The recent World Series and NBA finals have seen the lowest viewership in years. I don’t expect anything better from college and pro football or any of the other sports. (Check the dictionary and you’ll find that “stink” is defined as the “NFC East.”) The leagues, players, and pundits all keep coming up with reasons for the decline, none of which hold water.
Let’s just face facts, gentlemen, sports has become boring.
The real cause is too many silly rules and too many penalties, (Hey Ref! He’s looking at me again!) too slow of play, and just not enough real action. However, with just a few very minor, insignificant changes, sports can be salvaged and returned to being must watch entertainment.
Let’s start with the NBA which has turned into a wimpfest. First thing is to get rid of all the BS foul nonsense and make the game full contact mixed martial arts basketball. All time outs are eliminated, (except for 20 second ones called by the refs to clear the floor of bodies.) Shot clock violations will be enforced by snipers. At half time, while the teams sort out hospitalizations and fatalities, get rid of the sportscasters showing clips of what we’ve already seen and jabbering about what we already know, and just show the dancers – and strongly consider some skimpier costumes.
The NFL is suffering from the same maladies. Get rid of all the “little girl rules” and let the teams duke it out. Speed up the game by keeping all players on the field and letting them play both offense and defense. We used to play two-way – it’s time for it to return. Another slight change would be the addition of one more tiny insignificant element to the game – swords. Instead of the nonsense about two feet in bounds for a legal catch, this would be determined by where the torso ended up. Ties at the end of regulation would give new meaning to the overtime Sudden Death rules.
For the worst boring offenders, consider soccer and hockey.
Too many games end up in regulation as zero to zero ties. The whole thing is a waste of time watching guys run or skate back and forth with absolutely nothing happening. Start by doubling the size of the goals – and get rid of the goalies and goalkeepers. Give us some action and some scoring! We need final scores in the 30 to 40 range to make it interesting. In soccer, get rid of the yellow and red card BS and replace them with a black card. Black card violations will be enforced by borrowing the snipers from the NBA. The hockey penalty box will be replaced with the Spanish Inquisition box.
In baseball, the ball is always live – run for a stolen base anytime you want. Move the fence in to 250 feet and really make the live ball era live – none of this 2 to 1 final score bull. Forget tagging up – just go for it! Return to the roots of baseball when a player was out (really out) when the defense hit them with the ball – and legalize bean balls to keep the batters honest. The only time outs would be the same as for the NBA so that bodies could be cleared from the playing field. (And get rid of the infield fly rule that even Einstein couldn’t keep straight.)
Why do we watch motor racing? Let’s just cut the crap and admit we don’t care who wins, we’re waiting for the wrecks – the more spectacular the better. To enhance the excitement, replace the front and rear bumpers with ones made from a few pounds of C-4 explosives with judicially spaced detonators. Get rid of the yellow flags – just let them drive around (or over) the wreckage. And to heck with the checkered flag, the winner is the last car still moving.
Replace golf with “Go Fast Golf.” All the players line up next to the pin on the first green – needs to be a par five to stretch out the field – then they race to the tee box, retrieve their clubs and start blasting away. It’d be as exciting as the start of Le Mans! None of this “Fore” nonsense as clobbering another player just cuts down on the competition. The players carry their own clubs and race from hole to hole. The final score is the number of minutes to complete the round plus one minute for each stroke taken. A typical course is around 7,000 yards. Add in a little extra for the getting from a hole to the next tee, and you’ve got maybe 4 to 5 miles. Par would be about 60 minutes for the round, (allows a little time to hit the ball,) and 72 minutes for each stroke for a total of about 130 minutes, give or take. Full body checking and tripping would add some more pizzazz – and let’s put the “club” back into golf clubs.
Tennis needs a major overhaul. Start by surrounding the “in play area” (sideline to sideline, baseline to baseline) with tall clear (shatterproof) glass. Same thing with the net – replace it with solid glass. Get rid of the rackets and use the cestas (long wicker scoops) from Jai alai to serve and return the ball so you’ll get some 200 mph plus speeds. Replace the “tennis balls” with ultra bouncy Super Balls that ricochet (and ricochet and ricochet and ricochet) off the glass. Imagine a too low 200 mph serve coming back off the “glass net.” Now that’s entertainment! Forget the confusing scoring – the survivor is the winner. (Expect short matches.)
The same principles can be applied to all sports to liven them up.
You gotta admit that swimming, diving, water polo, water skiing, white water kayaking, etc. would be a lot more entertaining with great whites, crocodiles, and piranhas. Add a few chasing cheetahs to the sprints and world record times would plummet. Even croquet could become a “must see” sport by replacing the balls with grenades.
So if you’re as fed up with the current sports line up as I am, get those texts, e-mails, cards, and letters off to the various sports commissioners and demand more action. It’s a win-win solution for everyone. We viewers get some much needed excitement and the networks get increased revenues from increased viewership, which they pass on to the leagues and individual teams.
And for the players – “Avē Imperātor, moritūrī tē salūtant!”
[Editor’s Note: For those of you whose Latin might be a little rusty, “Avē Imperātor, moritūrī tē salūtant!” was pledged by the gladiators entering the Roman Coliseum – “Hail Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!”]