In Defense of Sports

Posted: March 2, 2010 in Sports

You know, over the last few weeks/months I’ve read a lot of folk saying very critical things about sports- from NFL football to MMA to, why yes, the Olympics.  I always arch a brow when I read these things, because I am sure it is no secret that I am both a sports fan and a bit of a jock.  I can understand people being critical of a huge amounts of money headliner pro athletes make, or the abuse of athletes in sports, or the commercials played in sporting events, or the sexism (hello, Canadian Women’s Hockey Team) in athletics.  I can absolutely understand why people get upset when famous athletes assume they are above the law and not subject to the same rules as the rest of us.  I even cheer people who hate sports announcers, a great deal of the media surrounding sports, the nationalistic edge to sports journalism, all of that…

But hating sports?   

Humm.  I have some thoughts about that.  And they start with this:  A great many people who complain about sports, how they are stupid or add nothing to life, society, historical culture (hello, Greece, anyone), so on so forth…well, to me they always come across sounding like the arrogant, oh-so-hipper than thou look how hard I am trying to be so intellectual folk who…back in school…always sucked at sports.  You know, the last picked for gym, brutalized in dodge ball and Red Rover, couldn’t run a mile with wolves chasing them people who there for decided sports-all of them, and the people who engaged in them- all of them, were some how lesser.  Now admittedly even I can imagine wanting to pop the asshat football jerk in the head- back in highschool- but to make universal decrees about the worthlessness of athletics and the people who do  them???

Please, I’m a nihilist, the angst and disdain are not going to impress and move me.

I also have a little something I want to say to these people:

For some folk, sports are Their Only Way Out of a Shitty Life.  They are the springboard to something better.  AND YES, I do get as pissed as anyone when someone with a crap academic record gets into a university rather than a hard-working quality student because they can run, catch, swim, whatever…because universities are supposed to be academic institutions.  I hate how female athletes and athletic programs are almost universally secondary to male athletes and athletic programs.   I dislike all these things…however, that said…

Even though I managed to maintain no lower than a 3.5 average throughout highschool and college, I can tell you this:  sports made a huge difference in my life.  Sports offered me a lot of opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.  Sports helped me stay healthy.  I made friends via athletics that were solid and remain friends today.  I got to go places I might have not otherwise been able to travel to.  Sports inspired me in other areas, including academic and artistic ones.  Sports helped teach me the value of hard work and confidence.  Sports have always been a good and positive thing in my life, and this is not unique to me.

Thus I do not understand how some folk can just so loathe sports- in and of themselves.  It makes no sense.  It’s like saying you hate music, or art, or carpentry and such things are stupid.  They may not be your cup of tea, but that alone is not a reason to relegate something to the realm of idiots and idiocy.

In fact, that is what seems terribly stupid to me.

  1. dead_Vladimir says:

    sports are dangerous….especially basket ball..

  2. rootietoot says:

    I like sports for this simple reason: I can’t do them. For 42 years I had a bad hip that prevented me from running, jumping, kicking, twisting, whatever, so I did these things vicariously by watching other people do them. It seemed more sensible than getting pissy about them doing something I couldn’t, after all, it wasn’t their fault. Now that the hip is replaced, and theoretically I could do those things, the habits are in place. I can, however, jump and hoot and wave things around with the best of them. I can spill beer down someone’s back and hide a hip flask in my boot.

  3. I had been a fan of Rugby League football (which has some similarities to American footbal) for a while until last year. We had a case here in Australia where it was alleged a group of players had gang-raped a girl about a decade previously. One of the by-then ex-players involved was a very high-profile guy who was a co-host of a national TV show about the game.

    It wasn’t so much that sports that reward violence attracted arseholes – that was obvious when I watched and enjoyed the exciting game. What really turned me off was the slut-shaming and denial that went on among the fans of the game. These people had no way of knowing the truth of the matter but quite happily asserted that the girl must have been in the wrong, that because no charges were laid nothing wrong could possibly have happened (!) and so on.

    I stopped watching Rugby League after this happened. This isn’t because of a boycott I’m making for political reasons, it’s because I fell out of love with a sport that would attract some fans. Not particularly rational perhaps, but it’s my genuine gut response.

    On big money, I think there was a rant on the show “Becker” that addresses that – Becker was going on about how sportspeople are stupid jocks, and some footballer guest-starred and pointed out to him that the chance of getting a career-ending, or even a permenantly-crippling, injury is pretty high and why shouldn’t pro sports players make sure they have enough money to survive if that happens. Also, I wonder why the *players* are the ones who get criticised? They’re the ones who do the performances and take the risks. They’re just workers, although admitedly highly-paid and privileged workers. Why don’t people complain about the TV companies or sports organisations making huge amounts of money off the labour of the players, while contributing very little?

    Also, we have an annoying habit here in Australia (and I believe in the UK too) of sneering at US pro footballers for wearing padding. See the second half of this short post for my angry denunciation of that sort of snobbery:

    • Ren says:

      I am familiar with Rugby! It’s actually becoming more popular here in the states.

      And we have no shortage of athletes who have done seriously shady shit and gotten away with it/ been beleived by their fans….and that is annoying…

      But there are also a lot of good ones out there too, pro football/baseball/basketball/hockey, so on, players who really do try and do a lot for people and communities- donate time and money to various organizations, promote causes without being paid, so on, so forth. There is a player here on the DC NFL team who is notorious for showing up at the childrens hospital dressed as a goofy clown with loads of toys and football stuff and he will stay there reading stories, playing games, all that, for hours. I suppose it is like anything- sports- like life- have good people and bad involved in them.

  4. […] Continued here: In Defense of Sports « Renegade Evolution […]

  5. Roy Kay says:

    I wasn’t big on sports, though some of it was fun. I like wrestling, because my scrawny wiry frame was good for it within or near weight class. I also like pick-up football because that same frame gave me an edge in penetration, though one solid hit could easily knock me out of the play. Loved battle ball and dodgeball as well.

    I am growing weary of the politics of sport. The hassle the Duke LaCross team got and the Canadian Womens hockey team. Likewise NASCAR, because now drivers have a muzzle on them to avoid giving offense. (I would rather be offended that intimidate free speech.) I lost all interest in the Cleveland Indians when Al Dark’s idiot haircut code drove off Hawk Harrelson – I mean you are LOSING, this guy can get fans in the stands and you want to play a stupid game of “Who’s the Boss”. Not thril with Socialist stadiums either.

    What I would like to see is more sports activity at the amateur level. People playing just to have fun. (And it’s good exercise too.) I suspect, however, that the days of limited politicization are gone for good. Those in charge want to OWN the athletes. Those in government want athletes to piss in cups. Isn’t steroids really an internal issue?

    So, I have nothing against athletes in general and very few (Hi Michael Vick!) in particular. But I would mind seeing the whole political structure built around it collapse.

  6. Speaking of hating sports announcers, the Olympics always remind me of why I want to punch Bob Costas in the face if we should chance meet. He irks the shit out of me and he always looks like he’s smirking.

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