Sunday, February 6, 2011

Musings during the Super Bowl on the Glory of Sports

Sports are about humanity.  Sports are about what it means ("means") to be human.  As overplayed as it is, Queen's song "We Will Rock You" is the epitome of sport.  It's all about fighting and dreaming and reaching.  It's all about violence and peace.  It's all about looking out for number one and raising your brothers and sisters to great heights.

Can you tell I'm watching the Super Bowl?  I apologize, my writing gets really spastic when I'm simultaneously watching tv.

I had someone try to tell me that sports weren't all about violence.  But competition is all violence, or rather the re-routing of it.  It is long recognized that humans have the ability to mask primal urges and emotions.  Some insist this is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, especially other mammals such as dogs, cats, and other primates.  I agree, but I think such controlling tendencies fall somewhere on a continuum... but that discussion is for another day.

Returning to the violence, I would argue it's a part of human nature.  Again, for another day, but if for a moment we assume that this is true then we, as [presumably] civilized creatures need an outlet that doesn't result in World Wars every other day.  That outlet?  We wear pads instead of plate armor and throw pigskin instead of grenades.  Yes, we still certainly throw each other to the ground and ram our shoulders into stomachs and sternums, but after everyone's lying in a heap we all help each other up and pat each other on the back.

My examples are all specific to football (American football, that is) but that's because I'm sitting in front of the tv watching the game right now.  I can certainly apply this repurposing of violence to other sports.  For instance, my friend asked, what about golf?  To which I replied, it's still competition, and some way to test your physical prowess.  Perhaps you aren't physically confronting someone but the object of the sport is still to best someone else in a test of evolutionary fitness.  And after all, you are hitting something.

I feel like I just made sports a bad thing for some people.  I didn't intend it as such, and I hope my readers will understand that what I wanted to convey was the majesty of human ingenuity.  We found a way to funnel our need for war into productive activity.  We better ourselves through the act of playing sports, in body, in mind, and in spirit.

By the way, I just like football.

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