Battle Uncool

Darts, pong, pool. They are daggy, naff, uncool, toy … af. They do not draw fever-pitch crowds throughout a season and their sponsorship deals only make the world’s best (and most marketable) players a decent living – compared to the veritable icons of tennis, basketball or football, who make enough to have numerous offshore accounts and numerous lawyers to attend to numerous court proceedings due to said offshore accounts.


When you try to get someone excited with one of these sports, you get a platter of bland responses:

– The ‘looking toward her other friend while simultaneously feigning interest and shaming you’, “oh, really?”

– Largely inaudible groaning noises

– Apathetic indifference

Or you get the genuine, “yeah, I’m a part of that secret cult, too! Oh my god, I never knew you were!” response from a devoted and impassioned fellow player.

Table tennis is undoubtedly the most athletic of the three sports. I mean, fArghk, you have a good session of table tennis and you will feel it, “am I right, fellow cult member, am I right?!”. The rallies are there; the direct mano-a-mano interaction with your opponent is there; the refined, technical skill is there. It is what is missing that makes TT so toy.

“Pong’s big brother, tennis, is good looking, runs at full pace, hits a decent sized ball, looks dramatic in a stadium and wears flattering outfits.”

 Let’s be frank, pong’s big brother, tennis, is good looking, runs at full pace, hits a decent sized ball, looks dramatic in a stadium and wears flattering outfits. Heck, it’s even played on three different surfaces. Tennis gets all the attention, the aspiration and the money. TT, darts and pool, what do they get? School gymnasiums, large stomachs, smoking mid-game, terrible outfits, male dominance and places with green lamps shades. Perhaps a more suitable question is, where do they come from? Millennials would be all like, um, Uncle Wayne’s pool room; Stevo’s garage; or worse, that place with the green lampshades, what is it, Pot Black! Ha.

Okay, maybe we’re being too harsh.

Darts requires an elementary understanding of physics and mathematics. (Oh wait, what’s our argument again?) In darts, you can land a bull’s eye like a medieval archer. (Hmmm.) At least the archer always got the girl. In darts, you’ll be looking around to see who saw your shot? Surely someone saw that? You’ll leave the dart in that little bit longer, just in case someone walks into the room. FArghk! Nobody is walking into the room. Anyway, you should be focusing on adding up a score from the entirely arbitrary number placements; or getting the score from the middle aged, bald, beer-holding British man you’re playing against. Do you want to become him? Do you really? Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure?

So, pool. Pool has its cool. It’s a cue sport, along with billiards (thanks ‘merica), snooker and something called carom. WTF? Anyway, they’re all about physics, mathematics, trigonometry – or just knowing where to hit a white ball so that another different ball gets hit and goes in a pocket, or basket. Just like basketball, really. (So, not.) This is the sport that bartenders from fancy, olden-days bars started because the real players wear sharp vests and collared shirts. Damn! Sadly, the ordinary player will wear clothes that remind you of your judgmental nature. Astoundingly, pool is associated with organised crime, fist fights and drive-bys and still it’s not cool. We tried.

And finally, pong. Pong has to be the coolest because it’s played by college students getting loaded in frat houses, and then when they graduate and become models and famous people, they give back by playing in a charity tournament at a hip ping pong nightclub. That’s so dope.

But seriously, ping pong is the sport for the witty, athletic type: the chess player with lightning reflexes; the puzzle master that plays pimples out for ironic reasons; and the comedian with defined calf muscles and a tendency to sledge on political issues. Cues and darts down, this is the cool one.

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