This Sunday, there will be two “world championship” sporting events held in the United States. One is the Super Bowl, where they might not call it the “World Championships of Football” (at least anymore — it was the original name of the game), but I can pretty much guarantee somebody, at some point, will declare the victors to be the “world champions”. The other is the World Championship Cyclocross races in Louisville, Kentucky. This might be Super Bowl XLVII, but this is CX Worlds LXIII. The first match will be watched primarily by Americans, played by Americans and elicit little attention anywhere else. The Cyclocross races actually have people from all over the world coming to ride. Belgians, Dutch, British, French, Japanese and New Zealander athletes will be on hand and the eyes of the world will be on Kentucky. The Super Bowl has never been held outside of the United States (and largely hasn’t even been held in a cold-weather location). The Cyclocross World Championships have been held in Europe since 1950 and will be in this country for the first time ever.
Look, I’m not disparaging NFL athletes. Some of them are incredible physical specimens with incredible control and awareness of their body. I definitely can’t say I’m a fan of the sport (which is putting it nicely). But it makes me sad that athletes will be putting themselves through the wringer for an hour in the mud of Louisville and the majority of Americans will have no idea, because they will be too busy preparing to stuff themselves with beer and wings later that night. I will watch both, but will be watching the cyclocross for the content and the Super Bowl for the commercials. Maybe you’d care to join me in watching some streaming video on Sunday: http://www.louisville2013.com