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Chico Suave
The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 9:16AM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Because we're pussies.

Yeah, I know, we'll get tons of posts here saying that a 10 miler is tougher than a doing bench presses, but hear me out. Two cases in point:

1. Usain Bolt - the greatest sprinter ever apparently - is not racing this weekend because he had some thorns in his feet REMOVED. Not still there. But taken out. And he's ok. But won't run as a precaution, and to rest. From what? Remember when Michael Jordan had the flu...and then proceeded to drop 38 on the Jazz? He sucked it up. Ronnie Lott has part of his finger amputated at halftime once! And we've got a guy who had some thorns in his foot a few days ago?

2. Haile Geb: I love the guy. One of my favorite athletes growing up. But he just time trials nowadays. Won't race other big names. Prevents them from even getting in the same race...scared of getting beat. Can you imagine Tiger Woods skipping the Masters because he was worried about losing to Phil Michelson or the rest of the field? Nope. He shows up and plays his best. If it's not good enough that day, it's not good enough. He goes back to the drawing board, and tries again.

It's not as if these things are rare cases - you see it all the time. Stars duck, won't race each other. Remember all the hub-bub of trying to get Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay to actually race each other? How many times do you think the top sprinters are going to race before Worlds this year? And distance runners do it to. Every tiny injury - real or percieved - is an excuse not to run.

When I go to see another sport - I want to see the stars play. I understand if there are injuries - we've got disabled lists. Sucks that Kevin Garnett is injured, but it happens. But not every minor injury keeps someone out like it does in track. And while I want the stars to have incredible performances when I see them, I understand that people have off days, and some days you're not at your best. I don't expect my football team to win every game (though I root for them) and I don't expect my favorite players to homer every game (though I'd like to see it.) I want to see people show up and compete. When the Yankees play the Red Sox (even though I detest both teams) I know that the teams are going to show up and play. I'd be rightly pissed if the Yanks sat Jeter because it's the Red Sox and they're scared he might not get a hit and ruin his average.

But in the track/pussy world, that's ok. Man, if I were Tyson Gay I'd be pissed that we dropped the stick last year, and the first chance I got to run against the Jamaicans I'd be there. But nope - it's a Nike meet, so he won't show up to Penn Relays. We're pussies - and we won't become a legitimate sport until we stop.
wellnow
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 9:26AM - in reply to Chico Suave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Apart from Usain Bolt, who captured the imagination of the World last summer, T&F is not as exciting as some other sports. Watching people run around and around a track does not interest most people.
Chico Suave
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 9:40AM - in reply to wellnow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

wellnow wrote:

Apart from Usain Bolt, who captured the imagination of the World last summer, T&F is not as exciting as some other sports. Watching people run around and around a track does not interest most people.



Neither are other sports inherently interesting either. Watching people throw a ball through a hoop isn't interesting...but watching people who are GOOD at throwing a ball through a hoop is very interesting.

And our sport doesn't put the people who are GOOD at it on the track at the same time. They're either getting over have thorns taken out of their feet 5 days ago, ducking the other good athletes, or in a snit because their shoe sponsor isn't in charge. Pretty pussy moves if you ask me.
Fattty R. Belt Buckle
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 9:45AM - in reply to Chico Suave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You think it might be more popular if everyone (men included and especially that Hungarian high jumper though she closed to it now) dressed like this?:

http://whichendbites.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/beachvolleyball.jpg
just another runner girl
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 9:58AM - in reply to Chico Suave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I've known plenty of tough runners. I saw a 15-year-old girl snap her tibia at a state meet because she had a stress fracture but didn't want to miss her last race. I have a teammate who foams at the mouth when he races. What other type of athlete pushes to the point of wetting/soiling themselves? Some marathoners push themselves so hard that they end up in the hospital with renal failure - that is pretty intense. Stupid, but intense.


The truth is, (at least for distance runners) we compete in a sport where you HAVE to feel your best at the starting line because it just gets exponentially crappier after the gun goes off. Also, a minor injury may start out minor, but after a 10k, what started out as a sore shin can turn into a broken bone. Every athlete needs to learn to recognize the signs of injury before its too late, especially distance runners. So "minor injuries" are definitely a legitimate excuse for a DNS.

As far as Jordan playing with the flu, have you ever tried racing with the flu? I did one time, and I passed out and had to go to the hospital. The difference is how hard each type of athlete has to push their body for their respective sport. Football players, basketball players, soccer players etc. are all top-end athletes, but they never come close to maxing themselves out during a game (at least not to the point that runners do). Yet for distance runners, that is what every competition is - we push our bodies to the limit. You can't run a 10k with the flu (trust me.) The sprinters are a little questionable in this category since they really aren't stressing their bodies that much, but I suspect their reluctance to race when they aren't 100% has more to do with pride than with being a pussy. They know they will not win, and they don't want to appear weak.

It is not that we are pussies. It is that we compete in a sport that demands an incredible amount of effort and puts a phenomenal amount of stress on our bodies. A 5k, 10k and marathon are completely different from a basketball game in terms of how much being sick will affect the athlete's performance/ability to still be alive afterward.

And remember, baseball players sometime sit out because of a blister/cut on their finger (or a broken pinky), and baseball is still quite popular. It all depends on how a particular injury/illness will affect your performance.
khartoum...khartoum...AAAAAAIE
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 10:49AM - in reply to Chico Suave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
it's because the culture is saturated with an "extreme" mindset: cage fighting, shoot-em-up video games, even gordon ramsey....

if it ain't in your face, it doesn't sell...sadly.
Star Track
yeah, I said it 5/1/2009 10:58AM - in reply to Chico Suave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Because track & field is dominated by black people. And these black people often have what people here would consider strange, foreign sounding names.
formerly present
RE: yeah, I said it 5/1/2009 11:04AM - in reply to Star Track Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Some good reasons have been given. Another: general lack of a "team" (aka "us against them") aspect, with the demise of dual meets between countries and the frequency (within colleges, and even sometimes in high school now) of non-scoring "competitions" that, to the casual sports fan, seem to have nothing at stake.
comicbookguy
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:07AM - in reply to Chico Suave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
track is boring, it's just not a good spectator sport.
combine the fact that it's dominated by foreign runners, we run foreign distances (meters? who in the USA can identify with that?)and that T&F is really a collection of many different sports.. it just makes it very difficult to market to the masses.
Blathering Blatherskyte
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:15AM - in reply to comicbookguy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
So, watching people run around a track isn't what people want to watch.

Yet...

Millions of people watch horses and dogs do the same thing every year

Tens of millions of people watch cars do the same exact thing, for longer periods of time, EVERY WEEKEND.


Something tells me that track and field can in fact be the next great spectator sport.
Rico Juave
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:15AM - in reply to Chico Suave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
My friend, you are comparing a sport to a game(s).

Please educate yourself on the difference and you will realize why T&F does not bring in the numbers compared to "games."

Ex:
Kid 1: "Hey, do you want to play some running?"
Kid 2: "Ummm, I think I would rather play basketball/football/soccer/tennis/baseball/cricket/ping-pong, etc."


You do not play running.
Fattty R. Belt Buckle
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:18AM - in reply to Rico Juave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
RonnyH
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:26AM - in reply to comicbookguy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Anyone who is not a cretin can accommodate an understanding of both imperial and metric.
roundot
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:31AM - in reply to comicbookguy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
At least it's more interesting than swimming. That sport is very predictable, you can't see the faces of the athletes, and most of the winners don't express emotion when they win.

Compare running to cycling. Great announcers for cycling talk non-stop and are informative. Plus,the scenery is usually beautiful. But watch with the sound off and it's just a bunch of guys riding down the street.

Beijing mens marathon was dramatic. They stayed with the leaders all the way. Best decision I made in April was not to watch the London marathon!
agree
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:36AM - in reply to Blathering Blatherskyte Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I love to watch T&F, but most people I know aren't interested.
1. Not enough meets on TV or near people to watch. Think of how much golf, basketball, football, baseball, nascar are on TV. Also look at the decline in boxing as it went from being on "regular" TV to being pay per view only... not on TV=nobody cares.
2. I agree that top athletes do not race each other enough! I don't find any excitement (an I'm sure borderline fans do not either) just speculating who might have won a race between X and Y. Lets see people race each other and not just the clock (sometimes).
3. And seriously if people will sit and watch nascar for 3-4 HOURS go around a track, you think they couldn't watch races between 4 and 30 min? Really we couldn't see an uncut mile??? If people were really racing one another it might not seem boring to non-runners.
4.Good commentators who can explain concisely everyone in the race is also key. And please stop the sob-story, life-changeing experience, cry-baby personal editorials. There are so many that they do not mean anything anymore and turn watching track (or the olympics) into a bad reality show. Let's see some stories on athletic achievement and the actual sport itself!
comicbookguy
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:42AM - in reply to RonnyH Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
"Anyone who is not a cretin can accommodate an understanding of both imperial and metric."

and that's the problem right there. It's sentiments like that, that will ensure that track will only be palitable to people that are already track fans.
When you market something you don't assume that the general public should already know about your product. "The 1500 is the 'metric mile' everyone knows that." No, no they don't.

Try to explain how the 1500 is relevant in the USA? "Oh well it's just short of a mile, see if you convert it.. blah blah blah..." At that point you've already lost your audience.
tomlogan
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:43AM - in reply to Blathering Blatherskyte Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Blathering Blatherskyte wrote:

So, watching people run around a track isn't what people want to watch.

Yet...

Millions of people watch horses and dogs do the same thing every year

Tens of millions of people watch cars do the same exact thing, for longer periods of time, EVERY WEEKEND.


Something tells me that track and field can in fact be the next great spectator sport.


Get people gambling at T&F meets and it'll grow.
Runningart2004
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:46AM - in reply to Chico Suave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
No teams to get behind.

Alan
not exactly
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 11:56AM - in reply to wellnow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

wellnow wrote:
T&F is not as exciting as some other sports. Watching people run around and around a track does not interest most people.


But T&F USED to be very popular. I believe people were still running around a track then. So it is not inherently uninteresting.

People have changed and are less patient - almost ADD. They need lots of intense stimulation. Look at how movies have changed. Much less emphasis on plot and more on effects.

Also I think track hasn't been promoted very well. In today's world it's all about marketing. Now the media feel that people aren't interested and won't give it much coverage and you get a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In other sports you have a hometown team you identify with. It would be cool to have a pro track circuit where each city has a team. It would also give more incentive to people to keep running after college. There would be more "jobs" for runners and maybe more people would enter the sport.

In the very old days some track races were run like horse races. You could go to the race and bet on the winner with odds and everything. Thousands of people would show up.
That would be cool to have at least occasionally.
ertgr
RE: The REAL reason why Track and Field isn't more popular... 5/1/2009 12:07PM - in reply to Chico Suave Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Chico Suave wrote:
Man, if I were Tyson Gay I'd be pissed that we dropped the stick last year, and the first chance I got to run against the Jamaicans I'd be there. But nope - it's a Nike meet, so he won't show up to Penn Relays. We're pussies - and we won't become a legitimate sport until we stop.


Because track and field athletes only get paid if they win as an individual. I know, I know, you get an appearance stipend, but that only goes so far. Even the lowest slug in the NBA, NFL, MLB, etc. is making far more than all but the very top track and field athletes. In track and field if you are not a consistently winning individual you are not going to make a living at what you do. If Usain Bolt shows up and is not 100% and gets injured, that's it - you don't collect a pay check when you're injured in track and field as you would in other sports.

Most professional athletes make a living on mediocrity. And only come out to play when it really matters. You can't do that in our sport. If you want to make a career out of track and field you have to be consistent on a level not seen by a majority of mainstream sports. Everything has to come off nearly perfect in almost everything you do. Track and field is the most dynamic, enjoyable, competitive sport in existence - you should stand up for it more.
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