Why Do We Care So Deeply About Sports?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MICHAELSD, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #1
    This thread is not bound to have many fans since sports are so widely-coveted by its own deep fanatics, but I believe we are overdue for an introspection of why we as a people are so captivated by the many sports we do. My own personal belief about why we are so fanatical about sport is that since it's part of an integral business by networks and corporations, the at-times mindless garble that a sport event can devolve to is pushed upon the masses as advertisement filler frankly. They're in the business of brainwashing as many people as possible for the sake of advertising dollars along with merchandising and ticketing revenue... A point that is undebateble.

    I have noticed that the people most devoted to their sport have learned their love of a team or fascination with the sport from a perhaps overly-fanatical influence such as a parent; in casual observations if a person does not have a sport ingrained in their brain when they are a child then they are far less likely to actually care about a sport later on in life in more than passing glances. I find it interesting enough to loosely follow a team's score or ranking but to be honest that is only due to being able to use it as a topic of conversation. Personally, I do not enjoy any sports enough to sit down and watch more than a few minutes of a game on TV and when going to see a professional sporting event live I think the spectacle of the stadium is more intriguing than the sport itself. Although I understand the mechanics of most sports to a comfortable level, I simply do not find there to be enough captivating action to be happening for them to be worth watching especially in a stadium.

    People who deeply enjoy sports enjoy fanaticism more than the sport itself, in my humble opinion. Fanaticism of a team, of a player, of a stadium. Fanaticism of an empire.
     
  2. A.Goldberg, Nov 2, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015

    A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #2
    I don't think it's quite as simple as corporate brainwashing by networks and teams looking to make money. Sure, sports are a significant part of our culture, but the reason (some) sports are so lucrative is because of the profound internest. In the cases of Colleges/Universities, sports teams bring in a lot of money to schools and created educational opportunities for people who throughout history may not have had the opportunity access higher education (due to finances, race, etc). Healthcare is something people value, yet the insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical models/industries (in America anyways) are designed for profit. That doesn't mean the positive regard of the concept of healthcare is brainwashed upon us or inherently bad.

    I perceive the western world's love of sports, not so much fanaticism (implying a blind, obsessive passion)- which implies negativity, rather healthy camaraderie, pride, community, etc- none of which are really bad things. Humans are social beings who thrive off of such concepts and this is an avenue to fulfill it. There are some examples of craziness (violence, murders, riots, etc), but I think that reflects more on the individuals than the concept as sports as a whole.

    I think a lot of people genuinely do enjoy sports and for some watching extension of playing them, and fulfills or supplements an interest that may not be otherwise feasible. Sport spectating is a form of entertainment that have existed long before professional sports teams, television, multimillion dollar contracts, etc. I don't see an interest in sports inherently unhealthy or detrimental (unless you're applying it to things like gambling addictions, but that's a separate issue in itself).

    A lot of parents encourage their children to play sports because of the numerous health and social benefits. I think it's natural for someone who has not been exposed to something early in life (both in terms of family admiration and individual participation) to be less likely to engage in it later in life. Your up brining has a substantial influence on your personality. For example, if you grew up with parents who were musically talented and who actively preformed, you're far more likely to play an instrument yourself. Parents will naturally teach their skills, interests, ideologies, etc to children.

    I know a lot of sports "fans" who are not athletic in the slightest. I know I know a lot of very athletic people who have little interest in sports. I grew up playing sports year around and was a very accomplished athlete up through college, yet I had and have very little interest in spectating. I agree there is a difference between watching sports on TV and watching them live, but I think a big part of that again is the ambiance. I personally would rather play than watch.

    Are there times when sports become too important, absolutely. One example would be football injuries in young adults as an overlooked problem. I don't think these problems cannot be reconciled though.

    ----------
    In addition-

    I sense that you (the OP) may sense some rejection due to your lack of interest in sports, whether just be spectating or both spectating and participation. It's nothing to be self conscious about. Everyone has different pastimes they enjoy. For a lot of people, sports are a common thread that's easy to make conversation about. There's other common factors out there.
     
  3. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #3
    Playing and watching sports are absolutely both very different -- I should emphasize this thread is meant to cover professional sports and corporations, not playing them on a much smaller scale. There are plentiful benefits to playing sports, although I have witnessed some parents push their kids to become so intertwined in playing a sport at a non-professional level that it affects their school work; I have seen parents put their child's sport far above all else.

    I may have a bit of disdain for professional sporting events mostly due to my own personal lack of enjoyment of them, but I am curious to encourage fans that bleed blue, or whatever their team's colors are, to analyze their own enjoyment of a sport and exactly what makes them genuinely enjoy it besides the social factor that exists which I think is one of the most powerful driving forces.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #4
    I don't care deeply about sports.

    I mean I enjoy watching football and baseball, but I draw a line in that I won't get too worked up over it.

    For me its hard to really get worked up over about a bunch of millionares who whine and cry at a moments notice. I recall a basketball player whining about how he's insulted by a contract offer and how he has to put food on the table for his family. That sort of thing galls me.

    Then there's the mentality of tax payers (me) expected to pay for new stadiums or else the team will move out. Since they're making billions let them build their own stadiums. As it stands now, I cannot afford to take my family to a redsox game without dropping close to 300 bucks.
     
  5. Savor Suspended

    Savor

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    #5
    Been an LA Clippers fan since 1992 when Doc Rivers was still a player for them. Been a horse racing fanatic since 1996. I also watch a little NFL, boxing, and MMA. And I was never athletic. I just enjoy watching it.

    One of my friends isn't into sports. He is into military and espionage. He thinks sports is for wussies. Small fry. He rather watch entire nations than backup a silly professional team with very little impact in world history and culture.

    I look at sports like a movie. Another form of entertainment no different than reading books, watching movies/TV shows, and gaming.
     
  6. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #6
    I play softball in the summer and basketball in the winter but I couldn't sit through a pro baseball or basketball game sober
     
  7. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    #7
    I think you should consider some enjoy watching professional or collegiate sports because they once played that same sport on a high level or still play it on a recreational level. Part of their love for the sport is because they appreciate the talent and skill involved in being good at it.
     
  8. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #8
    I used to be really in to sports as a kid-teen. Now, "ehh".
     
  9. Savor Suspended

    Savor

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    #9
    What is great about following your favorite sports teams or athletes is you never know if you will witness the greatest game or match of your life. We always have something to look forward to. I didn't expect a Triple Crown winner this year and American Pharoah proved to me he could be a once-in-a-lifetime racehorse. How is it any different than following your favorite brand and their new announcements? Or watching what may happen next in your favorite TV show? I was into wrestling way back in 1989-1992. It is like porn. It isn't real but you still feel something. I don't consider it a real sport but it is still entertainment nonetheless just like other real sports. It is cool if you are NOT into sports. Billions don't play video game, don't use Facebook, and aren't into gadgets to debate about stupid "smartphones" all day. But sports is still another entertainment form that shouldn't be criticized. This isn't war where people die fighting for a greater cause. People just like to be entertained in whatever way possible.
     
  10. MICHAELSD, Nov 4, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015

    MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #10
    I could argue that announcements by a brand are typically more significant and impactful than a sporting event, Super Bowl omitted, or that a TV series can be infinitely more substantial and thought-provoking. But yes, when it comes down to it people watch sports because they can turn off their brains and be entertained by it.
     
  11. Tymmz macrumors 65816

    Tymmz

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  12. Savor Suspended

    Savor

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    #12
    Why do people care to watch superhero movies, Star Wars, or whatever popular movie franchise out there? Entertainment value to watch a story unfold and to root for our heroes and boo the antagonist to the story. Why are their fanboys and fangirls for different likes video game consoles and phones? Sports is the same way for me. Another form of entertainment to make billions in revenue. Religion makes billions too, right? You find the good guys and bad guys of the story and you root for whoever you want to see win.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Scepticalscribe, Nov 4, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #13
    Oh, a number of reasons come to mind.

    The first and obvious one is that they offer a form of identity which is separate from more usual forms of identity, such as ethnic, national, religious, regional identities - although a sporting team can indeed draw its roots from such sources, and many do.

    This means that individuals can define themselves part of a 'community' who may share a passion for a particular sport, especially of it is a team sport, allowing them to passionately identify with a team.

    Historically, in the classical (western) world you had the encouragement of organised athletic competition expressed through the means of organised games - which was expressed as the old (Greek) idea of fostering a healthy mind in a healthy body, and seeing this as an expression of the idea of 'perfection' in men (because for a long time, sports were seen as an expression of what was best in the male, and a male activity; most societies didn't much encourage female participation in sporting activities.)

    However, traditionally, many societies regarded organised games as a sort of apprenticeship - or training - for war, and many of what are now regarded as 'sports' had their origins in acquiring and mastering skills required on the field of battle.

    Even now, some sporting competitions - especially those between nations which have had a history of military conflict - have been viewed in terms of - almost - as something akin to a proxy war.

    They - the provision of spectacular sporting events - were often also seen as a means of channelling the emotions of, while distracting and entertaining the public, - distracting them from thinking about unwelcome stuff, such as unfairness and politics. This is, in essence, a version of the old 'bread and circuses' idea popular in some autocracies, whereby as long as the rulers feed, house and entertain their people, they are unlikely to be violently overthrown, unless something goes catastrophically wrong.

    More recently, there is the fact that sports offer a safe means of channeling young male energy and aggression, as in the idea that is is "better for them to play football than to join gangs". (Which is why safe public spaces where kids can play are of huge importance in social policy, - especially in disadvantaged areas, and determining - and setting limits on - the uses of, and setting further limits on the profitability of - public spaces, both urban and rural, is of such vital importance in public policy).

    Of even greater importance, this has also meant that sports are one of the few means of social mobility left for talented youngsters from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds. If you are poor, and a talented boxer, or footballer, this can offer you a means of getting on in life, when the more usual ladders (education and so on) are denied you.

    Indeed, even for those who are not disadvantaged, or from a poor background, you will have found that sporting prowess and ability can confer enormous social credibility and popularity at, say, school.

    And sometimes, even in what may seem to be non-political settings, people can express a preference for a political ideal through support of a particular sporting team, which was a safe way of expressing dissent in a distinctly non-political setting (but one which carried profoundly political overtones).

    The history of the old eastern Europe is replete with dozens of such examples. And not just that: Remember the (US) 'Dream Team' in basketball? And how they lost to the Soviets in the Olympics of 1988?

    And not just eastern Europe. Shouting for - or supporting - Barcelona during the Franco era in Spain (the Generalissimo supported - quite blatantly and flagrantly - Real Madrid) could be seen - but hardly proven as - a political act. The Generalissimo believed in a centralised state; to this day, Barcelona - and its surrounding region - believes anything but. This rivalry goes back to the time of the Spanish Civil War.

    Anyone who has read (say, Simon Kuper's excellent book 'Football Against the Enemy') cannot ignore the astounding chapter on the subterranean conflict - fought on the football field - between what was then (West) Germany and the Netherlands (colloquially known as Holland) between 1974 and 1988. And so on.
     
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #14
    And I'll not deny that there is a visceral physical thrill to seeing an individual - or a ten of individuals playing together - push themselves and carry out an activity with an acutely exquisite skill that approaches perfection, or a pinnacle of the human condition expressed physically.
     

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