I have noted that games that pit an individual against a team while doing something basically pointless all seem to have a peculiar form – there is some point at which the team is designated to win if the individual fails.
Thus, if the baseball or softball player misses the ball thrice they are out. Removed from contention for failing to hit the ball, which in any real terms does not mean that they have failed to grow wheat, or dig fresh water, or excise an abscess, or any of a thousand really useful activities. It just means they have failed to hit a ball with a wooden bat.
Likewise with a batsman at cricket. If the ball knocks a horizontal wooden peg off some vertical wooden pegs they must leave in disgrace. If they then go home to paint a beautiful picture or create a nourishing meal for their family we never hear about it. Perhaps that is considered shameful activity in the cricket world.
Hockey games are more of a concerted team effort to have a fight with sticks but not be arraigned before a magistrate – the ball or puck makes it all right. Funnily enough if you threw that same hockey ball or puck at a magistrate you would be jailed.
Horse and dog racing seems to be activity that injures animals for the benefit of people who deal in wagers – more often than not the people who have large amounts of money and offer it as an enticement to people who do not have much money at all – and then take it when the nominated horse or dog does not run first in a race. Bait and switch or shell games attract the contumely of the magistrates but the races do not. Strange.
I suppose that tennis is a purer thing, apart from ill manners on court or in the press the week after. At least no horses are shot for failing to win. Sometimes people shoot holes in their own reputations, but then that is their affair.
Is there any sport that is pure, wholesome, and productive? Shooting crows off a wire fence, perhaps, or Jack Russell racing, or international yachting, if they manage to sink a few. I have always been a fan of bowling, but chiefly because the participants wear kitschy shirts.
Kitschy, Kitschy, koo.