Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hardest Things in Sports: Part 2

4. Hitting a long, straight tee shot.
What they say: "Driving a ball seems to be an easy thing until you try it..."
What I say: Excellent point there. It's not a easy thing. But it would have been a bit more appropriate to say "hit a long tee shot that lands in front of you". Most players who are going to distance will play draw or fade, so by it's very nature, it will not travel straight the whole time. But that's not the point. Yes it's wicked hard. But is it harder than trying to bend a ball around a clump of trees at Pinehurst? Or to play through the winds at St. Andrews? I'm not really sure. I agree driving can be hard, but this almost seems to be too specific.

3. Pole Vaulting
What they say: "Vaulting is a case of redirecting the kenetic energy of the runner's approach upward."
What I say: You have to be strong like bull to pull this off. Fast too. While we're at it, let's add flexible, agile, and just a little bit outside your mind. Props.

2. Race car driving:
What they say: "...rounding the corners is the equivalent of having a 300 pound linebacker push on you for the 3-4 hours it takes to complete a race."
What I say: I say you're siting down the whole time. But there is the redeeming factor of risking death on a regular basis, and perhaps due to no fault of your own. It takes some serious courage yes, but I don't think I could rank it as the second hardest thing to do in the wide world of sports.

And the gold medalist...

1. Hitting a baseball.
What they say: "...reaching speeds of 95 mph, a batter has .4 seconds to track it, decide to swing, and make contact."
What I say: Yes and no. I am a baseball freak. I love it to death. Here is the counter arguement; There's a short learning curve. Put someone on the mound and have them throw 10 straight fastballs, 10 curves, and 10 change-ups against a run of the mill athlete, but not necessarily a baseball player. Let him see and swing at the pitches, and eventually, he's going to find the timing and at least make contact. Now start mixing the pitches on the guy and he hits how many? Two or three out of ten? Yes you are hitting a round object with a round device. And I'm the first to bail out on a good curve. But even still, 3/10 makes a .300 batting average. A .300 average for a career will likely get you a second ballot trip to Cooperstown. Like hitting the golf ball; deceptively hard, but not necessarily #1.

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