by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
May 14, 2006
BILLIARDS IS NOT A SPORT, EITHER
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Dear Fox Sports Network: - is that too obsequious?
I've been a lifelong sports fan, and watch most sporting events whenever I can. Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, even curling. I've got all the sports networks set up on my remote like a telephone speed dial, and I read programming schedules the way baseball geeks pore over box scores.
But I don't watch FSN very often, and that's why I'm writing to you.
I was wondering if you could possibly, you know, when you get the chance, could you maybe, well, show some sports?
It's not that I don't like what you broadcast, it's just that - all right, I don't like what you broadcast.
One would assume by the name of your network that you actually show sporting events. Of course, one can also assume that MTV actually shows music videos, but MTV hasn't shown a video since 1997. Instead, it's nothing but back-to-back episodes of Road Rules, Real World Des Moines, and Punk'd ("this week, Ashton Kutcher punks Bruce Willis by marrying his ex-wife. Hilarity ensues.")
The problem is, I can go for days without seeing any national sporting events on FSN. While I can watch Major League Baseball on other sports channels, and even on some cable networks, you guys rarely show baseball. Even Oprah's Oxygen Network carries more baseball games than you.
Granted, you did show some Indiana Pacers games this year, but this was a sucky season for them, so that one was pretty much a wash.
What does that leave us? There's Pride Fighting, which is nothing more than organized brawling. If I wanted to watch two guys savagely beat the crap out of each other, I'd lock Bill O'Reilly and Al Franken in the same room with a single microphone.
You also give us four showings of The Best Damn Sports Show Period throughout the day. I admit this beats ESPN, which broadcasts its one-hour SportsCenter show four times in a row. But you need to realize that if no one watched BDSSP at 9 pm, we're not going to watch it at 11 pm, 12 pm, or 7:00 the next morning. Give it a rest.
You also provide us with hour after hour of Championship Poker repeats. Not the live events, mind you, but REPEATS of tournaments that happened weeks or even months ago.
And don't even get me started about the incongruity of poker on a sports network. A bunch of sweaty fat guys staring at a deck of cards does not constitute a sport. If it did, Computer Solitaire would be an Olympic event, and I'd be on the front of a Wheaties box.
(While we're on the subject, rolling a 12-pound ball at a bunch of heavy wooden pins is not a sport. Throwing small pointy sticks at a round stationary target is not a sport. And I hate to say it, but driving really fast around an oval is not a sport, either. If it were, I would be an amateur of some renown, and my daily commute would constitute a strenuous workout.)
So what gives you the right to call yourselves a sports network? In one broadcast day last week, I counted -- no kidding -- four hours of Best Damn Sports Show, two hours of championship poker repeats, two-and-a-half hours of infomercials, and one hour of dart championships (also a repeat). No baseball, no basketball, nothing. Not even curling!
Come on FSN, at least meet us halfway. Show the NFL Europe, the English Soccer League, or minor league baseball. Even two kids playing catch would be a welcome change.
Take a page from your competitor, Comcast Sports. Last summer and fall, I was able to watch games from the Canadian Football League every weekend. There was college football from the Mid-American Conference, so I was able to watch my beloved Fighting David Lettermans of Ball State University. They even showed women's college softball and field hockey. You've given us four hours of men sharing their feelings about sports, and Championship Go Fish.
If you're trying to figure out what's a sport and what isn't, just follow this rule of thumb: if you can do it sitting down, it's not a sport. If a guy like me is in better shape than the pros who do it for a living, it's not a sport. So quit broadcasting those recreational activities. Show some real sports with real athletes real soon, and make it snappy. Otherwise you'll be facing some stiff competition.
I hear the Oxygen network is going to start broadcasting synchronized swimming.