Don’t pull a gut muscle

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Somehow, someway, poker became a sport.

The dictionary defines the word &uot;sport&uot; as a competitive physical activity, and for the life of me I am trying very hard to rationalize the concept of poker players as athletes, but I can’t seem to do it.

I have watched some of the endless amounts of television programming that is now devoted to poker playing. In fact last night, poker was being played on four television stations simultaneously!

Neither the NBA nor the NHL, both currently in the middle of their respective post-season tournaments, can make that assertion. Only baseball and soap operas can compete with poker on television now.

Although &uot;Law and Order&uot; and &uot;CSI&uot; are trying their best to catch up, in athletic terms, poker is surging and the aforementioned cop dramas have already peaked out and are leveling off.

We now have the &uot;World Series of Poker,&uot; &uot;Celebrity Poker,&uot; &uot;Playing Poker with the Pros,&uot; &uot;Battle of the Sexes Poker&uot; as well as many other shows too numerous to mention. I’m holding out for &uot;Pokemon Poker&uot;.

The name has an aesthetic ring to it, and the thought of a Japanese anime gerbil shooting lightning bolts at a Japanese anime squirrel as they fly through air at speeds of over 2oo miles an hour, because the squirrel caught a four-of-clubs on the &uot;river&uot; for a &uot;straight flush&uot; when the gerbil was &uot;all-in&uot; could be the highlight of reality T.V. as we know it.

That is if you consider flying gerbils shooting lightning bolts reality T.V. But seriously, is flying gerbils any less real than any other reality television? Or any less believable than the notion that sitting on your butt gambling on cards qualifies as an athletic event?

I like playing poker. I sometimes play on-line, but I never stretch or do any warm up drills before I get started, I mean what am I going to do, pull a finger muscle clicking the mouse?

I’m not inclined to fall for the notion that poker is indeed a sport, if it is then &uot;spades&uot; should be a sport as well, and if that is the case then I know several thousand people personally that should be walking around with six-pack abs, and buns of steel.

If poker is now the fastest growing sport in America, as one show chided, then I fully expect to see the card game in the Olympics in the near future. That would mean we would have to set up national poker training centers complete with coaches, team managers and trainers.

I’m hoping that injuries will be a facet of sport that poker players manage to incorporate into their realm, because then I’m going back to school to get that sports medicine degree, with an emphasis on &uot;poker stomach&uot;.

That’s when a player’s gut gets so big from all that competitive physical activity that they can’t get close enough to the table to play.

What a sport!

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