By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Apr 08, 2008 at 5:20 AM

Last week, I was listening to John Jagler and Gene Mueller on WTMJ when Jagler took another of his shots at soccer. He followed it with shots at hockey and a couple of other sports that he didn't like. He's a real snob.

But it got me to thinking about sports snobbery and the sports I like and the ones I don't -- and why I feel the way I do.

Herewith, my list of Yeas and Nays.

Yea -- NBA basketball. I know that people complain about it. But these are the best athletes in the world, by far. They've got size, speed, endurance, hand-eye coordination. Everything. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

Nay -- WNBA basketball. The NBA game is about speed; the WNBA game is about slow. No matter how hard I try, and I really have tried because I like women in shorts, I can't stand the WNBA. It's too slow and patterned, with not nearly enough grace.

Yea -- Football. Pro and college. Power and speed. What's not to like? Hitting. Graceful receivers making acrobatic catches. Nose tackles stuffing a center, a guard and then a running back. Plus, they have those great cheerleaders.

Nay -- Men's soccer. I don't know what it is, but there's something about it that bores me. "Good God! Mexico against Portugal. Get Ready!" Yeah. Right.

Yea -- Women's soccer. Maybe it's residue from the Olympics or the fact that I have daughters who played soccer. But the women's game seems much more passionate and inspiring. Plus, again, women in shorts.

Nay -- Auto racing. I don't care if it's NASCAR, IRL, Open Wheel, Closed Casket or whatever. When they say go fast and turn left, and then left again and again and again, it leaves me cold.

Yea -- College basketball. Men and women. Kids trying really hard to beat other kids who are trying really hard. Most of them are going to end up in the real world workforce and you've got to love them a lot.

Nay -- Boxing. This used to be a huge Yea for me, but I don't even know the names of any boxers anymore. They called it the Sweet Science, but now it's neither sweet nor a science.

Yea -- The LPGA. Let me say it clear. Natalie Gulbis. Paula Creamer. Grace Park (Bill Clinton said he wanted to play golf with her) and did I mention Natalie Gulbis? Plus it's like America against the Asian invasion. It's got everything.

Nay -- The PGA. I love golf and play ardently. And I love Tiger Woods. But do I really care if John Mallinger battles Geoff Ogilvy for the Shell Houston Open? I care about the PGA four times a year and that's about it.

Yea -- Women's tennis. Lots if intriguing characters with grudges and lots of skill.

Nay -- Men's tennis. No intriguing characters. No grudges. All the same skills.

Yea -- Ultimate fighting. I don't know exactly when it's on television, but I do know whenever I'm surfing the dial and I find it, I watch.

Nay -- Cycling. I know we are all supposed to love it because of Lance Armstrong. But the guy who's in front, well, he may not really be the winner.

Yea -- Extreme sports. Skateboards from hell, tiny bikes flying like mad, and those crazy mogul skiers make my blood run hot.

Nay -- Hockey. I've tried. Honestly, I've tried. Just ain't happening.

Yea -- All figure skating. Grace, beauty, emotion, speed and beautiful women. Also some beautiful men who are great athletes. Not bad, huh?

Nay -- Speed skating. I know there's a strong Wisconsin tie to this, but why can't they all skate together and the fastest and toughest guy wins?

You may notice one sport I've left out.


That's because it is all things to me, which may explain its charm. People love baseball like no other sport.

I love the intellectual demands of the game, although I don't think it's nearly as "smart" as baseball people want you to think it is. I love the drama and the whole spring revival thing. I also love that there is no gloating or trash talking in baseball. Hit a home run, put your head down and run around the bases, making sure to touch them all. It's very classy and a singular style in the panorama of sports.

But, I'm old enough to remember when you could still smoke in the dugout. I also have never liked spitting or crotch grabbing. There's enough of that in baseball to make a 50 Cent video. There is also all that idle time in a baseball game when nothing happens.

Plus, baseball makes you a hypocrite.

I have a friend who loves a 1-0 game more than anything. But ask him about soccer and he can't stand it because "nothing happens."

Go figure.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.