Sports Illustrated used to have a recurring feature where they asked sporting figures if something from the fringes should qualify as a sport, aptly named Sport? Not a Sport?. Two months after the September 11 attacks they chose to discuss bushkazi, Afghanistan's national sport, which is a lot like polo with the very visible difference that it's played with a headless goat. It was a choice that yielded a wide variety of answers, as one might expect.
You may think you're prepared for this 20-year-old journey into a very specific time in American history. Odds are that you're not.
The piece is preserved on the SI Vault for those of you who require a larger font. Sport won out by a 4-2 margin. Here are the complete answers ranked by ability to get the hell out of there without stepping in it.
6. NOT A SPORT. "It sounds like a bad Italian dish. Or what we should do to Kabul--bushkazi it." -- Brian Anderson, Diamondbacks pitcher
One wouldn't have needed to look very hard to find a similar take in Nov. 2001. Anderson could have had a solid second career as a writer for Dennis Miller.
5. NOT A SPORT. "It's about as much of a sport as darting out of the way of bombs falling all over your countryside." --Mike Shanahan, Broncos coach
There's a chance Shanahan is making a clever critique of the War Industrial Complex and highlighting the plight of civilians paying the dearest price. It's very small though.
4. SPORT. "I guess it's like a bullfight. They should have a disclaimer, like, 'Play at your own risk' or 'Sudden death likely.' I wouldn't play, but I would watch--from far away. Maybe in a cage." --Adonal Foyle, Warriors forward
Safety first. We like that.
3. SPORT. "It kind of reminds me of the game we used to play as kids: You used a ball, and somebody tossed it up, and then it was mayhem. I guess they don't have balls over there, so they use the goat." --Eric Allen, Raiders cornerback
NPR did a pretty comprehensive look at the sport back in 2014. It didn't go down quite like Allen theorizes but a solid answer.
2. SPORT. "Anytime fans are involved, it's a sport. I don't know if I'd pay money to watch it. Shoot, whatever creams your Twinkie." --Mark Grace, Diamondbacks first baseman
Not only is this the correct take, Grace manages to use insert a great new phrase into the lexicon that sadly never caught on. It's never too late, though.
1. SPORT. "It's not what you would call a conventional sport, but hey, they probably don't think basketball is a sport either. It's not my idea of entertainment, but you play it in
competition. If you call polo a sport, I guess you'd call this a sport too." --Pat Garrity, Magic forward
Notre Dame education. Worth its weight in gold.