Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
I cannot ignore Nathan Vandemark’s statement that “Promotion of sports for young people develops an active lifestyle” (“Role of sports in education,” July 3, 2011). I have written several anti-sports letters in the past that were printed in the Readers in Council. So when I learned of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s decision to vie once more for a Tokyo summer Olympic Games (for 2020) I thought I’d keep quiet. But Nathan Vandemark’s statement demonstrates how false thinking about sports is so embedded - like ticks and lice - that they need constant attention, like weeding a garden.
I like sports. I like to kick and throw a ball around. But as soon as you turn those activities into organized team events, where people play against one another according to rules for the purpose of acquiring points in order to defeat one’s opponents, then you lose me. Where is the fun in any of that?
Mandatory physical education at school is possibly the very worst idea in a long, sad history of bad schooling ideas because, contrary to what Vandemark says, what it does is produce people who hate sports with every fiber of their being - hate them because they were forced. Or, alternately, it trains us to crush opponents and then gloat over them. No socially redeeming virtues there.
When I hear phrases like “physical education” and “Olympics” I immediately think “stupid,” then “human rights crime.” Or, maybe it’s just me.