Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Leisure, sports.  ---  .This section is about sports.  Topics include:   ---  1/24/2006

Leisure, sports.  ---  "Kill the Guy with the Ball" is perhaps the original proto-sport, the first sport played by ancient humans.  ---  6/5/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  (1) I think it is good that in sports, after you make a good play, you are free to express yourself through dance or other physical movements.  (2) You are also free to show off your athletic ability by performing a gymnastic maneuver.  (3) You are also free to communicate with the audience of spectators by using semaphore signals or other gestural languages.  (4) In fact, I think the best things about sports are the above outbursts of personal creativity (for example, sack dances, touchdown celebrations, etc.).  What is seldom noticed by spectators is the great degree that sport rulers (ex. coaches, commissioners, owners) go to set up social norms and legal sanctions to discourage and prevent such free expressions.  And that is a shame.  The same thing happens in school.  The same thing happens in workplace.  It stunts people.  It is unhealthy.  ---  1/9/2002

Leisure, sports.  ---  (1) Individual sports versus team sports.  Individual sports are better than team sports.  (2) Indoor sports versus outdoor sports.  Outdoor sports are better than indoor sports.  (3) Outdoor nature sports versus outdoor field sports.  Nature sports are better than field sports.  (4) Individual, outdoor, nature sports are cool.  For example, climbing and surfing.  ---  9/12/2005

Leisure, sports.  ---  (1) Sports is about physical movement.  Spectators are not involved in sports.  Spectators are involved in sitting on their asses.  (2) Competition is not the distinguishing feature of sports.  Many areas of life are competitive, such as business and school.  The distinguishing feature of sports is physical activity.  ---  7/4/1999

Leisure, sports.  ---  Arguments contra sports.  Criticism of traditional American team sports (football, basketball, baseball).  (1) The macho attitude.  Over aggressiveness.  Testosterone poisoning.  (2) The mindless "do anything for the team" attitude.  (3) The mindless "do anything the coach says" attitude.  (4) The over-emphasis on the physical and under-emphasis on the mental and intellect.  (5) The narrowness of the sports world.  (6) The obsessiveness of fans.  (7) Sports as a model of society which pre-teens benefit from, but which adults never outgrow.  (8) The uselessness.  You win but you do not accomplish anything.  (9) The win-lose aspect.  Zero sum game.  Overly competitive.  I must destroy my opponent, instead of working with him/her to improve the world.  (10) Too many people spend entirely too much time and money on basically entertainment or jollies.  (11) It is an obsession with youth.  ---  4/7/1998

Leisure, sports.  ---  Arguments for sports.  (1) Physical health.  (2) Team work.  (3) Dedication on a goal to be the best.  Focus and work.  (4) A useful model of society to socialize youth.  ---  4/7/1998

Leisure, sports.  ---  Contra sports.  (1) Injuries that are often permanent.  (2) Sports are a waste of time and money for the viewers and players because they accomplish nothing.  (3) Sports draws attention away from education and gaining knowledge to solve real problems.  (4) Sports are mindless and brain dead.  ---  12/26/1997

Leisure, sports.  ---  Critique of sports.  The mindless competition inculcated in sports is used later to help create mindless workers in the workplace and mindless killers in the military.  ---  1/1/2006

Leisure, sports.  ---  Definitions of sports: Sports as playful, non-utilitarian, physical activity.  ---  6/4/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  Drugs and sports.  Steroids.  Amphetamines.  Blood doping.  In horse racing.  In baseball.  In rock climbing.  In any sport.  Drug abuse reveals the weakness of sports in general as mindless physical performances.  ---  7/30/2005

Leisure, sports.  ---  Extreme sports like surfing and rock climbing are better than traditional team sports like football and baseball, however, sports in general tend to be mindless, frivolous, trivial and a waste of leisure time and energy.  ---  5/12/2005

Leisure, sports.  ---  Extreme sports vs. traditional team sports.  (1) Extreme sports typically have active participants.  Traditional team sports typically have passive spectators.  One could argue that extreme sports produce "doers" and traditional sports produce "watchers".  (2) Extreme sports have independent, individual participants.  Team sports have a "team" following a "coach".  Once could argue that extreme sports produce independent thinkers and team sports produce followers.  ---  11/15/2003

Leisure, sports.  ---  Football should be played under the sky and on grass, not under a dome and on Astroturf.  It should be snowing and muddy, not sunshine and 70 degrees.  ---  1/1/2002

Leisure, sports.  ---  Hand-eye coordination, types of.  (1)(A) Touch, grab or push a stationary object.  (B) Touch, grab or push a moving object.  (2)(A) Throw or hit a stationary object.  (B) Throw or hit a moving object.  ---  12/30/2001

Leisure, sports.  ---  In defense of spectator sports.  Those who can play, play, and those who can't play, watch.  For example, watching dance and watching sports are very similar.  As a spectator, one can, to some extent, feel the physical motion of the dancer or athlete in one's own body, just by watching the dancer or athlete.  And feeling physical motion in the body is to develop kinesthetic knowledge.  Howard Gardener, the Harvard psychologist, posits kinesthetic intelligence as one of the eight types of human intelligence.  ---  6/4/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  In defense of sports.  Sports helps us "get in touch" with the body.  To be aware of your body, and to know how to use your body, is a step in the right direction.  Sports helps you develop this type of body knowledge.  Athletes have this type of knowledge.  But many people lose awareness of their bodies, just like they lose awareness of their inner self (psychological self), just like they lose awareness of other people, and just like they lose awareness of the natural environment and the world at large.  So in this point of view, sports is an important step in regaining awareness.  After one regains awareness of the body, the next step is to regain awareness of the inner self, other people, the natural environment and the world at large.  One must make the time; one must reach out; one must make an effort; one must actively focus on it.  What does the phrase "to get in touch with" mean?  It is an important mental metaphor.  It means (1) Total awareness.  (2) Total knowledge.  (3) Total responsiveness.  ---  6/4/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  Kinesthetics.  Two types of kinesthetic experience.  PART ONE.  Kinesthetics related to spatial dimensions.  (1) Feeling your body move while you are standing in one place (ex. table tennis).  (2) Feeling your body move on a plane (ex. field sports).  (3) Feeling your body move in three dimensions (ex. sports like skiing and surfing).     PART TWO. Kinesthetics related to gravity.  (1) Feeling your body move against resistance, such as the resistance of gravity, doing work (ex. when you run down a field in a zig-zag pattern you working against gravity and you are also pulling g's just like a race car driver in a turn, except to a lesser degree).  (2) Feeling the sensation of gravity as your body moves in space, due both to your inner ear's sense of balance and also due to your body's nerves sensing fluid pressure changes when you move in space with respect to gravity (ex. even when your body is lying at rest, you can feel fluid pressure changes if your body tilts to one side).  ---  1/1/2001

Leisure, sports.  ---  Leisure activities are changing with the rise of extreme sports like bungee jumping, paragliding, rockclimbing and mountain biking.  Individual active sports are growing over mass spectator sports.  ---  3/11/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  Origin of sports is in the hunting activities of our ancestors.  To this degree sports may be instinctual.  The ball was originally a small animal.  We ran in pursuit of it with clubs, rocks, and spears.  Sports like baseball, cricket, hockey and golf involve clubbing the animal.  In sports like football, basketball and soccer the rock or spear is replaced with a ball and the animal replaced with a target or goal zone.  Capture the flag is a raiding game.  Male teens like sports possibly out of instinct.  This may explain the enduring popularity of sports.  ---  7/11/1998

Leisure, sports.  ---  Professional, college, and high school sports (baseball, basketball, football, hockey).  How much money is spent on it?  How many watch it?  How does it shape our values (esp. kids)?  How much media coverage does it get?  Same questions for Hollywood and the entertainment industry.  ---  03/20/1993

Leisure, sports.  ---  Shouldn't the javelin-throw measure accuracy as well as distance, much like archery does?  I mean, lets be practical, there is no use missing your victim.  ---  5/10/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  Spectator sports successfully occupy the time of people who cannot think of anything better to do. Sports pacify people.  Sports control people.  Sports disempower people.  ---  10/31/1999

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sport categorized by environment.  (1) Natural environments: hiking, climbing.  (2) Artificial environments: stadium sports, racquet court sports.  ---  8/30/2001

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sport goes bad when it veers toward myth building, regimentation and anti-intellectualism.  It is easy to see why the Nazi's placed an great emphasis on sport.  Sport is closer to fascism than democracy.  ---  11/12/2005

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports and violence.  Sports provide emotional catharsis for players and crowds that would otherwise only be let out in warfare.  Does sports encourage violence, or does sports reduce violence by providing an outlet for aggressive instincts?  ---  02/28/1998

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports as action.     PART ONE.  To discuss sports as action, it helps to review a few ideas.  One common way to divide up life is into work and leisure.  (1) There are at least three ways to define work and leisure: (A) Work as being useful.  Leisure as being useless.  (B) Work as being unenjoyable.  Leisure as being enjoyable.  (C) Work as getting paid.  Leisure as not getting paid.  (2) Both work and leisure can be primarily mental (ex. accounting is a mental work activity and chess is a mental leisure activity) or primarily physical (ex. digging ditches is a physical work activity and sledding is a physical leisure activity.  (3) The point being that (in the metaphysical realm) people often think that physical work and physical leisure is somehow more authentic, more genuine and more real than their mental counterparts.  (4) In addition, (in the epistemological realm) physical experiential knowledge is often viewed as more truthful than mental imaginative knowledge.  (5) In addition, (in the ethical realm) the physical is often viewed as better than the mental.  The physical is viewed as good and right by many people.     PART TWO.  Sports is an example of the bias toward action.  (1) There is an anti-intellectualism that exists in at least two basic forms.  The first is a bias against reason in favor of activity.  The second is a bias against reason in favor of blind faith.  Between the two of these biases it is easy to see how it can occur that people sometimes view thinking for oneself as useless and they sometimes view thinking for oneself as dangerous.  (2) There are several other reasons why some people are opposed to thinking.  (A) Some people dislike thinking because thinking is work.  These people prefer a lazy hedonism.  (B) Some people dislike thinking because they are out of practice.  Their thinking skills are rusty.  For these people, thinking is like using a rusty pair of scissors: slow, unproductive and frustrating.  (C) Some people dislike thinking because they don't know how to think.  These people never developed thinking skills.     PART THREE.  The popularity of sports falls into a larger view which holds that it is better to go out and do something than to just sit around thinking.  This view holds that sitting around imagining or pretending to do something is somehow less than optimal.  There are many terms and phrases that allude to this idea.  (1) Action terms: activity, action, movement, motion, body, doing, practice, experience.  (2) Action phrases: Do it yourself (DIY).  Been there, done that.  Living it but not loving it.  Man of action.  Getting things done.  Taking care of business.  See for yourself.  Just don't sit there, do something.  (3) Passive terms: pretending, imagining, dreaming.  (4) Passive phrases: Armchair quarterback.  Castles made of sand.  Walter Mitty.     PART FOUR.  Many people prefer "action without thought" to "thought without action".  (1) Physical activity is viewed as healthier (both physically healthier and psychologically healthier) than physical inactivity.  (2) Most people don't like sitting around thinking.  It is more fun to be physically active.  (3) Most people feel it is more useful to be physically active than physically inactive.  (4) Doing absolutely nothing is also a big past time.  Couch potatoes.     PART FIVE.  The ideal is body and mind working together at peak performance in creative mode.  ---  6/10/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports as contest and competition.  Sports as conflict and fighting.  ---  4/15/2002

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports as religion and myth.  The players are worshipped like Greek gods.  The press builds up the players as mythic super-heroes.  We idolize the players.  ---  7/21/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports is about physicality.  Physicality is about the body and the physical world.  And that is about sensation.  So the athletes and the poets are not that far apart.  ---  1/1/2001

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports is an opiate of the masses.  Religion is also an opiate of the masses.  Doubly worse is when they make sports a religion, and they make religion a sport.  ---  4/30/2005

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports is essentially idiocy.  Sports values fun over truth and justice.  Sports are fun, lucrative, and stupid.  Sports are a waste of time.  ---  6/22/2006

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports like football and hockey are about enduring pain and inflicting pain while trying to perform a series of complex, intricate mental and physical tasks.  Thus, sports are a mirror of the pathological American workplace.  ---  1/1/2002

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports.  Participate vs. spectate.  Indoor vs. outdoor.  Ball sports (base, basket, foot, golf, soccer).  Field sports.  Water sports. (swimming, surfing, scuba, skate), fishing (salt, fresh), boating (sail, power).  Air sports (planes, parachute).  Winter sports (skate, ski).  Racing sports: car (road, oval, drag, smashup), animals (horse, dog).  Track and field.  Outdoor.  Hike, camp, backpack = hike + camp.  Climbing.  Hunting (bow, gun, by quarry).  ---  12/30/1992

Leisure, sports.  ---  Sports.  There is an over emphasis on sports in American society today.  Americans today spend too much time and money on sports, at the expense of reason and problem solving.  ---  9/10/2004

Leisure, sports.  ---  Team sports = tribalism.  Pro: camaraderie.  Contra: Us vs. them mentality.  Violent sports = tribal violence = warfare.  ---  4/15/2002

Leisure, sports.  ---  The negative side of sports.  Doing something just because the coach tells you to.  Doing something just because the rest of the team is doing it.  Unthinking, unquestioning, blind belief and obedience.  ---  10/9/2003

Leisure, sports.  ---  The problem with all competitive sports, be they extreme or traditional, is that sports are inconsequential, meaningless, mindless.  It does not matter who wins or loses.  Its merely a money making scheme.  Its merely a way to promote blind obedience and mindless competition in youth.  Its merely an opiate for the masses.  It does not accomplish anything productive or meaningful.  It promotes violence (ex. boxing).  Team sports promote a pathological group think state of mind.  ---  2/1/2005

Leisure, sports.  ---  Two types of sports:  (1) Non-traditional sports (ex. extreme sports).  (A) Creative.  (B) Individual.  Competing with self.  Less team focused.  (C) Cooperative.  Even pure cooperation like, for example, in hackey sack.  (D) Less rules.  Less structured.  More freedom.  (E) Less rigid roles.     (2) Traditional team sports.  (A) Less creative.  (B) Team focused.  Opposing teams like opposing military armies.  (C) Highly competitive.  Almost warlike.  Individual against individual.  Team against team.  Sometimes pure destructive conflict like, for example, in boxing.  (D) Many rules.  More structured.  Less freedom.  (E) Many rigid roles.  (3) I prefer the former to the latter.  ---  6/4/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  Two types of sports.  (1) Repetitive, non-creative movement in a controlled, non-varying environment.  For example, baseball.  (2) Non-repetitive, creative movement in an uncontrolled, varying environment (ex. rock climbing).  (3) The former is traditional sports, the latter is extreme sports.  I think the latter is better.  ---  6/10/2000

Leisure, sports.  ---  What many people who watch baseball and football may not realize is that a large part of what they enjoy in sports is the simple act of being outside (or watching people be outside, when watching sports indoors on television).  Sun, clouds, wind and grass is where its at.  Astroturf and indoor stadiums is not where its at.  ---  9/14/2003

Leisure, sports.  ---  Why I do not like sports.  Because I do not like watching men.  If they had naked supermodels dunking a ball through a hoop then I would watch that.  ---  10/22/1998

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.