McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Sports

October 12, 2013

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

(Continued)

Georgia

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: tennis

Also considered: high school baseball

Florida plays host to a major international tennis tournament. It's the home of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, where Andre Agassi and Monica Seles were molded into No. 1 players. Even foreign stars like Andy Murray relocate to Florida to train. So why does Georgia get tennis? Because every state needs a sport, and Georgia — though perhaps lacking its Southern neighbor's racket pedigree — is home to the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association, an 80,000-member strong organization that claims to be "the largest community-based tennis organization in the U.S." Atlanta also has the highest number of USTA members per capita in the United States. And it doesn't hurt that the No. 1 American man, John Isner, knocked the fuzzy yellow ball around for the University of Georgia. That's good enough for me.

Hawaii

Official state sport(s): surfing and outrigger canoe paddling

Our choice: surfing

Also considered: outrigger canoe paddling, golf

Hawaii's official team sport is outrigger canoe paddling, while its official individual sport is surfing. While I considered giving the state outrigger canoeing — because, hey, why not — surfing is synonymous with the archipelago, and for good reason. The sport was practiced in ancient Hawaii and popularized worldwide by Hawaiians. The state is also home to the world's most legendary waves. Care to argue that point California, Tahiti, South Africa, and Australia? Give me five minutes and I'll round up a couple of thousand dudes in board shorts who'll set you straight.

Idaho

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: whitewater kayaking

Also considered: none

According to the Gem State's tourism site, Idaho has "more whitewater river miles than anywhere in the lower 48 states." Way to go, Idaho!

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