Saturday, September 10, 2005

Sick of Sports Hysteria, Redux

It’s Fall again and that means Football, sports fans. Er, well, baseball is not quite over though. And basketball and hockey are just around the corner. In the spectator democracy of the USA, fans are provided with some form of “Ball” each and every season of the year. Of course, the newpapers and media are promoting this season’s gridiron “prospects” as usual. Beer is being sold. Coaches are giving pep rallies. Cheerleaders are working up fight songs for their heroes! And the local public high schools have new gangs of thugs ready to WIN. The private “Christian” high schools are contenders as well. Rah rah shish boom bah for Jee-sus, the greatest pro of ‘em all.

Coaches may sentimentally claim that “the important thing is that you do your best,” but what really counts to them is winning. That’s what sports at all levels teaches: Victory at any cost--useful training for creating obedient, robotic soldiers as well as go-getter alpha males. The celebrity athletes make the big bucks by being the baddest, most violent players on the field. It's rather questionable that's an attribute we should be instilling in our youth.

More respect should be given to the student who wins the science fair, or to the chess club champion, or the math or French honors student. Solving trigonometry problems requires more skills and is more useful to both society and to the individual than being a great free throw shooter or running back. I, for one, have much greater respect for say an Anatoly Karpov or Bertrand Russell than for Mark MacGuire or Deion Sanders.

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