I have a confession, I am a bad Canadian: I don’t care if the Canucks win the Cup, I just want an end to the street closures in Vancouver down to facilitate mobs of people watching overpaid adult men playing children’s games on huge TV screens in downtown gathering places.
In this battle, I have always firmly been on the smock side looking with some dismay at the amount of money shoveled into sports at every level.
If even a portion of that largess was distributed into the arts, especially at the beginner and emerging levels, we would have a far more sophisticated culture; because the ability to create and produce art is only possible when all other needs are taken care of.
In the days when humans were sustenance hunter/gatherers, there was no time or even knowledge to make pottery, never mind decorate it. The creation of art requires not only leisure time, but labour specialization within the group and not only sharing the products of that labour, but having a surplus.
When a group is secure in their food, then time is freed up for invention, arts and science; resulting in developing more efficient and labour saving tools that ultimately leads to more time for other than sustenance pursuits.
Including, developing sports and games – which are essentially scaled down simulations of hunting and war, scaled down to teach child the skills and they’d need as adults – playing house, playing doctor and playing war – and to keep adult males occupied in times of peace and plenty.
I enjoyed playing sports when I was a child but have never really understood watching other people play. As an older but not quite teen, I was usually picked to umpire or referee rather than to be on either team.
I could get behind sports if it were a replacement for warfare, as I see no difference between winning being determined by slaughtering the opposing side versus scoring more on the other side.
Sports as a replacement for armies and warfare would have many social benefits. Nations would have to develop infrastructure and a healthy population to produce teams that have a chance to win.
Games played to settle disputes between nations would not result in destroyed cities and infrastructure, no loss of life, no famine, disease or rape camps.
Games for points and leagues could continue as exhibition wars, with only points and money at stake.
Plus, there would be huge money to be made on broadcasting rights and huge savings for not having to support massive military industries.
The military industry could be remade into industries developing more space exploration, undertake ocean exploration in earnest and renewable energy technology. What industry could do positively for civilization when directed at anything other than better ways to destroy each other is unlimited.
So, let’s re-image sports from being warfare practice into being action diplomacy, let sports be a wholesale replacement of war.