The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

We are forever seeing reports proclaiming which sport is the most popular, or the fastest-growing, or the biggest hit with young males age 18-45, etc. Consider, then, that there must be a yin to this yang, as Atlanta-based Sports Marketing Group reveals teaser results from a telephone survey of 1,000 Americans asking them which sports they hate the most.

The top five most hated sports are:

1. Dogfighting - As the AP's Steve Wilstein notes in this article, it's hard to believe anyone would not cite this as a hated sport... unless they preferred it to, say, cockfighting.

2. Professional Wrestling - No comment from me, since it's not a sport (as I often try to convince many a friend and acquaintence, in vain).

3. Bullfighting - Ole! We may like eating our burgers and porterhouses, but that doesn't mean we want to see pre-beef getting stabbed by some loco hombre.

4. Boxing - I'm a bit sad to see this up here, but not surprised. Three decades of massive corruption (as opposed to the prior seven decades of moderate corruption), along with untimely ear bites, have taken their toll.

5. PGA Tour Golf - Kind of a shocker! The sport of Tiger Woods? But I can see how golf is still perceived as a rich man's game, inherently exclusionary, and so would inspire some loathing. Similarly, the PGA Seniors and LPGA come in right after this, at Nos. 6 and 7 respectively.

Take this poll for what it is: A sampling. You really can read way too much into surveys like this, especially on the lower end of it, where the NBA ranks low in revulsion overall (19.7 percent), but a big deal is made over that being an increase over the last time this was tracked. It ain't necessarily so. I'm in the thick of analyzing poll data right now, and I know the ins and outs of it.

Also, I'm betting that the surveying posed a lot of the response options, rather than let people name their own sports. I doubt the average person would even know that dogfighting existed, let alone cite it as their "most hated" sport, yet when they hear that option, of course they'll choose it. (When I first saw the title of the article, "Most Hated Sports: Going to the Dogs", I thought that dog racing would be the sport singled out as No. 1; I'm surprised it, and horse racing, weren't mentioned here, and that those weren't kind of confirms that the responses were multiple-choice prompts.)

It should be noted that hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is. So there's some weird kind of dynamic in feeling so strongly about a particular sport that you "hate" it. If you really don't care for it, you wouldn't bother with hating it--you'd ignore it. (Probably explains why my beloved NHL barely registered in these results.)

My most hated sport? I really don't dwell on stuff like that. But let's say it's, oh, curling. All sweepers must die!