By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
One of America’s most popular pastimes over the last century has been fighting the higher power in the forms of protesting and rioting.
Every year, Americans tune in to their favorite news station to root for the side they think deserves to be victorious.
Its popularity has gotten the nation to start wondering one thing: Should protesting be called a sport?
Well, before determining that, we should dive into the history of protesting up to where it is today, and compare it to the likes of other high-caliber sports.
Right at its inception, we could see that the game of protesting was different than other sports, because it was invented by ordinary women rather than athletic men.
In the early 1920s, women’s suffrage marked the start of the sport, the first match being the American Women versus the Philadelphia Constitution. The Women defeated the Fathers, and the underground sport was born.
In the early 20th Century, the sport started slowly, and not a lot of official matches happened. Many regret not sending a riot team out to face the German Nazis.
However, a different war sparked the revival of the sport, in the 1960s matchup between the American Hippies and the Washington DC Defenders. The Defenders won on paper, but history remembers the Hippies as the true victors.
The widespread interest in protesting shed light on the need for an official protesting league, like the NFL and the MLB. Bright minds came together and formed the Protesting and Rioting League (PARL), as well as the wPARL for the female athletes.
It didn’t take long for the league to go international. One of the most famous games, the German Citizens versus the Berlin Gorbachev, came down to a nailbiting finish.
Ronald Reagan came in at the last second to sway the matchup in favor of the Citizens. The Berlin wall was taken down, and the PARL was clearly making an impact.
Even China wasn’t immune to the league’s following, with a loyal PARL fan standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square to show how much he loved protesting.
The most dominant rioting team came forward in the 1992 season. The Los Angeles Rodney Kings gave 110 percent out on the court against the California Cops.
Despite some impressive riots, the Cops came out on top. Many accuse Cops games of being rigged, a characteristic shared with FIFA.
The last fifteen years have seen the PARL really heat up in popularity. The Iraqi War got thousands of athletes out protesting, and reignited the passion Americans have for fruitlessly standing in the street and complaining.
The past several seasons have seen a new factor come into play: race.
Black Lives Matter, a team led by legendary coach Al Sharpton, has become a fan favorite among millions.
They’ve hosted close matchups against the Cops, and have brought a combination of protesting and rioting tactics to the court that have brought them success where others have failed.
The Baltimore game in 2015 was where the Black Lives team truly shined, and proved that rioting is still an effective play to use against your opponent.
One of the closest matchups in recent memory started just last year, in the game between the Standing Rock Indians and the Washington Oilers, in a rare away game for Washington. The winner is still disputed.
The election of Donald Trump has been the biggest catalyst for the popularity of protesting today. Countless athletes hit the streets in the contest of the American People versus the White House Staff. Even the women’s league got in on the action, with millions of women marching and protesting for their team, the American Ladies.
Merchandise for different teams has been selling like crazy, and everyone is watching the games on TV and talking about the sides they’re rooting for.
So now that protesting has far surpassed their original status as an underground league, does it deserve to be called a sport and compared to the likes of American football?
I would say absolutely. The criteria for sports are all there: televised matches with commentary, local teams, loyal fans of those teams, and different gameplay styles.
Additionally, the players out on the field need to be physically fit to pull off plays likebrick throwing and running from beanbag guns.
So to all athletes out there, keep protesting, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the 2017 season.