Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
I like to swim (in private), and I have been known to run. I even like to kick and throw a ball around with friends or children for fun, for leisurely recreation. But as soon as anyone proposes re-shaping those simple pleasures into organized events featuring opposing teams that compete against each other according to rules for the acquisition of points in order to defeat the ‘others,’ then they lose me and I walk away. That framework beautifully encapsulates the (almost criminal) immorality of sports and explains why sports are such a grossly inappropriate model of human relationships. Sporting competition is not a model of, or proxy for peaceful social competition. I reject the position that sports teach important social lessons. Athletes’ lives, athletes’ fine-toned bodies and athletes’ achievements or skill do not impress me. Sports do not help develop admirable character in a person. So, there is no appropriate place for organized sports in schools or society at large, and advocacy of and support for organized sports approach the boundaries of criminality - and maybe even terrorism - in my idiosyncratic opinion.
We get our unavoidable daily dose of sporting silliness through all the media. But in an Olympic year it is important to juxtapose a different perspective in the face of the pathological excitement and publicity we are about to be flooded with. The Olympics are a social pathology.
But I could be wrong.
The Olympics that would interest me would be the Drug Olympics, where everyone is doped up six ways form Sunday. Because I would like to see a man lift 1,000-kg, or run 100-meters in five seconds, or jump six meters straight in the air just to see the limits of our physical endurance.
Published on Sunday, July 20, 2008 as “Social competition or pathology?”
I don’t like organized, competitive team sports. It is because of forced, mandatory physical education during Middle School, I think. I often speak out against sports and more than once have I sent an anti-sports, and anti-Olympics letter to the paper. But that does not mean that I do not like physical acitivity, which is the point I wanted to make with this letter. I enjoy games for fun, and for me planned competition is not fun.