Athleticism In Sports

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Nearly one hundred twelve million people watched the Super Bowl 50 (Emba). Six million six hundred thousand international tourists flocked to Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics (Reuters). Football fans travel across the continent to watch their team play in the Super Bowl. Countries spend billions of dollars hosting the Olympic Games. What is the driving force of this phenomenon? What is the appeal of paying to catch a glimpse at people running in circles, kicking balls, or hitting things with other things? Sports are more than just a game; they also transcend entertainment. The mainstream popularity of sports positions them as an integral part of our culture as allows it to be a showcase of our values and nature.

We indulge in sports because
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We do not only revere athlete's dedication; we aspire to possess the same level of devotion and to apply it in our own lives. In the late eighteen-hundreds, “American athleticism was about being stronger [and] clobbering the competition [...] British athleticism, on the other hand, was about playing games” (Alexander). Each system embodied essential values of sports and has been ingrained in our culture today. Contemporary sports exhibit a combination of both aspects as athletes strive to become the best through their joy in playing the game. We do not necessarily wish to be adept at playing the sport, but we all wish to be just as passionate, dedicated, and tenacious as the athletes we watch. Even with the possibility of imminent defeat, the University of Notre Dame’s football team “[is] never overwhelmed by any shadow of defeat as long as there is a…show more content…
Rick Reilly, a writer for ESPN, describes sports as “real” due to its “unscripted” nature that “cannot be faked” (Reilly). Often times, people use it as an outlet to express themselve in ways otherwise deemed unfit in modern society. As a result, many believe that violence is intrinsic to sports as it ascribes to innate human nature. Violence in sports such as tackle football and professional boxing creates some of the largest fanbases in the sport industry, filling up stadiums game after game, match after match. Boxing is the prime case of a sport that degrades the progress humanity has made from its nature. The end goal of boxing is hitting the opponent so forcefully and frequently that they fall unconscious. Princeton professor Joyce Carol Oates describes professional boxing as “the only major American sport whose primary, and often murderous, energies are not coyly defected by such artifacts as balls and pucks” and that it is “a stylized mimicry of a fight to the death” (Oates). Violence, especially in this capacity, is anachronic as humans need not to be prepared to physically fight for their lives. Having it at the forefront of the sport celebrates and places violence on a pedestal. In a world that is becoming increasingly violent, the last thing we need is further support of violence as the motivation for any act, sports or not. Of course, violence need not be entirely separate from sports. Many

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