Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Small Rant against Modern Sport

These thoughts have been stewing in my mind for a long while, and I finally decided to get them out there for someone else to read.  The catalyst was an article about how red wine may mask elevated testosterone levels.

It always makes me laugh when I read about anti-doping policies in sports. Why do people care so much? Someone always tells me that it is "for the children," who are apparently so hopelessly naive and gullible that they cannot help seeing Lance Armstrong (or whomever) somewhere on TV and thinking, "Cool! I want to live my life exactly like that guy! I wonder what kind of crap he stuffs his face with every day?  I want me some of that!"  If my kids turn out this dumb, then (in my opinion) they will be beyond help (from me or anyone else). Idiots will always do stupid stuff, and professional athletes will always do things to enhance their performance (duh!).  There is no way to change this, the world over.  Fighting the reality is wasting everybody's time (and changing nothing that matters: as is, we just award prizes and then snatch them back reactively when the "right" evidence appears, revealing that the stupid fans were worshipping the wrong sports idol, yet again).

Let the athletes be athletes. (Their risk, their reward. Do I really care how many gold medals somebody wins?  How many world-titles?  How does stripping some prizes away every so often for performance-enhancing behavior make my life better?)  Let the kids be kids.  Tell them what the athletes do, and let them see what happens. (The smart ones will probably realize that professional athletics is no way for most people to make a decent living.  This is one thing that seems to be true regardless of how anyone strives to enhance performance on the playing field.  On the other hand, when some kids want to make a trial of the athletic life, at least they will have the reality clear before they go out into it: they will know that they are responsible for the risks they take to get the rewards they want.  Don't forget to look at something besides steroids: e.g. concussions in football, knees in MMA, heart-attacks in marathoners.)

I want to kill the idea that sports are somehow inherently noble, that they necessarily make participants better people in every way.  Somebody can think this for himself, if he wants to, but forcing it on everybody else is just wrong.  Kids don't need the kind of fake "role-models" that professional athletes too often become.  That cute crush that your ten-year-old has on Lance Armstrong does not need to be saved.  It needs to be broken, shattered into a million tiny pieces and scattered to the four winds.  Lance is a person like any other person, not a "role-model" to be worshipped and imitated with sacred rituals (the sipping of the holy protein shake, the sleeping in the holy altitude chamber, and perhaps even the injecting of the forbidden holy needle into the most holy buttocks).

In general, people take sport way too seriously.  Read the words uttered by US federal representatives in hearings conducted over baseball, of all things--a bunch of dudes throwing a ball and hitting it with sticks--and weep.  Our government can't be bothered to balance its budget or ascertain whether the wars it keeps waging make any sense, at all, and yet it has time to make solemn pronouncements on the proper way to hit balls with sticks, an activity which apparently has grave moral consequences.  (Such stupid s***!  Heaven forbid the populace "lose faith" in their favorite pastime, in the congressmen's words.  We wouldn't want that, would we?  No.  Keep the idiots happy with their bread and circuses, even if the bread is sawdust purchased with the blood of future generations and the circuses a transparent farce from beginning to end.) 

1 comment:

  1. It occurs to me that I should probably be grateful that government often gets distracted from "serious" things (like coming up with some new program to bankrupt me, financially and morally) by stupid s*** like baseball. Maybe they should spend more time telling us how to play sports and less time telling us how to live in the real world, where their track record becomes worse and worse as they intervene more and more.