Tahlequah Daily Press

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October 10, 2013

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

(Continued)

New Mexico

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: hot-air ballooning

Also considered: none

Is hot-air ballooning a sport? Not really. Is New Mexico a state? All signs point to yes. Does the Land of Enchantment have a thing for ginormous balloons? It certainly does. Are there any better options? Nope.

New York

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: streetball

Also considered: handball

Handball is a more uniquely New York phenomenon and New York City basketball isn't what it used to be. But Dyckman is still Dyckman and Rucker Park is still Rucker Park, the place where NBA champs go to prove themselves against the local talent. When Kobe Bryant heads to Tulsa, Okla. to test his mettle, then we can talk about demoting New York. Until then, NYC rules the blacktop.

North Carolina

Official state sport(s): stock car racing

Our choice: stock car racing

Also considered: women's soccer, men's college basketball

A bunch of schoolchildren lobbied the state to make stock car racing North Carolina's official sport, and the legislature acceded to their wishes in 2011. (This was a vindication for the kids' teacher, who told the Charlotte Observer that a previous class "wanted to make the apple the state fruit, but before they had the chance to pursue it, the General Assembly went with the scuppernong grape instead.") The kids got this one right: The NASCAR Hall of Fame is in Charlotte, the vast majority of NASCAR teams are based here, and racing icons Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt were born in the Tar Heel State.

North Dakota

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: college hockey

Also considered: curling

People like curling here, but they're way, way more into University of North Dakota ice hockey. And who can blame them, considering that the Ralph Engelstad Arena_known as the "Taj Mahal of Hockey"_features leather seats for each spectator. During the 2012-13 season, an average of 11,592 fans per game nestled into leather to watch the team formerly known as the Fighting Sioux. That figure led the nation, outpacing allegedly hockey-mad Minnesota by more than 1,500 fans per contest. The Gophers clearly need more comfortable seats.

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