Just a thought about sport...

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A place for serious discussion on any non-religious topic

Just a thought about sport...

Postby 2ndRateMind » August 5th, 2012, 1:07 pm

...sort of arrived out of the blanket Olympics coverage. Don't get me wrong, I think sport is great, for the sports minded. It gives them a purpose in life, and for the rest of us non-competitors, a few moments of interested relaxation. But. (There's always a but!) To use a sporting analogy, life is a marathon, not an explosive sprint. Life is not a few seconds, or minutes, or even hours, concentrated effort. It's the cumulative total of days, weeks, months and years of total immersion. Maybe that's why sport is popular; we don't have to suffer the sustained effort, only it's climactic result. But for my part, I'd be more interested in sport if it were the long term reflection of life, rather than the short term result of an obsessive concentration on (lets face it!) an irrelevant skill-set.

And sport is, for sport's sake. It is it's own rationale. No longer does one participate for fitness, for mental health, for well-being. The competition is all and the winning is the purpose.

So, when are we going to get life-reflecting sport? The most sociable person, perhaps, the tastiest Sunday lunch, or the most productive allotment, or best home-brewed beer maker? These are 'sports' I could get behind, without reservation, seeing as they are life skills that enhance our human experience rather than extract and glorify talent from a very limited pool of very limited human capacities that have little or no impact on the quality of anyone else's existance.

None of this is meant, in any way, to be a criticism of sports folk or sports fans. We all need a distracting hobby. I just worry that this distraction has the potential to seduce us away from the things that really matter.

Cheers, 2RM
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Re: Just a thought about sport...

Postby GregB » August 5th, 2012, 1:52 pm

And sport is, for sport's sake. It is it's own rationale. No longer does one participate for fitness, for mental health, for well-being. The competition is all and the winning is the purpose.

Surely that says it all, though - and one supposes that the fall out for the competitors precisely consists of, amongst other factors, "fitness, mental health and well being".
So, when are we going to get life-reflecting sport? The most sociable person, perhaps, the tastiest Sunday lunch, or the most productive allotment, or best home-brewed beer maker? These are 'sports' I could get behind, without reservation, seeing as they are life skills that enhance our human experience rather than extract and glorify talent from a very limited pool of very limited human capacities that have little or no impact on the quality of anyone else's existance.

Don't you think this is a rather parochial perspective? After all, how many in the so-called Third World Countries (not to mention the growing Fourth World of grinding poverty) could indulge in your eccentric 'sports' without any such means at their disposal? In any case, there are areas of human endeavour where only a minority excels and that should surely arouse our admiration rather than mean-spirited envy or re-localisation in such banal 'competitive' activities as making the best Sunday lunch ( "And the gold medal goes to___for their ground-breaking, and wind-breaking, goulash") or the best home-brewed beer ("And the gold medal is awarded posthumously to___of Hemel Hempstead, who also won the gold for the most productive allotment, where he will now be laid to rest".)

Er, what were you saying, 2RM...?
"I hate reality but it's still the best place to get a good steak."
- Woody Allen
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Re: Just a thought about sport...

Postby Sprocket » August 5th, 2012, 2:07 pm

Why are the skills required to do a sport irrelevant? They're relevant to the sport. You might just as well say that a car mechanic's skills are irrelevant, because they're no use for anything but fiddling around under car bonnets.
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Re: Just a thought about sport...

Postby Sprocket » August 5th, 2012, 2:11 pm

GregB wrote: ("And the gold medal is awarded posthumously to___of Hemel Hempstead, who also won the gold for the most productive allotment, where he will now be laid to rest".)

Who can you be thinking of :?:
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Re: Just a thought about sport...

Postby 2ndRateMind » August 5th, 2012, 4:45 pm

Sprocket wrote:Why are the skills required to do a sport irrelevant? They're relevant to the sport.


Indeed. But they are irrelevant because that is all they are relevant to. They are irrelevant to the daily business of living, is my point. The time has long gone since sportsmanship implied a morality that borrowed from a concept of an ethical lifestyle. Now we have gamesmanship and 'professionalism' whose only allegience is to success. And, moreover, and more to the point, however much we might rightfully admire successful competitors, just explain, if you will, what skills a triple-jump athlete, or a pole-vault champion, bring to the world, outside their sport? The only thing I can think of is sustained commitment, but I also think that sustained commitment might be better directed towards, say, the alleviation of absolute poverty. For example.

Cheers, 2RM.
Last edited by 2ndRateMind on August 5th, 2012, 5:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Just a thought about sport...

Postby 2ndRateMind » August 5th, 2012, 5:02 pm

GregB wrote:Don't you think this is a rather parochial perspective? After all, how many in the so-called Third World Countries (not to mention the growing Fourth World of grinding poverty) could indulge in your eccentric 'sports' without any such means at their disposal?...
...Er, what were you saying, 2RM...?


Hmmm. No more parochial than the east london sports-fest occurring right here, right now. And, perhaps even less so, since my suggestions have to do with the daily business of living, rather than the superlative performance of athletes in a much more limited sphere of endeavour.

Best, 2RM.
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Re: Just a thought about sport...

Postby Lyn » August 5th, 2012, 5:30 pm

Many successful athletes go on to work with disadvantaged young people, giving them the example that they can actually achieve something and be the best they can at whatever they choose. I am an "old" person and not sporty but even I feel inspired by them, feeling that I can still achieve, however the young people are the ones who really benefit because they often have few choices.
Even those who are good at sport but not championship material become fit and active enough to feel able to perform quite useful jobs.
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Re: Just a thought about sport...

Postby 2ndRateMind » August 5th, 2012, 5:39 pm

Victoria Plum wrote:Many successful athletes go on to work with disadvantaged young people, giving them the example that they can actually achieve something and be the best they can at whatever they choose...


Indeed they do. And fair play to them. Do not think of me as anti-sport. Think of me as pro-life.

Best wishes, 2RM.
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Re: Just a thought about sport...

Postby Lyn » August 5th, 2012, 5:51 pm

Yes 2rm, I too am pro-life in that sense.
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Re: Just a thought about sport...

Postby 2ndRateMind » August 5th, 2012, 6:14 pm

Sure beats sitting on a sofa!

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