Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4 Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
Because the end of the century is upon us, people are trying to take stock of their lives by making lists. It is a strategy for finding meaning, drawing boundaries and focusing perspectives.
Time magazine is an excellent example. It is currently wrestling with a decision on the century’s most newsworthy person, and it has already issued editions devoted to such things as the century’s top businessmen, architects, military leaders, music and film artists, etc. Unsurprisingly, people want their list-making to include athletes as well. In The Japan Times, Jack Gallagher recently wrote on world sports awards of the century.
There is far too much hype about sports. Professional athletes are neither role models nor heroes, and the bare truth is that there is nothing about sports that is even remotely important. Sports are no more important than any other hobby or leisure time activity. Sports are games, and by definition are not serious. Professional athletes are well a ware of how fortunate they are to be able to make careers our of things like throwing or kicking a ball or running around a field in ridiculous short pants.
Those who would base their culture on sports or give undue high regard to sports and athletes - whether it is high school culture, university culture or popular culture at large - are debasing their culture and giving undue regard to nothing.
It seems to me that attempts to inject value into things by including them in a list are dubious sat best, and doing so with something as frivolous ass sports indicates a certain over indulgence.
Published on Wednesday, June 16, 1999 as “Frivolous lists about nothing."
It is not list-making that I am complaining about so much as making sports lists, stemming from my significant antipathy towards organized sports. I appreciate the making of lists as a strategy for imposing order and finding meaning. But sports are too much in addition to everything else.