Balls Out: Let’s talk underrated sports

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In lieu of the story published in the October 2 edition of The Spectator, “Pole Dance Spins into the Spotlight,” I am writing today—as a member of a classically underrated sport—to defend both pole dancing and all those sports jocks of the world deem unworthy of the title of ‘sport.’ Upon reading the pole dance story, becoming privy to the various negative opinions regarding the activity, I felt inclined to respond to those opinions and give my reasons for why people should stop passing innumerable judgments on the other non-ball related sports of today. Beginning with:

Pole Dancing.

Although, yes, the sport most commonly contracts sexualized thoughts when brought up, what people fail to consider when pondering the pole are the physical variables involved in the activity. The dancer of poles must be able to perform two difficult tasks simultaneously. Not only does the individual have to have an immense amount of all around body strength–enough to get oneself a considerable distance off the ground and onto the pole–they must also have the impressive flexibility to pretzel themselves up in unfathomable ways.

Golf

I am not certain what the general opinion of the unofficial definition of the term ‘sport’ is, but it seems relatively clear that golf is one that has been dismissed. Although I agree golfing lacks a certain amount of exertion that other sports put in on a daily basis, I would argue that the technique it requires surpasses that of most other sports. One can fine tune their ability to shoot a free throw every time, but it seems no matter how much practice a novice participates in, the accuracy improves in only a slight amount.

Tennis

Tennis is a sport that I am in constant awe of. The power with which every professional tennis player I have observed (both men and women) can pound that ball across the court is unreal. As an aspiring recreational tennis player–meaning I would love to be able to play a full, solid rally–I have struggled back and forth across flailing my arms in every wrong direction, sending balls over the fence on more than one occasion. I would say that a majority of people recognize tennis as a sport, but don’t pay enough attention to it. Or maybe people just don’t have as hard a time with it as me, and therefore are less amazed.

And finally, Cross Country/Track

I have to add this is a biased opinion, as I am a cross country runner. I went all through high school listening to my wonderful football friends tell me that cross country was a stupid non-sport. Though I agree that the point of putting yourself through hell with the sole purpose of getting faster isn’t as complex as the hundreds of rules associated with football, I beg critics to just go for a mere five mile run. I encourage them to run a mile as fast as they can, and then try and tell the Galen Rupps and Mo Farrahs of the world that what they do is just dumb.

As spoken Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird said, “You never really understand a person [or his sport] until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

So before disregarding certain athletics, hop on a pole, grab a club or put on some spikes, and then make the judgment call.