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Poker is not a Sport

August 30, 2011

Sometimes it’s nice to have noise in the background as you go about your business of taking over the world. Or doing whatever it is you do. The key is finding the right background noise, because you never know when you’ll start with an episode of Friends, and then be assaulted by the screeching of Everybody Loves Raymond.

Or you’ll start with How I Met Your Mother and end with a Lifetime movie that includes a line like “If I can’t have her, nobody can…” And then she dies. And then your brain explodes from the ridiculousness of actually seeing DJ Tanner and Kevin Arnold dating.

So you need to be careful and choose your background noise wisely to protect your ears and eyes from The Crazy. For me, this means watching ESPN and tuning in and out as needed to learn about the things I care about. But every once in a while, ESPN disappoints. And they disappoint when I turn them on and I’m faced with a poker tournament.

Let’s just get this out in the open right now. Poker is not a sport. Poker is a game. Poker is a card game that takes absolutely no physical prowess or skill whatsoever. Physically, all you have to have is the ability to hold a few cards in one hand, while sitting around a table and abstaining from showing any sort of emotion.

And yet. AND YET. ESPN shows poker tournaments. It’s their prerogative, right? They can show any type of competition they choose, right? Wrong. ESPN will gladly tell you that they are “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.” They emblazon this tagline all over their website and each of their channels.

Since when does showing a bunch of guys sitting around a table count as leading the world in sports? I’ll tell you when: never. If I want to see a bunch of men sitting around, putting me to sleep with inane background chatter, I’ll watch C-SPAN. So if ESPN is going to call themselves a worldwide leader in sports, then it is their duty to do so, and to not waste my time and their time, with a card game. Otherwise, call themselves what they are: The Worldwide Leader in Games.

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