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Thread: Philosophy of sports

  1. #1

    Default Philosophy of sports

    Inspired by how I feel very much like what tiny described here I thought to start a conversation about the many aspects of sports, from early-school youth sports, to the pro-sports, and of course...the Olympics...

    In principal, how much difference is there from today's sports to the ancient Roman gladiator battles? How do they compare, and how do they differ (beyond death, no longer being an intended aspect of entertainment)...

    It would seem that at least some practical benefits from exercise, and developing coordination, and group collaboration could be gained through sports, but what of the politics, the monetary investments? ('power' & 'control') ...where, and what is the sport??

    Do we need to be in battle where there is no war, no endangerment above a culturally constructed threat of...pride?

    Working hard, and playing hard...stress relief? An organized outlet, safe in so far that measures and equipment are implemented to reduce injury...

    For myself, I historically believed that I simply didn't like sports...for one, I wasn't properly introduced. My immediate family was not at all into them, and any sort of sport named venue with my then much elder-teen uncles; was an inevitable abuse to me physically and psychologically...

    Then enter elementary school and beyond...where it seemed 99.9% of everyone else there seemed to know both what to play, and how to play...I, as you may conclude by now...was both clueless, and utterly inept! That would be in addition to my social juxtaposition alone, and made that much worse too! I even wonder now, if this combined with the 'gender-norms' wasn't a part of my development of a more decidedly 'female' roll-persona?? ('nature' -v- 'nurture')


    I digress...

    Well, so there in part anyway...is where I developed a rather abject opinion of sports in general...I also found out much to my surprise; I have a tremendous competitive side...though rarely evoked nowadays...wouldn't matter if it was throwing a ball, or playing simple card, and board games...

    I most certainly was... a 'sore-looser'... we can get into theories of defense mechanisms gone wrong and related coping aspects at another time...

    Just as I've illustrated my mostly now lessened displeasure, and query into any associated logic of sports all around... I wonder now,while considering the value or point of the Olympics...or say the Super-bowl for that matter... How much of this sport engagement, and fanfare, remains little more than an unbroken tradition... a normative, and expected part of life...that apparently brings enough reward or promise of reward to keep it going strong?

    In some ways, I see little difference from sports and politics...at least in the commercial-media venues...

    What are your thoughts?

    Your 'serve',
    -Marka

    "all is fare in love and war" or is it?

    Philosophy of sport - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  2. #2

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    I've been in love with sports forever, and over the years I've done a little bit of everything, although currently I'm focusing most of my time on swim team in the hopes of getting a scholarship in the near future.

    For myself, the competition was almost addictive. Swim team, for me is particularly good fit, because it has both an individual aspect where you're constantly competing with yourself, trying to improve your personal times, as well as a team aspect where performing well helps the entire team improve. Also, speaking of the momentary investments, while its true that in almost every sport having better gear than the other guy can give you an edge, it's far less important in competitive swimming. The investment is nothing more than a sturdy pair of goggles (actually, I have about four..) and a suit. Everything else is just fluff. I've personally beaten other swimmers from the traditionally 'rich-kid' schools who have space age suits with nothing more than a stubborn work ethic and desire to compete.

    On top of the competition aspect, the camaraderie you develop (especially in swim team, where you train with the same people day after day at 5AM almost every day) is an amazing part of taking part in a sport. Sure, we're crazy, reckless, random people...but I guarantee you swim team people are some of the most fun people to be around on God's green earth.

    Although all sports have their occasional ugly side, in my eyes the benefits FAR outweigh the negatives. For now, I wouldn't give it up for the world.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan09 View Post
    "..."..."

    Although all sports have their occasional ugly side, in my eyes the benefits FAR outweigh the negatives. For now, I wouldn't give it up for the world.
    Thank you Dan09!

    I do hope you get your scholarship...I appreciate your insight too!

    Excellent point about competing with one's self too!

    I'm being enlightened by the 'art' and science of sports too! Perhaps my friend will talk about that here too...

    -Marka

  4. #4

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    I've always liked sports, especially as a kid. Growing up in the 50's and 60's meant that you had to entertain yourself. Sports and games were one such way. I was good at sports, but never great. I'm very competitive as I guess it's part of my nature. When I was in high school, my best friend was the starting linebacker for our high school football team. He and I lifted weights every other day.

    Later in life, I got involved with adult league softball. I also got my two sons playing with me. It was a wonderful bonding experience. For me, walking out onto the ball field on a hot evening, smelling the grass, the leather of the glove, knowing you were going to put yourself on the line, was the greatest thrill. It's about pushing the limits and seeing what you can do. I have an entire chapter dedicated to playing a baseball game in my novel. For some boys, it defines them, at least for a while.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogboy View Post
    I've always liked sports, "..."..."

    Later in life, I got involved with adult league softball. "..."..."
    Thank you dogboy...

    Softball and baseball was something I could grasp...though I was still quite lousy at it in school; I did do pretty well on a company formed team years later... I'd even learned how to pitch a pretty gnarly curve-ball! I have to admit though, the group I was with then was a far cry from the antics of the high-schoolers...I enjoyed the game...all that was required was that I try my best and have fun... I did both!

    I've seen good parents supporting and encouraging their kids in sport...I've also seen parents who made it a prison sentence of hard labor...and absolutely no room for error... Nothing fun, or properly educational about that...

    -Marka

  6. #6

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    I've been a long distance runner for thirty five years. I ran competitively with running clubs in the early nineteen eighties and clocked a 2:45 marathon in 1984..

    Going back earlier to 1979 and it was a completely different story. I had just lost my partner to suicide, my best friend was killed in a car accident, and another friend had killed herself because of a personal crisis. For myself, I was prone to depression and had survived a suicide attempt.

    At this time, I was an alcoholic, drinking a bottle of Southern Comfort every night just to escape the pain, suffering from severe depression, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and a fair amount of weed. There was also a constant risk of getting fired from my employment because I just didn't care about it and often came into work hangover from the night before.

    Eventually I sought out doctors to try and cope with it all. I didn't want to die, but I didn't want to live any longer feeling like this.

    I saw several doctors who I didn't feel were very helpful. I guess I was looking for a magic answer to end the pain and they didn't have it. I didn't want medication, I didn't want counselling, and I didn't know how to cope. One doctor got fed up and suggested I go out and exercise, which I thought was nonsense, but for some reason I gave it a try. I live a block away from the Rideau Canal where everyone goes biking, running or walking. I felt like a fool going out the first time running a few steps, huffing and puffing, and having to stop, but I was determined to keep it up. By the end of the first week I was able to run nearly four miles without stopping.

    Running saved my life during that period. It gave me strength and the courage to get off the alcohol, to grieve my losses, to find hope in my life instead of despair, to quit smoking, and to take pride in my work. Several years later, through hard work and determination, I crossed the finish line to my first marathon, placing fiftieth in a field of nearly eight thousand people.

    Crossing the finish line was an incredible achievement for me. It was at this point that I was able to put my past behind me and move forward. I grew up in a home where I was made to feel stupid and inferior. I was bullied, beat up and laughed at throughout school. I spent a lot of years doing menial work because I believed it was all I was capable of achieving. When I crossed the finish line at the marathon, it significantly changed how I felt about myself. I realized that I had done something a lot of people could not do. It sent a message to the people who were laughing at me when I started running, seeing it as some silly dream that wouldn't last more than a week before I caved in and started drinking again. After the marathon, it didn't matter what other people thought anymore; I wasn't doing it for them, I was doing it for me.

    I started feeling differently about myself. Running gave me the courage to think about new goals and to challenge myself in ways I never considered before.. Against the advice of family and friends, I gave up a good paying job with long term security and went back to school for social work. I wanted my life to be more meaningful than what I had lived up till then. My perspective was that if I could run a marathon then I can surely get through this. If I had not been a competitive runner, I would not have had the courage to go back to school, and I would not be doing the work today that I find so challenging, fulfilling and rewarding.

    Running gave me self-esteem, something I never had growing up with my father. It helped me overcome depression without the need for medication. It gave me the courage to challenge myself in new ways. And after what I lived through in the late seventies, I truly believe that running saved my life. For me, it was the beginning of a journey to discover who I was and what I was capable of.

    Whenever I'm at the starting line in a race, I look out at the thousands of competitors who all have their own goals and challenges. It's the stories that brought them there that are so compelling and inspiring. It's not always visible or apparent. I was in a race last summer where a young man ran the entire route holding a sign over his head which read ' I survived brain cancer.' I see war vets running on prostheses. I ran with a woman who was attacked along the canal and she took up running so she could run the race route where she was assaulted and reclaim her life and not live in fear. I see parents taking their kids out to run shorter races to install in them a healthier, more positive lifestyle than I started off with. These are the real heroes who don't get the recognition they deserve. These are the stories of human endurance that take place every day across the world. Unfortunately they don't get reported by the media because they aren't competing for medals, yet they are every bit as uplifting and inspirational as any Olympic event.
    Last edited by Starrunner; 09-Feb-2014 at 19:05.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by starrunner View Post
    "..."..."These are the real heroes who don't get the recognition they deserve. These are the stories of human endurance that take place every day across the world. Unfortunately they don't get reported by the media because they aren't competing for medals, yet they are every bit as uplifting and inspirational as any Olympic event.
    starrunner,

    Your experience is certainly no exception...you are the real hero!

    Not in any way discounting all the details between... what I am most appreciative out of your experience (besides you sharing it here with us)...is that you got yourself going, then went back to encourage and support others too!



    I shall also like to comment a note to others who may be in depression, that individual results may vary... though I certainly wouldn't discourage you from utilizing starrunner's methods either, as the depressed mind does not ally well with true potential, possibility, or good health-living choice and decision making. Don't just up and go off your meds or counseling...or abjectly refuse such for the future... *Disclaimer: Seek the advice of qualified professionals* Anecdotally, for me much like I understand from starrunner...shear- utter-absolute-determination (and perseverance) , in addition to which I eventually found competent services & the correct meds for a time...was what got me out of it too...


    Sports, it would seem...are much like the AB/DL category...there's as many variations of ways, purpose and context, symbolic and literal significance...

    -Marka

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by starrunner View Post
    I've been a long distance runner for thirty five years. I ran competitively with running clubs in the early nineteen eighties and clocked a 2:45 marathon in 1984..

    Going back earlier to 1979 and it was a completely different story. I had just lost my partner to suicide, my best friend was killed in a car accident, and another friend had killed herself because of a personal crisis. For myself, I was prone to depression and had survived a suicide attempt.

    At this time, I was an alcoholic, drinking a bottle of Southern Comfort every night just to escape the pain, suffering from severe depression, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and a fair amount of weed. There was also a constant risk of getting fired from my employment because I just didn't care about it and often came into work hangover from the night before.

    (snip)

    I wish the world could hear this story. It should make us all try a little harder. How amazing that focusing on one thing can be so life changing.

    I started riding my bike several years ago, after it looked like the doctors were going to be able to save my wife's foot. I did wound care for her foot for about six years before it finally healed. When I had my summers off from school, I would go out bike riding in the morning. It was so liberating, as it was a chance to clear my head. I had started to write my novel, and I would sometimes come up with ideas while riding.

    Bringing my speed up, riding the trail through the woods, the wind blowing through me, is still a thrill; liberating. I feel free when I'm riding, no cares or worries.

  9. #9

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    I find there is also a snobbery in sports.
    As a Freshman in high school I was 6'4 200 lbs. of solid muscle. The coach in the worst way wanted me to play football.
    I grew up on sailboats. At 12 I started to race with my father and grandfather. These were some of the best years of my life. I didn't play football for two reasons. First we raced all summer and well into September. I wasn't giving up a sport I loved and grew up with for a game I really didn't care for.
    Second I watched a lot of my class mates ending up on crutches with blown knees and sprained ankles etc. Training back then wasn't as good as it is today.
    The coach called sailboat racing " A Pussy sport". That was until I took him out rolled the boat up on it's side and flew across the water. After 2 1/2 hrs. of that he admitted he was wrong and wondered if there was some way to let me condition some of his players.
    Don't get me wrong. I think any sport is a good thing. The friendships I made when I raced are still strong today. And though I don't race anymore I still love to sail.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marka View Post
    How do they compare, and how do they differ (beyond death, no longer being an intended aspect of entertainment)...
    Interestingly enough death in gladatorial combat was rare. You had to invest a lot of time and money in turning a slave into a skilled gladiator. So their owners tended to not want their investments murdered after 30 seconds of swordplay. Fights usually went until one gladiator yielded to another- usually because of being disarmed or injured. The incentive to best your opponent wasn't because you'd be killed if you didn't, but because you would be either rewarded or whipped based on how well you performed and thusly how much your value to your master increased (or if you lost, decreased). Where deaths usually happened would be you kept losing, your master would sell you off to be killed in one of the more bloodbath-esque battles (think the chariot scene from Gladiator).

    There was a much more detailed post on Reddit in /r/BestOf sometime in the last week, but I can't find it now. But if anyone's curious and feels like doing some digging it was a great read.

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