SportsCenter Highlight Atrocities

Everyone has their gripes with ESPN. I have my short list as well but I don’t try to make it public because, well, ESPN happens to be my favorite channel. It kind of goes against the advice of “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” However, there is something that I do want to throw out there just because it bugs me so much.

I get irritated when the network’s signature program, SportsCenter, showcases events that have no relevance in the sporting world at all. The spelling bee and competitive eating are two examples. If I didn’t enjoy watching poker I would include it as a third. But what really gets me is what Sportscenter has decided to show “highlights” of the past two days. I think it is a sign that our society is going downhill when the most popular sports show on the planet decides to feature the Westminster Dog Show. Yuck!

I would rather watch ants crawl around on a curb than watch the Westminster Dog Show. I find it boring, stuffy, and stupid. With that said, I guess it pulls in decent ratings for the USA Network so I can’t blame that station for broadcasting it. But I can blame ESPN for putting something on SportsCenter that is the ultimate antithesis to anything remotely athletic. In my opinion, a dog show has no right to take up even two seconds on a station that is supposed to be devoted to real athletes and the spirit of legitimate competition.

But like I said above, I know ESPN features non-athletic junk quite frequently. However, I got to thinking…if ESPN insists on filling SportsCenter highlights with strange, quasi-competition oddities, why don’t they at least make it interesting? I am talking about permanently axing dogs walking across a stage and kids trying to spell long words with something entertaining and physically skill-based. If I had to pitch you an idea for such an alternative, I would tell you to go to one place…

The arcade.

ESPN should create an arcade league that brings people from all over the world that specialize in the following events. Following each competition is my thinking on what it would be like/look like:

Skee-Ball: These competitors go for the highest-value hole at the top every single time and seldom miss. They massage those nasty brown balls for good luck and make the celebrations of bowlers look tame.

Air Hockey: These head-to-head battles are absolutely ruthless. Competitors slam the puck with as much strength as they possibly can. Many times the mallets go airborne. There is sweating involved and the march to seven points is usually very grueling.

Hot Shot: These “athletes” train their lives away hoisting up as many shots on the mini hoop in 60 seconds as possible. It is a game all about speed because the people who compete in this activity never miss. Those who score 100 points automatically make the Top Ten on SportsCenter.

Ball Crawl Wrestling: Object of this game is to submerge your opponent under the balls for three seconds. This competition gets nasty and by the time the bout is over, half of the balls are out of the netted area.

Whack-A-Mole: Of course this little game would be prominently featured. Pros at this game would have excellent hand-eye coordination as well as an uncanny ability to know in their heads what mole would pop out of which hole next. Watching this would not be for the faint of heart…competitors swing with violence and curse excessively.

So who knows if any of these games would ever make good TV. Most likely, it would probably appeal to a niche, just like competitive eating and poker do. But one thing I know for sure, you ask? It would be much more entertaining and physically challenging than the Westminster Dog Show. What a complete waste of time. Don’t Blink.

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