Wednesday, June 21, 2006

this is a country, not a competition

Sports, especially those involving balls, have always perplexed me. They typically consist of two groups of people in matching outfits chasing after a ball. Their purpose is not just to obtain the ball but to put it someplace special. Or in the case of baseball, they need to put themselves in some special place before the ball beats them to it. The group of people who achieves this purpose most often wins the game.

If we boil a sport down to this essence, it seems silly, right?

But we know what the true point of sports is ... to shout at people.

Ha ha. I kid.

The purpose of sports is ... well, I'm not up to task of articulating it. Obviously, I'm not much into 'em.

I played alot of soccer as a kid and that was fun because it involved smashing into people who had the ball. I wasn't trying to get the ball, just to get it away from from whoever had it; running at them full force seemed to work pretty well.

A few decades later, as an soccer-playing adult, I started to understand what it meant to be part of a team and how good it felt to clearly see the connections between me and the other people on the field. To work with them toward a common goal (or goals). To be a cog in a goal-scoring machine.

Unlike most teams, however, ours dissolved and reconfigured every Sunday. Our real aims were fun and exercise, not victory.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not putting down victory. Victory is good. Unless ...

Unless ...

Unless the real point of your efforts is something more important than where your balls are and how many you have there.


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