Remembering The Forgotten Of The Sports World

Dec 2, 2015
Originally published on December 2, 2015 8:05 am

Sports gets bigger all the time, everywhere. But even with a superabundance of sport, that's not enough to satisfy our appetites, and so now we have to have make-believe sport, too. Who would've ever thought we would bet real money on our sports fantasies?

Maybe H.L. Mencken was right when he said: "I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense." And Mencken didn't even know about Ultimate Fighting or the halfpipe of snowboarding.

However, even in the biggest bull markets, there are always a few stocks that fail, so I began to contemplate what in sports is bucking the trend and losing out.

Click the audio to hear Frank Deford's commentary.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now commentator Frank Deford wants us to remember together some sporting events which have gone missing.

FRANK DEFORD, BYLINE: As you know, sports gets bigger all the time everywhere. But even with a super abundance of sports, that's not enough to satisfy our appetites. And so now we have to have make-believe sport, too. Who would have ever thought we would bet real money on our sports fantasies? May be H. L. Mencken was right when he said, I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense. And Mencken didn't even know about ultimate fighting or the half-pipe of snowboarding. However, even in the biggest bull markets, there's always a few stocks that fail. So I began to contemplate what in sports is bucking the trend and losing out. Happily, I picked up a newspaper then. You remember newspapers, don't you? And buried deep under a learned summation about what college teams were bowl eligible, there was an article purporting to claim that the Davis Cup Final was being held.

But that made me think, what ever happened to the Little Brown Jug? It was a huge harness race. I haven't heard neither hide nor hair of it in years. Once upon a time, two human beings raced in the mile. It was a glamour event. Then everybody but us Americans gave up on the mile, and it became the 1,500 meters. And I haven't heard a word about that in years. There's just no romance in the metric system. I hadn't heard about the decathlon for years either until Bruce became Caitlyn. But I can't believe many other forgotten events will go to such lengths to regain our attention. There used to be a boat race called the America's Cup. Ted Turner once won for the USA in a boat called the Courageous. Giants sailed the earth then. But who could take it seriously after Switzerland won - Switzerland, boats. (Laughter). Not even Belgium is landlocked. Most of all, I miss hearing about bowling. For those of you who remember pin boys, I was a pin boy some when I was a boy. But now bowling only pops up on the sports pages once in a blue moon. You remember sports pages, don't you? Years ago, you know who told me there ought to be more bowling news? Richard Nixon - yes, him. He was passionate about bowling, talked my ear off about it. But we don't have bowling to kick around anymore. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.