Defense of Sports?

Reply Mon 24 Aug, 2009 08:09 pm
It occurs to me that although I like team sports, especially baseball, (collegiate) basketball, and both American and association football, I have no idea why I do. I mean it. Some are violent; others require a great deal of finesse. Why I like baseball I don't even know since I'm awful at playing it...but why is it that team sports are popular? Is it because (as I've heard) their rivalries in the developed world today replace the intercity, interstate, and international rivalries that once drove wars (and continue to do so in other parts of the world)? Then why was a Latin American war sparked over the result of a World Cup match? I know that to play a team sport requires an enormous amount of skill, especially on the professional level; a minute adjustment in baseball can be the difference between a bases-loaded strikeout and a grand slam; in basketball the difference between a contested slam dunk and a foul; in (American) football, between a fifty-yard completion and a fifteen-yard loss on a sack, etcetera etcetera. But why is watching them so compelling too? Why is following them compelling? Is there any philosophical justification for this?
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Reply Mon 24 Aug, 2009 08:22 pm

I don't watch sports much anymore, but once in a while I do. When I do, I always looking at different things, e.g. strategies, tactics, techniques, etc. I understand and watch sports in different ways. Sometimes just to mindlessly kill time.

As for playing sports, when I was young, I guess it was about playing with other people, and gaining skills, and learning more and more about the game. Nowadays, it has changed. I just learn a lot about myself and about life, when I play sports. I love learning new skills in almost anything.

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Reply Mon 24 Aug, 2009 09:32 pm
The only team sport I watch consistently is ice hockey. (Hold the Canadian jokes if you will.:surrender:) I watch because I love the game, but telling you why I love the game isn't so simple.

I played it a lot when I was younger. I suppose watching it allows me to kind of relive those days, when life was simpler and family/friends weren't so distant. But even beyond that I find that hockey is remarkably graceful for a team sport, which makes it eye catching. It's fast and dynamic, and I know it's a hard game to play from experience, which only increases my wonder for the really good players.

In all I'd have to say there doesn't need to be a philosophical justification for enjoying yourself, or at least I don't feel that I need one. I simply enjoy watching hockey.
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Reply Tue 25 Aug, 2009 06:30 am
There is an element of escape in watching team sports. In mentioning this, I'm referring to the more involved fan. During the length of the event and especially at the venue itself, the game is the only event in everyone's world. This is why the behavior we see at the games is so drastically different. The standard is altogether altered in that if one acted in a composed manner as he would at work, let's say, he'd appear utterly out of place. This also translates to those watching on television though to an obviously lesser degree.

The shift in focus away from life's worries is created as a need for one in a daily grind. The more enthusiastic fans will generally be found in the more spirit-crushing working-class locations such as...the OP's location, Philadelphia. In fact, take time and observe the exhibited behavior at the events, and you'll see some parallels to religious experiences! Early morning tailgaiting serves as a preparatory "devotional" and fellowship. Worship takes place at the game. Salvation is hoped for through that long-awaited championship victory. This taps into a lot of inner needs that are hard to articulate by the subject. I myself have benefited tremendously from it. And apparently this isn't anything new as probably we have all read of the riot sparked by the chariot games in Constantinople during Justinian's reign.
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The Jester phil
Reply Tue 25 Aug, 2009 08:25 am
I can tell you why for a sport I fallow: cycling. Most find it that it is not a team sport, and those are ignorant, and this is a mistake.
Why I find it different? Reasons:
When you see half a million men and women on a mountain and along the road to see them pass for mere thirty seconds is astonishing. And doing so for three whole weeks.
When you see that every single of those half million are supports and fans of anyone who passes, the first, the last, the enemy, the Japanese, the German, the American, the Russian and so on, is amazing.
When you see that a guy from the public gives a bottle of fresh water to one cyclist in the fugitive group, and he handle's it to everybody of the competitors which are not his team mates, is fantastic.
When you see endless kilometers of mountain road and cyclists who climb it with such enthusiasm and such a desire and such a suffering, and battling each other is flabbergasting.
When you know there is rarely a favorite for the public is great.
When you see a cyclist with broken bones going on in spite of it, is breath taking.

I do fallow other sports but none such as I do fallow cycling. So I cannot say nothing for other sports for I'm ignorant in them.
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Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 11:04 pm
Sports provide fun and excitement. Do we need any more reason than that to justify playing sports? Not everything we do has to be in search of some deep truth...we can just do it because we enjoy it.
Didymos Thomas
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 01:07 am
It's Circus. It's distraction. That's why we like it.

Man - I'm so ready for college football to start back up. Roll Tide!
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 08:07 am
@Didymos Thomas,
I use to be a diehard follower of Arizona State University football. Had season tickets once. But,,,when they fired Frank Kush for slapping a player upside the helmut once,,,I lost interest. I still like to watch college sports now and then. Professional sports,,,,well thats all about money. Kind of takes the fun out of it for me.
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