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Five Olympic Sports We Definitely Could All Play Right Now

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Olympics are finally over. Huzzah!

They were fun while they lasted, for the most part, but there are only so many times you can sit there staring at a water polo match or a random world citizen flipping and spinning his way into a pool before you really start to wonder why you're not doing something more productive in your life.

If you're like me, then you typically don't spend much time in your life watching horses hop some fences, you haven't played table tennis since you were 13, and "watching weightlifting" is typically just called "going to the gym." Yet for some unexplained reason, every 1,460 days or so, we all gather round the picture box and spend hours watching sports that we surely don't care about.

It's weird.

Yet it may well prove to be productive in the end. After watching so many fringe sports, it's become clear that any weekend warrior with a pair of Asics and a moisture-wicking shirt is fit to be an Olympic athlete.

Think that's a crazy thing to say? Do peruse this list and tell me which one you couldn't do.

(First, a partial list of all the fringe sports we could never play in our wildest dreams: table tennis, water polo, volleyball, badminton, sailing, trampoline, synchronized swimming.)

5. Equestrian Dressage

Spain's Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez
Spain's Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez waves to the crowd during the Equestrian's Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo by John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)

I'm going to be honest. I have no idea what's going on in dressage. Seems like you just ride a horse out into an area and prance around a little bit.

Sure, the experts say that this is a masterfully artful performance, and that it requires high skill. But I think that's just what horse people want you to think. They know that 99.9% of the world doesn't have free access to show horses, and so we just have to take their word for it.

Consider me unconvinced. Get me a horse. I'm pretty sure it's really just a matter of access to a horse.

(You also can't convince me that the judges pay attention to the entire routine. Can you watch this whole thing without falling asleep? Didn't think so.)

4. Second Canoe Guy

Australia Canoe Team
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: Ferenc Szekszardi and Martin Marinov of Australia compete in the Men's Canoe Double 1000m. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Rowing is hard. Super hard. Your muscles burn like crazy. You want to pass out. I get it.

But these guys are on their knees! Plus, they've got a buddy with them! So, provided you had a friend who was spectacular at canoeing while down on one knee but not quite world class enough to be able to compete solo, then bam! You've got your ticket to a medal, my friend.

The rules are simple: Get down on one knee. Row for a few minutes. Let your pal carry the load. Celebrate your victory.

3. Ribbon Twister Person

Rhythmic gymnastics
Israel's rhythmic gymnastics team competes at Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Following along the "blending in" theme, look at all those people twirling ribbons! That's a lot of ribbon twirlers! So many of them!

We're judging that one person in the middle there? No way.

Now, some people say this is a beautiful expression of art, and that it is highly demanding.

Usain Bolt, are you buying that?


No, no you're not.

Frank The Tank's comedic performance wasn't actually that far off from the Olympic performances I've seen. You could do it, too.

2. Men's Field Hockey Player

Field hockey
Belgium vs. Netherlands in men's field hockey at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

What are these guys honestly even doing? Why are the sticks so small? Was the maximum stick size requirement set when the average global height was 5-foot-4?

The only thing you need a lot of is patience -- patience for playing a boring game that stinks. No offense. (Some offense.)

1. Handball Goalie

Germany's handball goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter
Germany's handball goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter (Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

Putting aside my belief that literally any seven humans at the local YMCA could compete in this event, and temporarily accepting the claim that these are indeed world-class athletes, I can still say with great confidence that any person can be a goalie. The only requirement would be the ability to stand, but even still, I'm not entirely sure that helps.

The handball goalie does almost nothing. He or she stands there, hands up, "protecting" a 3-by-2 meter net, as a bunch of "elite athletes" throw a tiny ball around and then eventually hurl it into the net. They score literally* every single time up the floor. The goalie literally* does nothing.

(*"Literally" not meant literally.)

It's really just a matter of being willing to stand there and get hit by a ball maybe once or twice a week. For a shot at Olympic gold, that's a worthwhile price. There's a need for it, too, as the U.S. was nowhere to be found in this year's handball action. So lace up your sneakers and get ready to tiptoe around a net for 60 minutes. America needs you.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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