Fun Friday: Favorite Sport
I was at my friend Vanessa’s birthday party last night and another friend Cliff was saying to me that baseball is falling fast in popularity amoung the younger people in america. So we asked all the kids who were in attendance and sure enough baseball was considered “boring” and was not interesting to them. Soccer (football) on the other hand was rising fast. Among the kids in attendance last night, basketball was first, football and soccer were in a close second, with hockey and baseball in the rear view mirror.
So for fun friday today, I thought I would poll the AVC readers on our favorite sport:
Please participate in the poll and in the comments. After all, this is fun friday.
I did some work for the Padres many years ago, looking at the use of in-stadium technology to increase the popularity of the game, especially among younger fans. One of the things that we discovered is that die hard fans thought the “action” was between the pitches. They were attracted to the strategy and the nuances of the game, not the home runs.
that’s what the kids don’t get
i think they may get it as they get older…..at least that is what happened to me. i thought baseball was pretty boring growing up but as i got older i developed a much greater appreciation for the strategy of it, for “the chess match” between the pitcher and hitter.
and how the infield/outfield will position themselves based on who the hitter is, and what they are going to throw him
Baseball did a lot of this to itself when it dedicated everything from stadium dimensions, mound height and ball design to insuring that Big Papi was a more dangerous player than Vince Colemen.
Rickey Henderson. Greatest lead off man ever.
no question. Lifelong ards fan so I had to go with the guy that did this http://www.youtube.com/watc…
Baseball is like hacking. You can’t know the game unless you play the game. And for newbies the game just ain’t that easy to play.
I think the broadcasters are to blame – they spend too much time sounding like Grandpa and not enough time playing up the narratives.With the data they have at hand, they could tell far more compelling stories, during the games.
You should read Alan Greenspan’s biography, I recall he said he learned all about numbers and statistics through baseball.
absolutely. i’m a pretty big baseball fan and to me the most exciting part is speculating on the mental battle between the pitcher and hitter. and the beauty of a double play.
the pivot and toss.
The inside high heater.
The base-hit to rightfield with runners on first and second with the right fielder having a cannon of an arm rates pretty high as well.
To be a kid and a fan a baseball, you have to play the game of baseball. Youth participation in baseball is off by 30%, just this decade. Why? It’s just not a game you learn over the course of the weekend. It’s time-consuming. It usually requires a older role model to work with on a regular basis. It’s expensive to gear up for. There are fewer and fewer ballfields for Lower income kids to play on. It’s a shame because there’s no other sport which mimics the rhythms of life way baseball does. But as they say in baseball “it ain’t over till its over”.
that’s very true. It’s why anyone that played baseball cries at the end of Field of Dreams.
“Youth participation in baseball is off by 30%, just this decade. Why”Question. On the high school and college level, baseball isn’t as big as football or basketball, correct? (I’m speculating so please correct me if I am wrong). Seeds are planted there.To me that’s where it all starts to get important and gains steam.Not to mention the fact that basketball is played indoors which is more conducive to crowds and football is played only once per week in a big stadium where everybody can get together.Football is scarce, and while basketball isn’t that’s countered by smaller venue as well as the fact that it’s indoors in yuckier weather.Baseball is played outdoors in nicer weather and there is less scarcity (more games, more seats, right?).To me all that factors into the declining lack of appeal of baseball (along with the apparent boredom that has been pointed out.)Lastly, basketball and football can be “played” or practiced in small spaces (backyard or with a net in the driveway) by as few as two people literally (playing catch or in the case of basketball just one person shooting baskets). Lots of chance for intermittent reinforcement and itteration. In baseball you need a team and a field to do anything.
great insight & comment.My son just asked to play ball (he is 8) and I think he likes the complicated nature of everything about it.Baseball, soccer and hockey are similar, I believe, in that they are much more fun to watch live (or play).They are poor electronic sports, unlike Bball & the king, of course, american football.
Ah. The winner will be a test of the readership of this blog. Given it’s global reach, I predict football (the real version ;-)) will win with Basketball coming close thanks to the larger share of American readers. Lets see.I’m currently in Buenos Aires and it’s amazing how big a role football plays in daily life. A restaurant I went to for lunch yesterday had gaps in the menu (where they couldn’t find nice photos of food) filled by Diego Maradona lifting the world cup or scoring a goal. Quite amazing.And food items called “Messi” are, needless to say, in vogue..
i expect you are right. it is quickly growing in popularity in the US
They’ve been saying that for 30 years and it’s still a sport for kids that can’t catch.
this made me laugh.
you need two that can catch.
we love simplicity. kicking a ball into a net – doesn’t really get any simpler.the more complex the sport, the more niche it’s viewership. why else do we love the 100m dash/4*100m relay?
the problem with Messi is that his club paid the bills for his HGH treatment. he is artificially enhanced.
Messi and Ronaldo are the best in the game because they work harder and smarter than everyone else AND have a physical advantage – Ronaldo has a near perfect physique while Messi’s size and low centre of gravity (similar to Maradona) make ball control easier.We always perceive and describe “genius” to be different.It isn’t far from the truth. Years and years of deliberate practice DOES make you different. It develops your muscles differently.. and even changes the way your brain perceives thing.To just point it to medical enhancement feels lazy at best, Jason. 🙂
are you familiar with the Fuentes affair?
fantasy football and football facts. the first is surface, the second is deeper.digging down for facts is not lazy. it’s hard work.
Rohan can u tell the middle name of Maradona? (without Googling or DDGing.).
Almond, or some other nut.
ha…ha…u don’t like Maradona?…fantastic player of soccer of all time (leaving his personal traits).
it’s not called handball, and his shell is cracked.
yes i agree with the ‘handball’ goal…I try ignoring that part of crack …and have had enjoyed his all other positives.btw, most of the genius are crack-heads
i think he was a cocaine-head.
Armando. way too easy my friend. 🙂
i expected….but i liked the ‘almond nut’ reply by jason 🙂
Cool. Do you eat meat?
yup, but more of a seafood fan, William. 🙂
So what did you think of Argentinean steaks?
They are HUGE!
Rohan, simple yet complex. HDTV has helped every sport, but soccer the most. With most other sports you can see 70-100% of the players on a standard screen, but with soccer it was 20-40% most of the time and even then it was very fuzzy. Soccer is a game played mostly away from the ball. With HD, I now see 50-70% of the players on average so I can watch the play unfold. And it’s clear. Just wait til we have IPTV everywhere and 30 cameras in stadiums so that with 2-3 streams I can see 100% of the play the way I want. Go ManU! Farewell SAF!
Very interesting take, Michael. I never thought of that as an issue….Farewell SAF indeed. 🙁
Disappointed not to see Cricket in the list….and very dis-heartening fill ‘The Cricket’ in something which says ‘Other’…
I agree with you. It’s very big in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & even popular to some extent in the UK.
Funny part is British introduced that game to these countries… and now out of every $1 generated incricket 80c is from India and now we are having sports clubs matches were every cricket good cricketer is coming and playing in the clubs…big money…10-billion $ business every year.
Yup. Cricket is the 2nd most watched sport in the world with 2.5billion audience vs. soccer #1 at 3.5 B.
good that Chinese don’t like cricket….then that number no-one can beat for ever 🙂
To some extent? Ha!Also South Africa, West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh.The South Africans are the number 1 test team at the moment.
And aren’t they obsessed. I was in SA a few months ago and everyone over the age of about 12 could tell me the score at any time.
Too right. Had the same experience in Sri Lanka.
‘…even popular to some extent in the UK…’ ???Cricket was invented in the UK and continues to be popular there.
i like french cricket
Apropos soccer/football, Jason Kottke had a fun post yesterday on “soccer’s knuckleball”: http://kottke.org/13/05/soc…
Put me in the boring Baseball camp. Preferably in my old season tickets row 34 section 116 at Citizens Bank Park as the Phillies beat up on the Mets. I miss that.(Related: Hockey is the best sport to see live by far.)
you had to put that bit in about beating the mets, didn’t you!
The Mets get dusted. Get over it. 😉
should have seen that coming
If I liked a team it would be the Yankees. They have the best branding, logo, the whole shebang hands down. It’s so good even I recognize it.
Hockey live is amazing. Going to the BlackHawks game tomorrow.
Yes, the speed and grace of hockey is not that telegenic.Spent 2 years with press pass to an NHL team. Standing by the boards, in the corner walkouts, during a tight game gave you a palpable sense of the action. Vivid.
NHL can thank their lucky stars the flat-screen TV was invented, otherwise it wouldn’t even be on Fred’s list. Go Flyers!
baseball, is it sport or is it culture?
http://www.swfc.co.uk/Need I say more …? 😉
Sovereign Wealth Fund Club?
The Mighty Owls! 😉
I like football, baseball, and basketball all pretty equally, but, in person, nothing is as exciting for me as a big American football spectacle.
Rugby!!!It makes American Football look like a pansy sport…
So say my friends from New Zealand!
I played my senior year of college. Was fun. But, I broke a hand and tore up a shoulder……
I also love rugby and have played it for a decade.The problem with it is that you can’t/shouldn’t play it casually. You have to take it seriously or you can get yourself/others injured quite easily. Of course, you can love a sport without having ever played it, but I think it is more difficult.Regarding American football, I tried it for a summer and I don’t believe it is softer, it’s just different. I think that in rugby you get hit more times and you need more resistance, but in football when you get hit you really get hit. Rugby is also more a team effort than football.
We’re trying to disparage a popular sport played by the most elite athletes in the world here!
🙂 sorry about that! both sports have more in common that it looks. I had a teammate playing rugby that had played football for several years. He always tackled head first like if he still had helmet (in rugby you go shoulder first). He ended in hospital several times before getting used.
Hockey can get pretty violent too.
u talking abt ice hockey r hockey?
Ice hockey. A lesser known fact is that Field Hockey is bigger than Ice Hockey on a WW basis.
And guess where one of the best tournaments you will ever see in the US this weekend???? College Rugby Seven’s Championship Tournament.http://www.usasevenscrc.com/
Thanks!.- Didnt know that was this weekend or in Philly. Played in a lot of Seven’s tournaments when a kid – will have to keep an eye out for this. 🙂
This is interesting. Where are you from? I felt the same way you did until I spent a few months living with a U-21 national player (rugby) for England. He said American Football scared him because those guys run into each other head on at a dead sprint from ~50 yards apart. On the other hand, he had plenty of sh*t to talk about soccer.
I wasn’t going to take the bait and have played and love both sports.A top Rugby player makes about 5% of what an NFL player makes: http://www.ehow.com/info_12…If it were easy to switch people would. The speed, strength, and size of American Football cannot be understood unless you see it on the sidelines in person.Playing NFL Football is like getting in 30 severe car accidents on a Sunday. If you really know an NFL player ask him which day of the week he gets out of bed and does not literally have to crawl hands and knees to the bathroom, it will depend on how many seasons he has played.
“Playing NFL Football is like getting in 30 severe car accidents”In high school we had to pick a sport and I picked football. I spent the entire time trying to not get picked to play recognizing the potential for injury after the first practice. So I don’t think I was ever picked to play. Weirdest game we played was against a deaf school.To me it’s unfortunate that people pursue a path with such danger for the entertainment of others as well as their own gratification and then have to live with the pain and consequences for the rest of their lives. Most of the people who encourage this behavior (as is the case with so many things) never have to be around to clean up the mess. Parents are culpable in this as well either because they encourage (say Dad fulfilling his dream) or don’t want to take the heat for telling their kid they can’t play a dangerous sport.Sports are grandfathered. Most likely if someone simply decided today to offer these to high school kids the idea would be nixed right off the top. Funny how that grandfathering thing is.
I loved it. My parents did not. I did not have the speed. Yes, it is very dangerous. My last game ended with me in HUP with the head orthopedist asking me what my major was (he was very happy to learn business and engineering) or if I played piano.In a twist of fate knowing how to keep my head off the ground probably saved my life when I was hit by a car. The other person I was walking with was not so lucky.
Yes that is top of mind about the last comments about biking in NYC.She was looking at a map going to a job interview in a Corporate Commons. She didn’t get there as they held her to see if either of us died.I took the brunt of the hit but I kept my head off the pavement. My co-worker was not as lucky. He still has some problems with Vertigo but is a very high ranking person at SAP.I just have a convenient excuse why I don’t golf.
I played in high school. Not beyond, but in very good nationally ranked program.I still remember — 20ish years later — vividly the biggest hits i took.I still proudly have my state championship picture up in my childhood bedroom.It is an amazing team game that instills tremendous life-long discipline, more than in any other sport I have played. What’s happening with the head injuries is really sad, because it seems to be getting harder and harder to endorse it to the kids.
Don’t watch it but certainly do ski. One of my greatest pleasures that I simply don’t do enough.
I want to have company team “bonding” ski trips. Book a place for a week, and everyone can work and ski … possibly sometimes at the same time or at least while going up a ski lift.
I like sports for different reasons. I actively played basketball. I learned a lot about success and failure, self discipline, goal setting and coaching. When it’s played well, it’s truly ballet on hardwood. A great jazz number and sums up what entrepreneurship is all about. Soccer can be like that too. There is nothing like college football in the south. If you haven’t been to an SEC game you should. Ole Miss has the best tailgate you will ever go to in your life and they redshirt Miss America there. But, baseball is a uniquely American game. Too really understand it, you have to understand the strategy. Ironically, it’s also the most racially diverse of the popular American sports. It has a lot of elements of American business in it too. Sometimes you specialize (division of labor)-sometimes you are out for yourself (stealing a base, batting) but sometimes you take one for the team (sacrifice). You can’t beat a day at Wrigley Field. Being a Cubs fan, you have to be optimistic about the future.
This might be the perfect comment.
white sox > cubs
http://espn.go.com/blog/chi… Hope you like the feel of a broom.
hahahhaaha!!! ouch! 🙂
The White Sox may have the most annoying announcers in the history of broadcast sports.
In terms of winning? Yes. In terms of partying? Not even close.
that’s probably why i like white sox more than cubs…..wrigley field is too rowdy for me. i feel more comfortable and enjoy myself more at whatever the name of the white sox stadium is.
I’ll always think of Comiskey and the Sox….
Great comment, esp. the Untouchables-esque baseball rundown, the dynamic complexity of great hoops and ‘they redshirt Miss America there’ – wish I had coined that phrase.
@pointsnfigures:disqus – well put and I agree with you on baseball and its intricacies. For me, there’s also a benefit to the unrushed nature of not just each game itself, but also the season as a whole. A nice relaxed pace as opposed to much of our day-to-day lives.
Heading there this afternoon provided the rain holds off. You can’t beat a day at Wrigley, too right.
Love baseball. I find it intensely romantic for some reason. I once spent many hours at Candlestick Park, cold and exhausted by the end of the day but enthralled and smitten by the whole spectacle.Beautifully written, sir.I grew up playing only rugby – I am of Welsh parentage and was born and grew-up in Rugby, Warwickshire, so there was little choice in the matter (football was even banned in my school in those days!) – I still love the game but have too many memories of its brutality to fully enjoy it now… 😉
Grew up in Northumberland – in Northern England – and played rubgy too. While I enjoy soccer and basketball, rugby is where I learned the importance and joy of being in a team and I still love to watch a good game (though one of my knees reminds of the reality of the game more often than enough). Not been to a baseball game yet – something i hope to do before the end of the season.
Some good points. My favorite sport is American football (Giants), but I’ve been watching more soccer in the last couple of years, mainly English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. Soccer is the most racially diverse of global sports, and probably the most inclusive of the majority population where its played. In Europe, most players tend to be European, but there are also Latin American and African players. There’s at least one American playing in the English Premier League, and its top team (Manchester United) even has a Japanese player.
I love the Giants.Football is the only thing that eases the pain of the end of summer for me.
probably one of the best odes to baseball i have heard in a while
The youngest generation of Americans supposedly reads more than any other generation ever has. They just don’t read books. They read tweets, texts, blogs, posts, etc. For kids, life is fast-paced and frenetic (not a bad thing). Baseball is the opposite. Like a cultural relic of times gone by. At least that’s one theory 🙂
It can and should be reshaped to fit the times.
it has to be football (soccer) and cycling.football is best suited to the most selfless, but is played by the most selfish.cycling is beyond mere sport.
Totally agree about cycling. I’m pretty surprised there aren’t more fans here.it hasExtreme Athleticism:How many other “games” are THREE FREAKING WEEKS, where a large percentage of players don’t even finish. Fancy 6 hours between time-outs?Gentlemanly:You might “turn a peddle in anger” but fights are unheard of.Beautiful:How about a tour through some of the greatest county sides, cities and mountains in the world? And though the strategy and teamwork is complex and essential, you’re witnessing some of the most intense personal, internal struggles in sports.Fast:How does 60mph down a winding mountain sound. One two 1-inch wide wheels.Accessible:Not only is the cost to enter the sport small, but the stadium is the real world with no price for admission. You can reach out and touch (please don’t) the riders with your bare hands and run along beside them.Strategic:9 teammates working on ever shifting goals to thwart 20 other teams! Shifting alliances, changing conditions that require split second complex decision making, and it’s all done without knowing how much you’ve really got in the tank.History:Few modern sports have a history like cycling.Camaraderie:Not just within your team, every sport as that, but between teams. Your bitter rival can truly be one of your friends. You race with largely the same cast of characters as opponents throughout the year. There are no “foreign” hated rivals, and opponents regularly help each other.So yeah. It’s great. 4 weeks to the tour! Hit me up to join my fantasy team.
Rugby. Similar to American football without the helmets, airbags, and long stops to catch your breath before another 6 seconds of play. AKA real men only. I used to play hooker, not dissimilar to my current role as CEO / Founder.
You’ve obviously never played competitive American Football.
Nah. Just putting the fun back in Friday.
played both. hits are different. as has been written before, if you tackle in rugby like American Football, it’s a guaranteed trip to the hospital. Football is speedier, hits way more violent and more blind side hits. Rugby players are in better shape.
My husband played rugby in grad school. I was struck by the camaraderie he described which seemed unique. I saw something similar on my son’s high school lacrosse team. My husband and kids have played other sports so there is a basis for comparison but I realize it could have just been the particular teams and not the actual sport. Did you experience that?
As a hooker in the front row, you form a very unique camaraderie with your team mates. You have two six foot plus men pushing each cheek of your butt, with the option of a hand up between your legs, grabbing hold wherever they can. Then you lock head-to-head with the unshaved opposition, and when not pushing for your life, you get a few choice swear words in. There’s nothing like it, and just now I realize how much I miss it.
I usually played as a center. We didn’t get such an intimate relation out there, but it doesn’t matter. You depend on the others and viceversa. If they are not there when you need them, someone will crack your ribs.
I was a second row and number 8.
You have to be big to play there! I started as 6 or 7 when I was in school, but had to go to the line when I didn’t grow more 🙂
My husband was a wing. What surprised me most about learning that he played rugby is that he was a skinny guy in grad school (just before I met him). I always imagined Rugby players to look like the guys in the photo. But I guess wings don’t need the bulk — and he was fast. Very fast for a rugby player.
Is that you in the photo?
Christ no. All middle aged and sensible now.
My husband read this “rugby stream” and bids his respect. Says that the hooker is the tough guy in the game.
Don’t overestimate the power of alcochol in rugby’s camaraderie. I’ve never drank as much alcohol as when I played it. Not having some beers with the other team after the match is considered rude. Then it’s all about who is able to drink more. Then we are all friends.
My husband’s explanation for the camaraderie was that the more difficult and life-threatening the sport, the more you bond.But he confirmed your explanation as well. Except he rarely drinks so go figure.
Can’t comment on the drinking but as a rugby Mom last year I thoroughly enjoyed watching. They call it the Gentleman’s Game and I agree, seeing the coaches and the refs help the kids understand the gamesmanship and how to tackle and how to also deal with the fact that you are getting hammered and expected to get up and continue playing was inspiring. Whilst my son only wanted to play a season (skinny and quick like your husband Donna), he credits the season with toughening him up and making him understand himself better on and off the field. I can’t comment on American Football but I always say to Mothers who are worried to really encourage their boys to have a go – particularly before they hit puberty!
I understand and agree. I’ve had two sons on tackle (American) football teams. As a mom it’s a little harrowing especailly when one son was a lineman facing off with 300 pounders. He only played for one season before switching to Lacrosse but then he had hard, fast balls coming at his groin as a goalie. The other son is going into 7th grade and loves the game so I am bracing myself for several more years. It does help that I love the game.For all my kids, what I love most about sports is what it does for their personal development. I don’t know how old your son is, but it sounds as though he is very self aware.
Soccer is a gentlemen’s game, played y hooligans; rugby is a hooligan’s game, played by gentlemen.Most ruby people I have met have lived up to that line.I suspect your husband does too.
Ha, that’s great, James.And yes he does.
Baseball misses Steinbrenner
Soccer. PRO: its a long-enough game (2x45min), no stops, no show biz (outside the field). its strongly a team game and there is a strong balance between physical (german soccer), tactical (english), beautiful (latin american).CON: many games have little action, because the field is big and tactics are well-known.
+1nice way to put different flavors …and yes latin-soccer is really beautiful…btw, how will u flavor Itaian and Spanish?
Italian: less tactical than english. more tactical and less physical than german.Spanish: almost as tactical as british, a bit beautiful like the lat am, but not so much. probably as physical as italian.but that’s my opinion, only..
Deutsche fussball bund
Very apropos, given the current hot topic in the NBA these days. This is where flopping was invented, after all.
Ha ha ha! Excellent contribution.
Paintball is good fun. Can’t wait to get Google Glasses and make some apps for big games./ events. I just edited / posted this video from a weekend long event at Travis AFB (awesome residential neighborhood for a field!)::http://www.youtube.com/watc…Got another one coming soon from last weekend I recorded with a GoPro..Other than that I’m a fan of pool / billiards too.
I love baseball, except when the Mets beat the Yankees…right now I’m hating it…
American football is the best.But I want my kids to play soccer and tennis.
That is so true.
Whichever one I have a wager on.Seriously….if you don’t “get” a popular sport, it’s because you’re not paying attention. Put a meaningful amount on the outcome and you’ll suddenly become obsessed with pitch-count and field position. Once the little things start mattering to you, you get away from a “things must be moving at all times for me to be entertained” mentality of a 12 year old that missed his Adderall treatment.p.s. Curling wagering FTW
To play? Tennis, Ultimate Frisbee
american football, but only because of culture surrounding it. that there are only 16 games and sunday is the big game day makes it so awesome for socializing around.i’m not sure what’s my second favorite, baseball or basketball. it’s close. i feel like if i voted basketball now i might be swayed by nba playoffs going on right now. last night’s loss was tough. but i’m glad the heat are devolving to the lebron show. the big 3 is becomign the big one, and while lebron is a freak of nature who still gives me multiple wtf moments every game i watch of his, one person still cannot do everything needed for the duration of a playoff series. unless joey crawford receives orders to the contrary spurs will be champions.i’m not into soccer/rest of world football. slow and boring. it’s like basketball but if nobody scored and they just ran back and forth a lot. wtf
Get rid of the goalies and flops and you’re onto somethingBonus points for kookology regarding the NBA….which is, I can guarantee, 100% fixed. It’s too bad too….the game at that level is more than good enough to stand on its own.
you nailed the popularity reason for football in your first two sentences. I don’t take part as a fan, but I at least understand it – – played from age 7 to 17 until I found rugby in college > and kept playing till 35.
Sundays in the fall and winter are awesome!
For me, it’s baseball, especially to play. (Was a collegiate baseball player).However, I get it. The pace of the game is slow. There’s no more steroids (well… there’s less) and nobody besides purists like me like watching pitching duels or games without DHs (which are awful, but all of baseball will go that route soon enough I suspect.)I LOVE watching the NBA, but there’s a misconception that they’re all over-hyped, ball-hugging thugs, which just isn’t true.I’d say that soccer’s popularity is increasing in a big way. It’s engaging for young(er) kids and many stick with it over a sport like baseball that they find boring when they’re 4-7 year old.Where I’m from/live (Texas), it’s football, though. Football will always reign supreme and now in the last 10year with the huge emergence of Fantasy football, I think the game IS and will continue to grow among the (more casual) fans.
Did you chew? or dip?
Eh – like all ball players I tried it (very briefly), but it didn’t take.I was probably 5-7 on a team of 40 that didn’t. I spit seeds occasionally, but that’s about it.
My kids play basketball, soccer and lacrosse. Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in America, with participation up 38% from 2009 to 2010 and up 218% from 2000 to 2010 (according to this CNBC report http://bit.ly/nZwmq1). Lacrosse is eating baseball’s lunch in terms of spring sport youth participation.
Thank goodness the kids in the carribean will carry the torch. Whenever I go there I pick up a two baseball gloves beforehand and leave them on then first baseball diamond that I find.
Soccer has been “gaining popularity with young Americans” since I was 7 years old. The good athletes just move on from it for football or basketball.
What I find curious of Americans playing soccer is that you mix boys and girls. That’s something I’ve never seen in Europe. Very few girls play it here.
It’s more of an “activity” than a sport here….that’s the only way I know how to put it. I’ve never heard a parent discuss their kids’ soccer game. Other sports, on the other hand….they’re downright pathetic in their vicarious victories.
Same with soccer here regarding parents. That was one of the great things about rugby in Spain. It was not a pro sport, so there were no parents around pushing their kids. All us played because we enjoyed it.
i don’t know…..i’m 32 years old, and when i was a kid it was definitely an activity thing. now, though, the world cup is a big deal. bars have events for it, people follow it, gets a lot of coverage on espn……i still find it incredibly boring but i think it’s growing and part of the globalization trend
“bars have events for it”Stuff like this is a big deal.For example super bowl parties have morphed into the perfect marketing machine for football. It wasn’t like that when I was growing up it wasn’t always that way.Even women get into it. They are barraged in super markets by food displays talking about the super bowl.
agreed, soccer likely peaked in US in the early 70’s with the cosmos and pele. Rugby may get a boost from the olympics in 2016 – 7’s is easier to understand/watch for americans. Plus, the US currently has the “Worlds fastest” rugby player – former gridiron star – Carlen Isles.
I played baseball for a long time and coached my kids until they fell into the “too boring” camp. So I share the experience, but seems like you missed lacrosse, which is the sport that I have found to be the current replacement for baseball. I guess it is still “other,” but not for too long.
Obviously you’ve never seen hurling, the fastest field sport in the world. Unbelievably skilful, http://en.wikipedia.org/wik….
I remember my father showing me clippings from the sports page in 1959 in Boston when he was in high school and the most popular sports seemed to be: track & field, boxing and horse racing. . . go figure.
Must have been a paper from early May…
One thing curious about pro sports in the US is how many rules there are to level the field between teams. You have unions, rules about salaries and things like that. Europe is much less pro market in all other fields but in sports there are very few rules like that.
No Ski & Golf in the multiple choice?
I went Other Golf, but that is to play – enjoy the challenge.So many great sports, really: soccer, football, hoops, baseball, hockey tennis, golf, skiing, etc.
As a kid I loved baseball, but now that I’m older and wiser I don’t wast my time with such childish games! I get out into the great outdoors and climb rocks!
I voted bigtime for “Any Fight Sport” (I grew up wrestling (and I “throw like a girl”) so I’m biased).I think the greatest thing in the world is to see people doing something so violent/intense, but with peace in their hearts. Seeing their opponent as a playing field rather than an enemy.*Every UFC competitor that I’ve met or trained with has been professional, disciplined, educated and as gracious/humble as it gets. As the sport explodes I hope that continues.* This doesn’t always happen, and grudges are fun too…
Forgive me if I’ve missed prior AVC posts with a Polldaddy, but that thing is sweet, and if I may, should be used more often.
it shows up occassionally
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I’ve been a diehard baseball fan since age 5, and I put in the hours as a kid necessary to excel at the game. Unfortunately, all those hours only got me to the level of average high school ballplayer! My son fences, and I’ve picked up an appreciation for that sport through him. It’s a shame it isn’t more popular in the US.
It’s popular in Canada.
Have a friend with 2 boys who fence, in Canada. Started in Saskatton and live in Ottawa not (didn’t move for fencing btw?)
Favorite to Watch on TV: FootballFavorite to Watch Live: HockeyFavorite to Do: Obstacle Runs (right now)Favorite to Compete at: unsure right now – business count?Favorite to practice: Krav MagaI bring this up because “favorite” for me really depends on the relationship between me and the activity.
I voted for Girls HS Softball, which will remain my favorite sport until my daughter graduates next year. Then it will hopefully switch to College Softball…..after that, I really need to get a life.
Yuck yucking guys should try to hit a softball thrown by a NCAAAW pitcher.
My wife, who turned down a full ride to play collegiate softball at a smaller school, scares the heck out of me when she is just “messing around” pitching in our backyard and I’m a hockey goalie. Those ladies can really bring the heat.
extremely difficult. (In Chicago we play 16″-I once saw $10g bet on whether a guy could toss a new Clincher across the Chicago River. He did)
yup 65-70 MPH from NCAA SB distance of 43 feet requires around the same reaction time as 95 MPH from MLB distance 60.6 feet.
Google ‘Gene McWillie’.Legendary CDN softball pitcher. Rumour around Saskatoon, where I went to school, was that Gene’s pitching arm was several inches longer than his left arm – not from birth, from torque.
I’m proud to be among the few hockey voters here. I love being among the savvy minority, the cool kids ;)Hockey is the toughest sport there is. These guys do more running than basketball, more and harder hits than football, hit a smaller object into a smaller net than soccer, require more hand-eye coordination than baseball, all on ice skates.And there’s none of the grandstanding and showboating that lowers the dignity of the other pro sports.Hockey players are the toughest coolest cats in sportsdom.
> And there’s none of the grandstanding and showboating that lowers the dignity of the other pro sports.+1. This is one of the main reasons I love hockey too — the players show up, get the job done, and none of that ‘I’m the greatest’ chest-pumping nonsense.
I’ve always been a Yankee fan (brutal week) and consider baseball my first sport. But in the last few years I’ve been in love with cycling and getting to see good chunks of the Giro, Tour de France and the The Vuelta.I just wish they would smack those guys caught doping real hard.
If my parents really liked me, they would have raised me to be a Yankee and Steeler fan. Instead it’s Indians and Browns. 🙂
Know how you feel Nets fan during those 10 win seasons
I worked in sports for many years for a leading media company. I fielded numerous MR studies w/ fans. Based on virtually every concievable metric, fan affinity in the U.S is strongest with pro and college football. That said, avidity does vary by demo groups with sports like MLB skewing a bit older and sports like soccer and lacrosse skewing younger. The biggest challenge today is the expense of attending live sports, which to fuel fan interest in a big way. For many, many families attending a live sporting event today is cost-prohibitive. Dynamic pricing has helped, but the closest that many kids today get to a live game is by playing video games at home. MLB hasn’t done a particularly good job at the grass roots level with kids and African-Americans. Personally, I’m most partial to the NFL and MLB. Baseball is by far the most intricate and strategic game, sans the AL with their lame-ass designated hitter. What can I say, I’m a purist!
I’ve always theorized that declining popularity of baseball in the US is due to eqaul parts:the fact it is *relatively* boring to watched if you are uninitiated to the sport, and, that it takes 18 people to play a meaninful game, plus a significant amount of equipment.Yes, american football takes equipment, but you can easily see kids playing touch football with 4-6 bodies. Same with basketball, easy and fun to play with 2, 4, or 6. Both those sports are effectively cheap for small children, with 1 ball catering to multiple children, plus shoes.I’ve always felt soccer had the same numerical issue with catching on. While parents will dutifully take their children to soccer games across suburbia, it is very difficult to make a meaningful game with 2 to 6 people. Other than keep away, which is… Ok. 8 people or more can be very fun though.Also, like baseball, the sport is not about the goal. It is about the chess match of possession, feints, and distributing the field to create the best scoring opportunity. The same thing happens in basketball (and american football), but both those sports score more frequently. My theory also includes if soccer created a 2 & 3 point line, more fans will show up.
5-a-side is a very popular and widely played variant
swimming. which I don’t do enough of 🙂
Best sports film ever made
quack quack quack!
Hmmmm… not sure there’s any quacking in “Slap Shot?” Ha!
The Hanson Brothers return
Paul Newman said he felt his character in “Slap Shot” was the closest to his real personality. One more reason to love Newman 🙂
As if we needed another. 😉
Jimmy Chitwood would like a word…
My husband gave me a bunch of pushback on this, saying the best sports film ever made is “Chariots of Fire.”Now, I agree “Chariots” is a fantastic film. But given a choice between watching “Chariots” or “Slap Shot,” I’m picking “Slap Shot” every time. Even if there is no Vangelis soundtrack.
And Table Tennis. It’s more popular than ice hockey on a global basis.
What do people watch in skiing, swimming, running, golf…these are good sport to play.And especially Golf….my god…what is there to watch a person walking with a stick for 10-15 and makes 1-strike.
If you have ever lost a $20 bet on the last whole of a match, regardless of your level of ability, watching the Golf Majors is unbelievably engrossing.
To Watch – PoloTo Play – Tennis Close second – Reading by the pool
A couple of years ago I was in Buenos Aires in peak polo season and caught most of the Open – wow! The level of play was almost surreal with the Ellerstina-La Dolfina rivalry. Beautiful sport.
Not only is it beautiful to watch. The players are pretty gorgeous too, especially the ones in Argentina! It is actually the most dangerous sport in the world. Horseback riding is #1 and the speed at which the ponies go makes it one of the most dangerous forms of riding. So for those who think of it as just an emblem Ralph Lauren likes to toss around t-shirts, it’s a truly rough and dangerous game.
Hockey. Specifically NHL playoff hockey.
Fred, was the poll of kids asked as viewers or participants?
viewers. i should have been clear
I wish you would have added country of birth to this poll and also whether it was a favorite to watch or play. Soccer is like the metric system. Everyone else loves it but it’s never going to fly in the USA.
Tennis — especially when played at the highest level (Grand Slams and Masters). 5-set matches between any of the top 10 guys in the world are a wonderful display of guts, grit, sheer physical preparation but most of all will. It’s a mental game and that side of it gets to shine at premium events.Other than tennis, the sport I most closely follow is Formula 1. Again very much of a physical and mental challenge for the drivers, but the real stars are the cars and the engineers that build and calibrate them. Lots of strategy, measurement, adjustment and tons of telemetry data — how can you not love it? 🙂
Tennis is one of very few sports where I prefer to watch the women’s version. I loved playing that sport.
I’m the opposite – I prefer the men’s game and often skip women’s matches all together. I think the men are closer to one another in skill vs. on the women’s tour the matches tend to be much more one-sided. I do like Sharapova a lot on account of her mental tenacity but even with that I don’t watch her play very often.I played through juniors and then again in college – now occasionally when the ol’ shoulder permits. AVC tennis tourney anyone?
Fred – seeing how you have ‘Football (american football)’ and ‘Soccer (football)’ in the poll, perhaps you could add ‘Hockey (canadian football)’ to hockey?//hides
My six year old and I are still diehard baseball fans. When he’s not playing little league, he’d love to always be watching a ball game on TV.He’s always saying, “dad, ask Siri what the Dodgers score is.” Which is about the only thing Siri is good at doing, but I digress.
I grew up a huge sports fan, especially baseball. In fact the work I do now can be directly connected to my love of baseball as a kid, although it has nothing to do with sports. As I’ve gotten older, though, I have slowly removed the overwhelming presence of sports in my life. I was truly obsessive about it. I found that emotionally it was very hard, constantly being tied into the performance of an organization I had no control over. While I still follow my teams to a certain extent, I don’t know the players in all the sports like I used to. I’d like to think I’m healthier for it.
Basketball is my favorite sport. Growing up in the Midwest it was what I played the most even though I wasn’t very good. Being a Pacers fan it was great to see them go from a bad team that cheered louder for Michael Jordan than their own players to making the playoffs under Larry Brown. It’s been fun and frustrating watching this current team grind it’s way to the conference finals against Miami.On a side note, the Birdman should have been tossed from yesterday’s game. What a joke to call double technical fouls. These refs have been awful. Dan Wetzel said it best when the Joey Crawford reviews calls on the monitors:”@DanWetzel Does anyone have confidence that Joey Crawford is even watching the right channel?”
American football is my favorite to exclusion of all else. I’ve been known to attend the random hockey/basketball/baseball game live once or twice though because the energy in the stadium is insane.
I’m an ultimate frisbee addict. Turns out it’s also a great sport that’s loved by the tech community including people like Dave McClure. Here’s a clip from the Professional Ultimate Frisbee league that just started: http://www.youtube.com/watc… It’s a beautiful sport.
Played once. Was addicted instantly. Then went through withdraw as I never played again
I am not a sports guy, so I’m going to change the subject a bit: @fredwilson:disqus, did your daughter architect the “Almost Famous” that you just shared on Tumblr? It left an impression on me.
Lacrosse is the fastest growing youth sport in the US
given the options… here are my favs:to play: hockeyto watch live: hockey/basketballto watch on TV: football
that sounds about right. my favorite sport playing experience was intramural hockey at MIT. man was that fun. 10pm games, midnight at the bar. not sure how i managed to graduate to be honest.
haha… hockey’s a blast because it’s an entirely different medium ice + boards make it so fun—reecehttp://shelby.tv
Rugby union is the finest form of football yet invented. But nothing — NOTHING — beats the epic contest of test cricket.
Tennis and paddle tennis (or platform tennis)http://www.paddlepro.com/ti…great winter sport
Fred ,, what would your pick be ??Where’s Cricket?? Supposed to be the second most watched and played sport in the world.. Right next to Soccer??
You forgot to include Rugby and Cricket. 🙂
Basketball because I was on my high school’s mixed team; the shortest right guard in the history of the game (haha) but it was great fun.I was also captain and center position of the hockey team but didn’t enjoy it as much because I got whacked a few times in my shins with the stick by opponents who weren’t at all interested in the ball; they just wanted to injure me because my team was several goals ahead.As a spectator, I love soccer (football) only if it’s the World Cup or a big European cup final. They have a different atmosphere, excitement and anticipation compared with national league football.In all of the sports — with the exception of baseball where you want to whack the ball out of the park — the best play happens when the ball’s kept tight and in possession based on skill rather than simply lobbing it as far down the field towards the opponent’s goal as possible.Controlling the ball with mastery and strategy, passing the ball between the team, evading would-be defenders and ball stealers, and weaving towards a successful goal is a lot more fun to do as well as entertaining to watch.
What about swimming and athletics as favorite sports?
I think you’re talking about watching sports, but I’d clarify between watching and playing. Soccer is my favorite sport to play and football is by favorite sport to watch.
solo sport: skiingteam sport: futbolwatching in person: hockey (ridonkulous speed, power, touch and eye-hand coordination)coaching kids: any sport
I voted football but it was hard to choose because I love track events which is my daughter’s primary sport and lacrosse which my oldest son played as an underclassman on the varsity team. My youngest shows great talent in football so I expect to spend a lot of time in the bleachers in the coming years.But of the sports I have personally played volleyball and flag football have represented some of my all-time funnest moments.
As far as watching games in person, I love basketball. The pace, the squeak of shoes on the hardwoods, and that with a smaller playing area you get a good view of almost every play. If only Seattle had an NBA team!I find professional baseball somewhat boring, but nothing beats hanging out at the stadium for a few hours on a summer day drinking overpriced beer, eating hot dogs, and just relaxing with friends.Pro football is fun because of the crowd, but if I’m actually interested in the game, I prefer watching on TV where I can see every play and replay up close.And of course all the “extreme” sports are a blast to watch.
At the High School level (including K-12) …..there seems to be a big up tick in LAX – at around where Iive.I also enjoy College Basketball
huh…nothing about cricket….learn about the Raipur cricket stadium here… http://musetheplace.com/ipl…
no Brazilian Jiu Jitsu option?
I’m from Pittsburgh, therefore the answer is NFL football. (Although I was tempted to put my second favorite sport, which is track and field.)
How could anyone not love hockey. I give you the most recent examples Blackhawks vs Redwings and Kings vs Sharks, both 7 Game series and both very, very intense. Speed, Agility, Precision, Hitting, Fighting……. Nuff said. That being said, I played and coached baseball at the college level. Hitting a major league curveball is the most difficult skill in all of sports, IMHO.
To play – Cricket, Tennis, GolfTo watch – American Football, Baseball, Basketball
I love my Yankees, continue my emotionally abusive relationship with the Knicks and was reared in a Notre Dame football house. For a game day experience nothing will ever beat college football. That said, football Sundays can be special in the fall as well (Seahawks fan).What I wanted to comment on, and maybe this was addressed in other comments, is the impact that FIFA as a video game franchise has had on the growing ranks of soccer fans in the US. I read this article http://espnfc.com/blog/_/na… in the fall of last year and found myself nodding at the confluence in pop culture of the video game franchise, along with the growing prevalence of games regularly shown on cable and what has always been a large number of children playing the sport at least at the younger years. This may sound crazy but I think it is only a matter of time before one of the major international leagues (not MLS) essentially establishes a US-based team. Maybe they play 25% of their games stateside; who knows. But that expansion is coming. It is now completely normal for people to be seen in Chelsea or Barca jerseys without the need to explain what the teams are…and these are Americans wearing them. Will be interesting to see this evolution. Having children in youth sports I can also say that here in the Northeast lacrosse is taking quite a bite out of the little league ranks these days. That is also diluting the ranks of baseball fans at a young age.
John – you are spot on. My son Josh is an example of that. He didn’t grow up playing soccer, he didn’t grow up watching soccer. But about six years ago he started wearing the jerseys of players I had never heard of, being totally engrossed in world cup, Europe cup, premier league, etc. He knew players I had never heard of and understood the game in a way that I did not and still don’t. He got me into soccer. And the sole reason is FIFA, the greatest Xbox sports game of all time
Voted for “Other” Ultimate Frisbee. Egalitarian like soccer: all you need is cleats and a disc. Mostly self-governing—no refs. Can be played co-ed. And often full of ‘misfits’ kind of like tech. http://www.youtube.com/watc…New ‘pro’ league http://mlultimate.com/
fredwilsonMy favorite sport to *play* is baseball.My favorite sport to *watch* is basketball.So just an FYI – people’s answers might vary a bit on this survey.
Hey, wait, you didn’t share your favorite sport. Although we could probably guess.
To watch: Formula 1 (the technology and engineering that goes into everything is amazing and awesome to follow).To play: tennis (minimal injuries, can be played casually by people of a wide range of skill levels).
Formula 1 is an amazing sport to watch indeed. It’s almost like staging the Olympics every year because of the complexity and logistics in bringing the sport to every venue they race.But my favorite sport to play, and watch as well, is basketball. It’s fast, fun, and simple.
As Mark Cuban calls it… The sport of business.In sport there are goals and rules. Run 100 meters in x seconds. Do a marathon in x time. If you’re an athlete you wake up knowing what you need to do each morning. Run faster. Beat that team.In business, it’s very different. It’s you versus the world. There are no guidelines or rules, And that’s why business is the ultimate sport.
I lived baseball growing up, playing 2 games a day/night during the summer, watching the pros, etc. Now, I only watch the post-season. It’s been a drastic change.
i enjoy a number of sports (rugby, Australian Rules, the Tour de France etc.) for different reasons but my favourite sporting event to watch is a cricket test match (Australia vs. England) at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
my favorite sport is definitely boxing. I have never had a lot of interest in sports that I didn’t actively participate in, although this past year my wife got season tickets to the nets and I actually enjoy going to the games at the atlantic center quite a bit.
Cycling! And the tour starts in 28 days! If anyone wants to join a fun fantasy team for the tour, hit me up. [email protected]. I have a feeling I won’t be able to get Uran for $5 this year!My comment below where I make the case for cycling: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201…
Ok, and I have to admit I love american football, it’s it’s the Packers. I love football (on TV) because of the matchup highlights you see on almost every play, and the strategy fostered by the extreme depth of rules. There are few sports where *coaches* don’t know all the rules, and there is a sort of common law system to their development. and the packer rock.
i changed my mind ..mine is ba ba ba ba ba basketball http://m.youtube.com/#/watc…
What’s interesting is that American football isn’t #1. While I don’t dive into American Football as others do, I still thought it would be a very popular choice. I’m a basketball person.
Baseball is definitely my favorite sport to play and coach. It’s the thinking person’s sport because it is a series of constantly changing strategies punctuated by brief moments of action. With every pitch, the strategy can change — even if only slightly — for both the offense and defense. It’s the only sport where the defense controls the ball. It’s only occasionally a contact sport, but still requires great athleticism. And it is not only a truly American sport, it is a metaphor for America in many ways.I’ve always loved baseball. When I was younger, It was hard to watch it without wanting to go outside immediately and play it. Now that I’m older, it’s hard to watch a whole game because I still want to go out and play it, but the opportunities (and time) to do so are more limited.But, still….there is no single thrill in sports like the moment that you hit a pitched baseball really well and know that it’s going to be a good hit. IMHO.
Baseball is falling out period. Just look at the Cleveland Indians, they are good (winning record so far) and yet can’t get anyone to go to the games. They were giving away free tickets via twitter.Baseball is a beautiful sport but now I find myself waiting for ESPN highlights. It’s slow moving: Why does a batter have to step out of the box after every pitch? Why are there 162 games to a season? In a time where consumer consumption is moving at lightening speed, baseball hasn’t changed a thing for better or for worse.Even fantasy baseball has fallen in popularity behind american football and fantasy all started with baseball (then rotisserie).How do we make baseball, the actual sport, cool again (beyond just logos on merchandise)?
I was listening to WFAN on the way home last night……and Mike Francesa was talking about how attendance is down at Major league parks this year…some teams were up…but it sounded like most teams were down 10% year over year – including the two franchises in NYC.