The Human Inclination Toward Sports
Humans’ universal engrossment with sports for millennia has never been explained logically. The enormity of the sporting industry is a measure of this endless human fascination. For instance, a few people pass a ball to each other in a WorldCom, and the entire world pauses to watch the event with undivided attention. Likewise, two well-trained athletes get into a ring and hit each other as hard as they can until one or the other falls. Those who are good at it gain sudden fame and fortune, and some of them enjoy lasting universal admiration, such as Mohammad Ali.
Our reasoning ability should enable us to explain at least the humans’ most intense interests, such as sports. However, we are yet to find an explanation as to why this paragon of intelligence and purposeful being engages in frivolous acts of sports. To be sure, athletic activities help people to keep in shape but does watching athletic contests on television, or sports arena do the same? When we cannot explain human phenomena through logic, maybe examining it through the function of instincts could provide the answer, as it seems to be the case here.
A sober observation reveals that all sports share three factors without any exception. They are aiming, speed, and power that comes in the way of brute force, and endurance. For example, starting with ball games such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, ping-pong, soccer, baseball, and football, aiming is an essential factor in scoring and winning the contest. Speed is also significantly important in all of these sports, as contestants have only split seconds to implement what is required of them to score points and to win that apply to all sports. For instance, in boxing, wrestling, and even weight lifting mastering these skills, is essential for having any chance at all to win the contest. If you carefully think through each of the sports, you will realize that this holds for all of them.
Interestingly, hunting and fighting wars the way the ancient humans fought required precisely the same set of skills. For a very long period of human existence, male humans hunted for food and fought endless wars. Thus, hunting and warring have become an instinct for men. (I have not included this as one of the instincts in the list of human instincts, because it is gender exclusive.) In recent centuries we no longer hunt for our food, nor fight wars in the old ways. However, because by nature, instincts do not wither away or disappear, these instinctual desires and the relevant skills find expression in varying sports and please this male hunting and warring instinct. It is for this reason that so many male humans so readily become sports fanatics at the dismay of the women in their lives.
Rights © Mark Abraham