The Importance of Sports in a Post-Modern World

Wednesday, June 9, AD 2010

In a few days the FIFA World Cup, which is one of -if not the- premier sporting events in the world, begins so I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the good of sports for those who don’t play them.

In modern sports, sometimes it’s hard to see this good. In sports today, we have college football conferences raiding each other in pursuit of the all-mighty dollar, destroying the wonderful regional nature of the game. We have Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time divas, two games away from yet another title. As Henry Karlson pointed out in a post a while ago, sports stars often find themselves in a position of privilege-both in terms of financial wealth and in terms of our excusal of their poor behavior (though I would attribute this in large part not solely to sports but also to the cult of celebrity we have today, which is another post for another day). We even had a stampede in anticipation of the World Cup.

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4 Responses to The Importance of Sports in a Post-Modern World

  • See today’s Wall Street Journal review by John Heilpern of “Soccer and Philsosphy” edited by Ted Richards.

    Most of it flew right over my head.

    Sports and Theology: When my kids were playing, I’d pray that no one was hurt; that everyone played well; and that our team won. Now, it’s a Hail Mary for every pitch Marion Rivera throws. It usually works.

  • I’m reminded of that scene in American History X when a white supremacist and a black guy bond over basketball talk. They say Sunday mornings are the most segregated time of the week but I’d say that Sunday afternoons at football stadiums are some of the most integrated places in America.

    Having said that, international sporting events have also been responsible for some hostility, sometimes violence.

  • The slogan for the World Cup in the past used to be (loosely translated) the world united around a ball. Well, it at least gets them physically together in the same place, if not necessarily united.

    I do agree though, sports do have some salutary effects on communities and individuals. Particularly team sports which impart sense of belonging, cooperation, and putting the team’s interests ahead of one’s own (apparently, Maradona has not picked up on that last one).

  • Thank you for the fantastic post. Together with the world cup coming round you’re starting to find far better posts on sports around the globe. Continue the good work please. The world wide web needs it.