Friday, February 23, 2007

Joggling – from the ridiculous to the sublime

Yesterday's joggling mileage: 10 miles total (in two parts)

I'm one of the first people to admit that joggling is a pretty hilarious sport – and that's one of the reasons that I do it. It makes people point and elicits exclamations of incredulity; it makes people howl with laughter; it even once made a girl yell "I LOVE YOU!" with no discernible hint of facetiousness.

But today I'm going to set the record straight: joggling, while funny, is no more propostrous that many other sports out there.

There are, of course, easy targets. Curling, a sport with an inexplicably huge following in Canada, features players who scream viciously at teammates who frantically sweep the ice in a more-or-less futile attempt to affect the trajectory of a sliding rock.

Another totally bizarre winter sport is nordic combined, where contestants compete in both cross-country skiing and ski jumping. I don't care what kind of Norwegian military history is behind this sport – it gets a 9.5 out of 10 on the ridiculous scale, and its top competitors can win Olympics medals.

But in my opinion, even the most mainstream of pro sports would appear pretty dumb to an alien visitor who had no prejudices. As a non-golfer, it never ceases to amuse me how seriously people take this game (I don't consider it a sport, but that's a whole different discussion for another post). All the obscene wads of money poured into it and the incredible skill of its top players can't hide the fact that it's a bunch of grown men and women wearing geeky shirts and using glorified sticks to smack a little sphere around until it plops into a small hole.

So my point is this: Joggling looks funny because it's unconventional and unexpected, but that doesn't make it any less of a sport. Don't expect me to be smiling and laughing the whole time during a race, because it's hard work. Tiger Woods gets to look all serious while he tries to pitch himself out of a sandtrap, and I'll probably have some major concentration lines on my face in the final miles of the Salt Lake City Marathon. You can laugh at joggling – in fact, please do – but that doesn't mean it's not a serious sport.