Fed up with watching the XXI Winter Games, my brother-in-law Dave groused, ''Most of these Olympic 'sports' are just a cross between a beauty pageant and a dog show. To win, you must look good, be best of breed and do all your tricks nice for the judges.''
I suspect that Dave was being forced to watch ice dancing. While those ice dancers are far more athletic than I'll ever be, let's face it, it's dancing. On skates.
According to the ''Guy's Guidebook for Life,'' if it doesn't involve a ball, a stick, punching or a goal or finish line, then it's not a sport.
(Technically, fishing qualifies as a sport since a rod is a stick. Truthfully, it's just a restful way of getting out of housework.)
''Hockey and the Nordic biathlon are sports,'' Dave ruled. ''They don't need a panel of judges to tell you who won. Anything with judging scores is just a demonstration.''
Hockey makes the grade as a sport on all counts - sticks, a ball of sorts, punching and a goal.
I admit that the Nordic biathlon is the weirdest combo ever. Why not combine, say, ice fishing and ironing? Or create a biathlon squared by adding in polar bear wrangling and fir tree climbing?
But c'mon, the biathlon is a race on skis (sticks, plus a finish line) interlaced with pit stops to fire high-powered rifles (sticks that pack a punch firing ''balls''). That's a sport.
I once saw a ''Nordic biathlon'' in a James Bond movie. But it added snowmobiles, helicopters, machine guns, explosions and a parachute. Mix these elements into the Olympic biathlon and it would increase interest tremendously. Especially the interest of anyone within a five-mile radius.
Curling doesn't get much respect, but it is a sport. It's a combination of bowling, horseshoes and bocce on ice. Brooms are sticks, there's a target, and you get to knock other players' stones out of the way.
(I am suspicious of any sport that uses brooms. If my wife sees curling, she might try to convince me that housecleaning IS a sport too, because it uses sticks, trash needs balled up and tossed into a goal, and she'll punch me if I don't.)
The bobsled, luge, skeleton and snowboardcross basically are races on sleds, depending on if you're sitting, lying feet first, lying head first or standing. Fastest time wins. It's a sport.
(Why do spectators stand along the racecourse clanking cowbells? Did Christopher Walken step out of a ''Saturday Night Live'' skit one day and say, ''What this sled race needs is more cowbell!'')
Here's a thought - children's biathlon. Kids could race on sleds and flick rubber bands at each other.
Snowball fights would make an excellent winter game.
For those people who simply MUST have judges in their ''sports,'' each snowball team first could build a snow fort. But after the ''beauty pageant and dog show'' fort judging, the fight is on!
The hockey players can slap snowballs while the curling team slides stones at the fort just before the bobsledders crash into it. The snowboarders and skiers can fly overtop the fort, heaving snowballs while executing 720s. And when it's done, the losing team will send their ice dancers out to wave the white flag.
Now that's a sport I think even brother-in-law Dave would enjoy.
----- Dance teams may straighten out Cole's thinking at firstname.lastname@example.org.