See the thing is, there are many sports venues where the light is NOT good. As in f/2.8 and ISO 1600 aren't necessarily going to give you a fast enough shutter speed to keep motion blur down to acceptable levels. A guy with a DSLR shooting with a good f/2 prime is going to have a huge advantage over the guy with the film SLR and an f/5.6 consumer-grade coke bottle.
The skills of the photographer matter, but so do the cababilities of his or her tools; both are equally pertinent to the final result.
Nobody is going to deny that you have your work cut out for you slapping a cheap longer zoom on your camera, and wandering out in low light levels. That is just obvious. We know why some buy fast lenses, and its mostly the speed they desire.
You can pick a dozen scenarios where you need certain equipment to get the shots in the ist place. On the other hand, you can pick a dozen where low grade tools can do the job, and do it well.
Lenses are an easy one. There are decent lower cost options on all the mounts. One super budget gem is the tamron 55-200mm, its not fast, its not going to blow you away with it robusts build, its cheapo. But the optics are good. I have a few pals with that lens, who didnt want to splash much cash to start playing with tele shots. And they can get good results. Lots of reasonable cost lenses on A mount, which I use..decent lenses that can cost £200 or so s/h on ebay. You could buy a D40 and go and take good tele shots, you dont always need pro spec bodies.
I have seen too many gifted superzoom owners, who can take bird shots as good as shooters with pro line bodies and lenses, using a camera that cost very little. Yes these cameras have limitations, and I am more into SLR's myself..because mostly I have DOF control, that small sensors do not.
But you can still take good shots with some of these cameras, plenty of good macro shooters with fujis, and canons and other makes. I sometimes take my compact out, because I dont want to carry the SLR bulk..I can still get nice shots with it.
Lots of good reasons for getting high quality stuff, I have a few nice lenses myself..but again, it just there as a tool to help me. Evertyhing has some limitations, of course. But in many cases you have ways to overcome them, if you dont have the cash for a DSLR, and you want to do quality landscapes, lots of MF flim options that are pretty cheap on ebay too.