Not so trivial

An Opinion About Why Sports Matter


Sport: the use of physical exertion, fine skill and intellect in which an individual, either on their own or as part of team uses to complete a set task in competition. Everyone in our society knows what sports are, so much so that this definition is almost necessary. Whether playing, spectating religiously, or simply don’t take part in them at all, it’s irrefutable that sports make up a large portion of human life: either for those who play, or simply in the business and economy they bring. But why are sports so intertwined with and important in our society? And do they matter? The answer is yes, indeed they do, and here’s why:

First and foremost, human kind is competitive by nature. In fact, most species that are alive today are; either in terms of selective reproduction, or in terms of competition for limited habitat and resources. The difference between us, and the apes so to speak, is that we’ve figured out ways (in modern society) to sort of beat this competition. We live in houses, raise families, and get jobs which pay for food; so there is really no need for us to fight to the last breath anymore over who gets a bigger share of the watering hole, prey, or camp. We are, however, still an aggressive species by nature. Which you see all the time in war and violent crime. For this reason, I would be one to argue that competitive sport is one way we attempt to integrate our aggressive nature into a not so aggressive society. There are tons of violence (but still regulated sports) that serve as a means to work off some aggression such as hockey, football, rugby, lacrosse, MMA and boxing; in these settings physically aggressive urges are safe and focused. Everybody knows that exercise is a great way to relieve anger, stress, sadness, or pretty well any negative emotion. If one can get out of a negative mind set by taking out their angst on a sandbag, or a barbell, than that is definitely productive to society (who knows where that negative energy would go otherwise). 

Which leads me to my second argument: in a culture where diabetes and obesity is constantly on the rise, the glamorization of sport, and its athletes serves as an important avenue to encourage exercise and healthy habits in people of all ages. Organized sport for an adolescent is especially important, it teaches the joy of winning, and how to deal with loss with dignity and grace. Alongside, it also teaches the kids about teamwork and cooperation, and how to set and accomplish goals (physical or otherwise). The physical part is especially important now, as for a young man or woman, to see their favourite athlete on television can easily give them the drive or motivation they need to stay fit, or push themselves to their very limits.  

My third argument is that sport has been a part of our culture for a very long time, as far back as civilized society can be dated really. The Olympics, which are still common practice today, originated in ancient Greece. There is a very good reason for this, which the Greeks recognized. For the Greeks, sport and competition was almost a form of art. Indeed it still is today as dance, and figure skating are both extremely creative and positive expressions of human emotion. Sport promotes a healthy, active mind, and is proven to increase cognition. Socrates, the Greek philosopher, said something along the lines of a perfect society having its most important citizens educated equally in both gymnastics (sport and competition) and music (which was for them, the name of fine arts and mathematics). If sport has been in society, and recognized for its significance