13 May 2008

Why Sports Matter So Much

I suspect that we obsess about sports for at least two reasons. One, during a game is one time where a guy can pull up a chair and ask "What is the score," and anyone can tell him. In love, relationships, politics, careers, parenting ... in all these arenas the score is always, at best, murky, and one hears only conflicting reports. Not so in sports. No one doubts that Cleveland beat Boston last night.

We focus on the sports heroes for a number of reasons but I wonder if that doesn't trace back to some evolutionary hijacking. Battle and the warriors who represent us have mattered for millennia. We've probably evolved to be acutely interested in how our warriors are doing and feeling. Sports have, of course, become the outlet for the impulse for war. We still pay close attention to the athletes because we're still interested in how the battle will turn out. Of course, what was vital to survival of the tribe or state in one period has become of no consequence in the next. If the Boston Celtics beat Cleveland, the Celtics don't get to take Cleveland's factories and women. There is no longer any consequence, but we still pay attention.


Gypsy at Heart said...

hmmm. Can't say much on this as I'm not very sports oriented, but burn and rapine and the Cleveland whatchimacalits? Interesting analogy.

cce said...

I'll add my own hmmm...because now I'm imagining the people of Boston defending their homes and their daughters, barring the doors against the Indians, who now wear baseball caps and carry big foam fingers and plastic beer mugs. I think we could take them. Bring it Cleveland.

Life Hiker said...

Sports matter even more to those who actually play them. I just returned home from my weekly golf league. Striking the golf ball well is not the same as striking another person dead (as in the old days), but it seems to me that the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat has been only moderated, not replaced by more humane sports.