“No sports” said Churchill, but he was wrong! Working out is healthy and fun. You stay fit, are allowed to eat cheese cake from time to time and the ambition starts burning. Simply a great way to spend your time. But as nice as active sporting may be…sometimes just sitting comfortably on a couch with tasty chocolate and watching the best of the best working a sweat can be better.
But which sport is most spectator-friendly? Where are the most spectacular moves to be seen, the most impressive performances? This is the answer:
The game with the wiffle ball unites the best of all hockey variants.
Skiing…boring. Shooting…boring. Skiing with shooting inbetween…high tension! I ignored Biathlon for a long time, can`t really connect to wintersports in general. But the hype around the probably best female biathlete ever, Magdalena Neuner, made me curious and so I tried and watched it. And it suprised me a lot how captivating such a race can be. When your own favourite gets ready for shooting and finally pulls the trigger, you automatically hold your breath, because every missed shot makes a podium place less likely.
8. American Football
The favourite sport of the average american citizen could hardly be less recognized in Germany. That is kind of sad, but soccer simply outshines everything. Really unfortunate, since American football is a very exciting and tactically interesting game. The rules may seem too complicated at first but you actually get into it easily. I do follow precisely one match per year, the NFL Super Bowl Final, and after only a few minutes of watching I get the gist: A team has three attempts to reach the endzone for a touchdown, worth 6 points. Simple enough, but despite the mass of muscles on the field the tactics decide a match. So give it a try! There is a reason the Super Bowl is the most viewed sporting event of the planet.
This sport hardly requires any creativity, it`s all about torturing yourself to obtain the best possible physical preconditions. Well, a little talent, favourable body measurements and mental strength wouldn`t hurt, though. Generally I don`t really like this kind of competitions, which is why I don`t take any pleasure watching track and field athletics. Nevertheless every now and then I get stuck with it, especially durig important tournaments like the Olympics since the hunt for Gold is the swimmers ultimate quest. And I have to admit, it is impressing: The perfectly shaped bodies, the smooth water surface and the electrified audience waiting for the starting shot. And when it goes down the wire you can almost cut the tension with a knife, while everybody hopes their favourite reaches the sensor first.
The hockey-heros have sensational skills on skates and with the puck. Problem: You don`t see it! The quite often spectacular goals aren`t visible at first sight.To see what just happened on the ice you almost always need an slow motion. However I still tune in from time to time, because it is exiting and the occasional fights are also entertaining.
Handball players are hard as iron. No other ball game is full of so many physically tough duels. In contrast to the much better paid soccer stars they have matches every other day, yet they don`t complain as much about it. You have to respect that a lot! Their bounce, coordination and shot-speed are extraordinarily impressive. I often ask myself if the poor goalkeepers are downright crazy or simply the bravest guys on earth. I can`t seem to find another explanation for exposing yourself to 200 km/h-projectiles. A major adavantage of handball is the fact that it seems taylor-made for heart-stopping-finishes. Even at a four-goals-deficit with three minutes to go a match is anything but over. Time and time again we see crazy catch-up-races and nerve-wracking final seconds. Disadvantage of handball is clearly that referees can unfortunately influence a match massively with their decisions, especially 2-min-penalties. Such arbitrary decisions happen too often and damage this great sport. At least this leads to lively discussions and emotion, very important in sports. In conclusion handball is definitely an entertaining sport to watch!
Atlanta 96 was the starting shot for this very spectator-friendly sport. For the first time ever a beachvolleyball competition was held at olympic games and received hig approval right from the start. Popularity increased more and more…in 2012 the artificial beach right in the city center of London was nothing less than a crowd puller! And it`s kind of logical: Well-toned bodies that are obliged to wear scanty clothing by regulations (!); and a game that unites excitement, athletic abilities and spectacular saves with beach-feeling, party and music. How could that not be mass-appealing? And rightly so, the gold medal for German team Julius Brink / Jonas Reckermann was my personal highlight of the London Olympics.
3. Football / Soccer
The most popular sport worldwide and I can somehow comprehend that. At the same moment I am a little puzzled about the dimensions the soccer hype has reached, though. These days my daily newspaper features a cover story about Arjen Robben playing in long johns in winter season rather than reporting on a devastating tsunami or a presidential election. Oh well, that`s the way it is now. Soccer offers good sportive performances, can be very exciting and everyone can become a couch expert. You can discuss every scene endlessly and the following is probably the good thing and secret to soccer`s success: THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG! Every match, every scene, every referee`s decision and every interview can be evaluated in different ways, everyone can have his own point of view. Soccer leaves room for interpretation like no other sport does. Additionally in every match there is a certain amout of luck involved, cause it is not pressed in rules as most other sports. Therefore a lot can happen, surprises and upsets are order of the day. That is why every single day thousands of internet forums are being filled with millions of postings, that is why every sports channel worldwide is able to fill it`s program with dozens of soccer talkrounds every weekend and that is why soccer is superbly suited as knight in shining armor when you are running out of small talk material. My conclusion: The worldwide most popular, but surely not the most impressive and fascinating sport!
No sport requires more different skills. A successful badminton athlete needs strength, endurance, coordination, reflexes, agility, quick and clear thinking, speed, of course a feel for the ball, a strong will and last but not least creativity. I think it`s pretty astonishing that this hard to master sport of all is sometimes labelled “gay tennis” or the like. Well, you have to give these laymen that from outside you don`t really see how demanding Badminton actually is. But if you give them a racket and put them on court to hit a few birdies, this opinion will change at record speed. Because that`s when they finally notice how complicated it is to cover the whole court; how exhausting to run to a corner just once. Considering that rallies between pros usually last a lot longer at a much higher pace, it becomes clear what effort badminton players provide there. The good thing is that Badminton is fun not only on the highest level, even hobby athletes should become addicted. Absolutely try it!
THE mind game of all the sports all over the world and therefore the most fascinating sport ever. I am watching this since 1995, saw Becker, Sampras, Agassi and Kuerten. And then Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. These guys and many other players gave me countless hours of marvelous entertainment time and again. A good tennis player first of all needs to be in perfect physical condition, because tennis matches are extremely demanding for the whole body. Especially in the most important tournaments -the four Grand Slams with seven Best of 5 matches to go for the title- it is an essential cornerstone of success. But of course that alone is not even remotely enough. It also takes immense talent, huge mental strength, tactical understanding and a level head. Clever shot selection is needes and constant concentration…otherwise a match can turn around quicker than Lucky Luke draws his colt. And that is exactly the fascination in tennis. A five setter with many bigpoints, turn-arounds and change of momentum offers endless drama and entertainment. Where else does the audience hold their breath after every stroke, worrying if their favourite`s ball will land in or outside the court? Just high tension stuff! Try it, when there is no soccer on, you won`t regret it.