Think of the Olympics, maybe. Four years ago there was a sports thing that you almost understood, and now it is on television again. Two broadcasters -- a Cheerful Non-Regional Diction type and someone with a dense Canadian accent -- are explaining some recent rule changes and running through the notable competitors. They are using words that you have heard before, and their interplay unfolds along the usual rhythms of a sports broadcast, and yet it is totally impenetrable. Just the purest nonsense. The stands are full, and the fans are singing something.
"Sites like Blurpr and Karp have been going crazy about Dermis Galoop ever since his performance at the World Nationals in Fresno," the Cheerful Non-Regional Diction guy says, while a man in overalls and a bucket cap appears on camera, apparently whittling something out of a large piece of cork. "But he's going to need to be at his best to steal the gold medal from the big Latvian Igr Brklgnkv."
The man in overalls walks to the middle of a large ice rink, the crowd falls silent. Aqua's "Barbie Girl" starts playing, and the man in overalls sits down on the ice and calmly begins eating a red onion. The crowd roars, and the Canadian color commentator lets out an appreciative whistle.
Now: is that sports? It clearly is sports to some people -- the people in the stands, the people back home in Dermis Galoop's hometown, who have watched him grow into a champion, some other people viewing at home. That you may not understand the rhythm and sense of it, much less the basic rules or why people are applauding, does not make it not-sports. To say that we know what is sports when we see it is not the same thing as saying that we really know those sports.
All of which is to say that, while I myself am not clear on why these two extremely silly emus are noodle-ing around and prancing and hopping and suddenly sitting down and swanning away from one another, I am not prepared to sit here and say that it is not sports. It clearly is something very much like sports to the emus. That is good enough for me. That is more than good enough.
Hat tip to @JohnRHutchinson