hesperornis: (gecko)
hesperornis ([personal profile] hesperornis) wrote2008-09-25 03:01 pm

Semi-philosophical question

Well, it's 3pm and my eyes are crossing from the microscope, so I'm taking a break and eating a cookie.  And posing a semi-serious question. 

Chris and I went way out of our way to go shopping a couple of weeks ago so as to avoid the vicinity of the university, as there was a home football game going on.  Traffic tends to be crazy and you can never tell who's just come from a drunken tailgate party. 

Chris made a comment that the world would be better off without competitive sports, as sports make otherwise reasonable people do stupid things in the name of their team, or in the case of the players, do stupid things period because they're drunk on power.  I countered that there was nothing wrong with sports in general, and in fact it's the sports fans that ruin what would otherwise be a perfectly healthy activity.  Sports fans are frequently the ones acting stupid, and if it weren't for rabid sports fans, there would be no overpaid professional players doing stupid stuff with their money.  Chris pointed out that if there were no sports, people who tend to behave that way might put their enthusiasm toward something productive, say political debate (I don't know that political debate counts as being productive, but that's beside the point.) 

I would invite anyone with five minutes to waste to weigh in on the debate. 

[identity profile] dinogrrl.livejournal.com 2008-09-25 08:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree that I don't feel there's anything inherently bad or wrong with sports themselves. They're excellent physical and mental activities and encourage healthy competition between people (well, usually healthy).

As for those fans that do stupid things at sports games...if there were no sports, there are still plenty of other things those people would be able to focus their stupidity on. Taking away one stupidity outlet doesn't usually cure stupidity itself :}.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-26 02:09 am (UTC)(link)
"if there were no sports, there are still plenty of other things those people would be able to focus their stupidity on."

Well said!

I think the emphasis on sports in American and European culture began as an idea to get people to be physically stronger and healthier. People who then decided that being "in" to sports meant watching them on tv or going to the arena, drinking beer and eating junk food I think misunderstood the message.

By the way, how is it that beer got associated with sports in the first place? When was the last time you saw an Olympic athlete with a beer gut?

[identity profile] dinogrrl.livejournal.com 2008-09-26 02:14 am (UTC)(link)
Maybe beer is the only way to make watching sports fun? :p (I jest, of course)

[identity profile] pussyofdoom.livejournal.com 2008-09-25 09:26 pm (UTC)(link)
If he thinks people do stupid things "because they're drunk on power," then he should look beyond sports to politics, Hollywood, big business, etc. If there were no sports people would just be more out of shape. It's not the sports that make people act that way, it's the people.

And I've worked with enough kids (I'm thinking of certain middle school boys in particular) to know (know, not think) that if some of them did not have a healthy outlet to channel all their energy they would simply use that energy to, oh, beat the crap out of each other, destroy things, or any other activity we would deem unhealthy. They would not all of a sudden start engaging in political debate.

People are different. Some people really enjoy the competition and excitement surrounding sports. Some people enjoy political debate. People in both camps do stupid things, but not because of the activities they enjoy.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-26 02:11 am (UTC)(link)
While I agree that physical activity is absolutely necessary for everyone (especially children who should not be expected to sit still in classrooms all day) I do think that professional sports aren't entirely needed. I think they're awesome, entertaining, and I think it's cool that our society can afford to pay people to just play a game, but in the long run, I'm not sure it's the best thing to invest in.

[identity profile] pussyofdoom.livejournal.com 2008-09-26 05:30 am (UTC)(link)
The question posted wasn't asking about professional sports, only "competitive sports," which includes everything from little league to collegiate ultimate frisbee to the NFL.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-26 05:46 am (UTC)(link)
Oh. My bad. Sorry about that.

[identity profile] fellmama.livejournal.com 2008-09-25 10:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Assholes are going to be assholes regardless of circumstance.

[identity profile] superquail.livejournal.com 2008-09-26 02:12 am (UTC)(link)
Even so, I think there are environments where asshole-ism is more greatly tolerated than others. It seems that there is a certain cultural expectation that men, especially, are supposed to behave in utterly stupid ways when it comes to sports.
cheyinka: A sketch of a Metroid (Default)

[personal profile] cheyinka 2008-09-26 12:46 am (UTC)(link)
Every culture needs some kind of socially-sanctioned competition. Most of them* do it with physical competition. In a society where "am I going to starve this winter?" is not a question 90%, even 95% of the adult population has to ask themselves, where "are our neighbors going to invade us and destroy our cities?" is not a question any of the sane members of the adult population are going to ask themselves, the intensity that would ordinarily go to survival has to go somewhere, right?
It's not likely it would go to political debate, or solving any of the Millenium Prize problems, because people who want to do those things don't have any barrier to them that ending competitive sports would dissolve, or that would not exist if competitive sports had not become as big as it is. It'd go to, I don't know, climbing mountains or diving off waterfalls or raising ducklings. You wouldn't have stadiums full of spectators getting drunk, sure, but you'd have people in bars watching, no doubt, and you'd still have overpaid professional climbers and divers and duckraisers getting drunk off power.

*I do not know of any that don't, though this doesn't mean much.

[identity profile] roler.livejournal.com 2008-09-26 01:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't enjoy playing or watching sports myself, but I definitely don't agree that the world would be better without them. As Christine mentioned, I know sports can be a VERY important outlet for lots of people to channel energy and time and concentration and goals into. Sports can make people act like assholes, but it can also make people work REALLY hard to achieve a goal, and even do things like try to bring their grades up so they can stay on a team, etc. And sure, the fans are bad, but I could tell you SO MANY stories about HORRIFIC fans of various pop groups too, who really can make life awful for the entertainers themselves, other more polite fans, and the public in general, but I personally would be really saddened if their actions and the public's reaction to them led to the end of those entertainer's careers, and my enjoyment of them.