Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

USA Track & Field: Our Sport Is Cool Because It's Real Basic

Illustration for article titled USA Track  Field: Our Sport Is Cool Because Its Real Basic

USA Track & Field made a TV commercial that aired recently on NBC with enough moving parts to anger or confuse nearly everyone. Which is good for buzz, so it was successful on that front.


It's entitled You're Welcome and features a bunch of track and field athletes from days of yore and today, pointing out how even though no one knows who the heck they are (alternate direction would have been to explain who they are), the sport of track and field, with all that running, jumping and throwing, forms the basis of all other sports. (Maybe not so much archery. Or dressage, but you know what they mean. Probably.) And because track and field is really the essence of football and soccer and basketball and other big money sports that people watch and support like crazy, we all should be thankful to the sport that started it all—warfare. Hunting? No no no, track and field. Thank you track and field for inventing running, jumping and throwing. We should all be grateful—I'm looking at you, all you MMA fans—and say thank you, in our hearts, to track and field athletes.

Now, if it was me, and certainly no one asked, if you go to the trouble to drum up guilt-driven gratitude, the next logical step is to ask for money. Hello, it works for public TV and you don't see Bill Moyers having to wear a sportscoat with a swoosh on it. After showing NBA fans how they've callously enjoyed the airborne athleticism of, oh I don't know, Tom Brady, without ever considering where all that running and jumping came from; that if it weren't for track and field, Tiger Woods couldn't make it to first base—take that guilt, wring out a thank you and then provide a solution to that thoughtlessness. Suggest viewers get their ass over to a track meet. Encourage viewers to learn about track and field athletes because they're smart and good looking and have compelling stories. Ask them to send check or money order to USATF c/o Nike ... Oopsy, got carried away. Anyway, you see what I mean—finish up with a call to action. But they didn't.


You know how, when you're miffed at being overlooked, and you're feeling a little sassy and sarcastic, you're like, You're welcome, with your hip all cocked out there and some head waggling? With their precious TV ad dollars, USATF wanted everyone to know track and field athletes' feelings are hurt because they started everything—all those popular sports—and now no one knows who they are or cares. We're USATF and we're under-appreciated.

I may be off base here, but I don't think track and field athletes want to be thanked for raising fundamental movement to a very high level. I don't think they want people to watch the sport because it's the basis of other sports, and I don't think runners, jumpers and throwers feel under-appreciated by fans or other athletes. Sometimes they feel under-appreciated by USATF though. Uh, you're welcome.

photo credit: Getty Images

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