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October 10, 2013

The United Sports of America: What should your state's official sport be?

(Continued)

4. Official state sports will be honored if possible. But it's not always possible. South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming all chose rodeo as an official sport, but only one state can be America's true rodeo king. (Rodeo fight!)

With those ground rules established, I got to choosing, with some help from colleagues. (Still recovering from an email debate that destroyed an entire afternoon of workplace productivity and led one Ohio resident to insist that grievous harm had been done to the Buckeye State.)

Surprisingly, we had a bunch of respectable sports left over: pro basketball, swimming, indoor and beach volleyball, softball, bowling, table tennis, water polo, figure skating, fencing, badminton, diving, windsurfing, shooting, mixed martial arts. Want to pop any of those sports in or switch other ones around?

Alabama

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: college football

Also considered: none

Lots of states would love to claim college football, but this one isn't much of a contest. Yes, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide (three) and Auburn University Tigers (one) have claimed the last four BCS titles. But the deciding factor here is spring football attendance: What state turns out when the games don't count in the standings? In 2013, Auburn had 83,401 fans at its spring game and Alabama packed in 78,315. The next three contenders for the pointless-crowd crown: the University of Tennessee (61,076), University of Nebraska (60,174), and University of Arkansas (51,088). If you want to take down the Heart of Dixie, you've got to do a much more convincing job embracing meaninglessness.

Alaska

Official state sport(s): mushing

Our choice: mushing

Also considered: none

The easiest of our 51 selections. The state sport is mushing. Nobody much cares about it anywhere else. It's all yours, Alaska. Stay warm.

Arizona

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: spring training baseball

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