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October 10, 2013

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

(Continued)

Washington

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: pro soccer

Also considered: rowing

The University of Washington crew team has a long list of triumphs, tops among them an epic beatdown of a bunch of Nazis at the 1936 Olympics. But in recent decades, as the UW crew failed to thrash even a single Nazi, professional soccer has surged to the fore in the Evergreen State. If Portland is Soccer City USA, then Seattle is Soccer Megalopolis. Major League Soccer's Sounders average more than 40,000 fans per game, nearly double the attendance of any other MLS team — and that was before Seattle spent big to secure the services of Clint Dempsey. Now they just need to install some real grass at CenturyLink Field. If that doesn't happen in the next few years, then Soccer Megalopolis is getting busted back down to Soccer Hamlet.

West Virginia

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: rock climbing

Also considered: none

The Mountain State is an outdoorsy place, a great locale for caving and rafting and rock climbing. The latter of those activities is the only one that's even sort of a sport, so that's what we're going with. Go to New River Gorge and climb all day. If you don't fall to your death, give yourself a trophy.

Wisconsin

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: pro football

Also considered: speed skating, bowling, timbersports

When I first conceived of this project, I was convinced that the NFL belonged to the entire nation rather than any particular state — that it's Football Night in America, not Football Night in Wisconsin. Upon further review, I've decided I got it wrong: The United States loves pro football, but the cheeseheads deserve to slather themselves in pigskin. The community-owned Green Bay Packers have long operated as something of a public trust, and the team's 13 league titles show that the public's trust in the franchise has been well placed. What pushed me over the edge, though, was a Wall Street Journal article with the subhead "Green Bay Is Running Out of Roads to Name After Packer Legends." Wisconsin has made its sports priority clear. Until the rest of the country names 100 percent of its major thoroughfares after coaches, quarterbacks, and linemen, America's Dairyland has pro football wrapped up.

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