over and be done with six deliveries
and the batsmen is even happier to let most of them make their way to the man with
the most boring job in the world, the wicket-keeper. Combine these characteristics
with 13 soporifically dressed players, half of them half asleep in the slip-cordon, and
you get 5 days of uninspiring and insipid duel in a placid atmosphere.
Put marathon runners on a machine with two tires, two handles and two peddles and
you create a different sport with all the same ingredients. Although this time, you may
get picturesque locations, a serene and green countryside or bamboozling mountain-
ranges. Enough reasons to watch hundreds of bike-borne athletes ride their way in
almost leisurely fashion? No, not quite. The only interesting part of a cycling tour is
the fluctuating size of a peloton and how an over-ambitious and over-confident
runaway leader always ends up losing steam in the final stages of the race.
The toned-down version of cricket, both in terms of skill and entertainment factor.
Plus, they have 9 godforsaken innings. Yes, nine. They waste half their time in
preparation of the next pitch, frivolous throws to other catchers and that long walk up
to the mould, trying to intimidate the batter, or rather frustrate. The batters are an
amateur lot, they don’t ever seem to gauge the trajectory of the ball, because either
they miss or mishit. With so many catchers cramped into such a small field, the only
option is that of a home-run, which in all probability is what we Indians call a tukka
(freak shot). Plus, anybody bats anytime, pitches anytime and there’s always a guy
swinging his bat needlessly in the sidelines.
And they go round and round and round and round. And there’s not even a choice of
turns. Only left! Motorsports have traditionally been full of adrenaline-pumping speed,
overtaking, accidents, sharp turns and long straights. NASCAR has managed to take
each of these positive elements, twist it with its bare hands and turn auto-racing into
an extremely monotonous and dumb showcase of 50-odd badly painted cars more
focused on avoiding the crash-barriers than moving ahead. If you’ve ever wondered and
doubted the magnitude of driving skill involved, think again. Think about concentration,
patience and work ethic. Try doing 300 laps of a nearby roundabout and you’ll know.
Most of us must have played this game on a computer or a mobile device. But one
doesn’t go and make a sport out of every mobile game. Stand in one place with a
pencil-like thing in your hand, aim at a point on the wall and voila, you are a
professional darts players. Try witnessing a darts game in a bar and you’ll come out
wondering how much fitter you were compared to the player and how many more
glasses of beer he had in your comparison during the course of the match. All a TV
viewer sees is the alternating screens of a plump man, father of four, and a target
board, straight out from the archery range.
Golf is the first word that comes to mind when you hear the words sports and boring
together. Golf is the very definition of boredom. You can’t track a white ball in an
almost white sky, the course isn’t much of a race track and you have to watch a
different golfer after every single shot, chosen in any random order. They don’t run,
unless there’s a loose dog in the greens; they simply stroll. There’s no excitement,
you put a ball in the hole, take your cap off in return of a round of applause from an
audience mostly comprising of Sunday golfers and their caddies. The only fun part is
when the ball ends up in a pond or a bunker or gets lost in the woods.
Watching a bunch of athletes run around a city for hours together is the ultimate test
of patience of the human mind. Taking nothing away from the athletes and their
amazing fitness and endurance levels, marathons aren’t supposed to be a viewer
sport. Let the athletes run and enjoy themselves, because there is simply no fun in
watching others chase a distant red ribbon on the streets of a random city. It seems
like a still photo being played again and again. And you can’t even expect the winner
to celebrate, jump and dance after running his heart and lungs out.
A sorry combination of snooker, bowling and boredom, lawn bowls was probably the
product of the imagination of a frustrated soul who wanted to heap his misery on the
rest of the world. Well, practically, lawn bowls isn’t much of a global sport and is
restricted to the Great Britain and their personally created quadrennial events (read
Commonwealth Games). The game is as difficult to figure out as it is to watch with
willingness. There’s a target ball, two targeting balls which target the target the ball
and don’t quite target it as they are not allowed to touch the target ball.
For some people, chess isn’t even sport. But if the International Olympic Committee
classifies it as sport, then chess is a legitimate choice on this list, because it can be
a nightmare to watch. Playing chess is a different thing altogether, it can be quite
engaging and interesting. But when it comes to watching two extremely nerdy and
geeky (read boring) people, sitting on a coffee table, sucked into the game and
wanting nothing but silence and concentration, it’s a big NO. So what does the
audience do? Sit and watch the entire episode on a computer simulation, hands and
chin together, trying to tune their mental faculties in resonance with those of the
players. Move on.