Some time ago I wrote an article called “Are athletes dumber than the rest of people”. Yesterday, I woke up and I was checking my e-mail, when I stumbled upon this comment from a reader:
I definitely appreciate that athletes have a great deal of drive and a certain kind of discipline (although its difficult to imagine what sort of discipline includes the foolish antics performed by professional and subprofessional athletes.) But discipline and drive do not equal intelligence and imagination. Pesonally, my main contention is not with sports per se (for those of you who are athletes, “per se” means “by itself”.) What I find contemptible is the importance that people assign to sports and the ardour sports fans feel for their athlete heroes. Worship them all you like, but the fact remains that athletes contribute absolutely nothing of value to society.
Just a few comments about some specific points you presented:
“While you were hanging around with friends in order to kill some time, I was sprinting through my day, trying to finish every task on my busy schedule- school, workouts, lessons and games.”
Actually, while you were moving a chunk of iron up and down repeatedly, I was probably reading about science and philosophy, or reading about boolean logic or something you would no doubt find impenetrable.
“While you were sitting and playing video games, I was busting my ass off in the gym. I stayed with hours after every practice, working on my weaknesses!”
Perhaps. But who is to say that video games are a mindless exercise, and what makes exercise so cerebral? And since any given athlete’s main “weaknesses” probably include the three R’s, it’s not clear how spending hours in the gym qualifies as strengthening them.
“While you were wondering how to spend your leisure time, I spent hours reading about my idols, looking for the key for their success, and trying to use it in my own life.”
Everything about this statement only serves to confirm the stereotype that athletes are stupid. Nobody with any intelligence and imagination could possibly tolerate more than a few minutes of reading about people who throw balls and hit things for a living. None of them have contributed anything meaningful or valuable to society, so it is not clear in what sense they are successful. Only an idiot would waste hours of their life reading about such people.
“all I could think of, was basketball!”
Respecting your professors and your peers is an admirable character trait, but it hardly disproves that a person is stupid. Meanwhile, in being committed to good grades you are merely a statistical outlier. It was my unvarying experience during my college years that athletes cared very little about what they were learning.
That a person can be entertained for hours on end by kicking, throwing, catching and hitting a ball and, when they are done, listen to someone on the radio talking about people imposing upon a ball in the aforementioned ways, should be proof positive that they are slightly mentally retarded. Have you ever wondered how your dog can tolerate a life of such perfect inactivity? That’s because, for all his other virtues, his tiny brain capacity is tapped out by what few intellectual problems his sedentary life presents him. Similarly, the only reason a person could possibly find entertainment in watching other people play sports is if he is incapable of higher reasoning and totally devoid of imagination. Dogs and children play with balls for stimulation and satisfaction. Humans write essays, compose symphonies, construct skyscrapers, devise logical and mathematical systems, engineer airplanes, and program computers.
I could tell a lot of things to this person, but I don’t consider it is worthy to explain something to a person full of hatred. The only thing I could say is that obviously, while “I was working out and he was reading philosophy, he only turned the pages, but didn’t go behind the words!
I thought about the reproach “That there isn’t an athlete who gave something of value to our society”. Even though I consider this to be an absurd statement, I will skip giving examples and I will tell you what these words made me think…
Who and what defines if a person gave something worthy to our society or not? Is there a list with criteria, that every one of us should complete? If it is so, could somebody borrow me his list, so I can rewrite it down and start checking what I gave to society and what I stole from society?
Even though the question about the meaning of life is arguable, I see things like this…
Every person lives in his own world. A world, where he feels himself, where he feels satisfied with what he does and a place where he is in harmony with himself!
What differs us from each other is our own purpose… but as different as our purpose could be, it is what unites us. And what is the definition of purpose? Purpose is what we search our entire life. What lights the desire deep in our hearts. What, takes the pain away in moments of sorrow and what gives us happiness in moments of exhaustion. Purpose is what could help the disabled person, to walk, what gives the ill person strength to fight for his life and what puts back the smile on our faces when obstacles took it away! Purpose is our meaning… my meaning, your meaning…
A person once told me, that there isn’t anything that could be greater than seeing a person who “burns” in what he does… to see the passion, that helps the artist move the brush through the canvas, the determination that helps an athlete to reach the final; the desire, that every chef puts in the preparation of his meals…
If sport is what makes me happy. If sport is what makes me smile every day… if sport is what makes me give my all… if the court, the gym, the stadium are the places where I feel alive… were my heart starts beating fast and lights the passion, that gives meaning to my life… how could somebody tell me that I or other athletes that feel something like that don’t contribute anything of value to our society?
Isn’t exactly this what the world needs? People who follow their passion, people who “burn” doing what they love, people who inspire and motivate… people who are happy and content with what they are…
I think that this is the meaning of life… to love what you do… to be excited for the next day to come, so you could do what makes you feel complete. People who put their heart and passion in what they do, are those that motivate me to strive for my own purpose. No matter if I am gonna see the janitor, who cleans every piece of ground with desire; an athlete who puts his heart and soul in work outs and competitions… professions don’t matter… passion is what gives meaning to each action, and every life…
And I’ve never seen a great athlete, who doesn’t give his all on the court… an athlete, who doesn’t “sparkle” with desire, ambition, passion… and this gives out a lot… not only to me, but to everybody who has the chance to see this…
…if you wonder where you are going in life, follow your passion, it will always lead you on the right path!
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“the only reason a person could possibly find entertainment in watching other people play sports is if he is incapable of higher reasoning and totally devoid of imagination” sounds to me this person is totally unsocial…I just don’t have any words about this… And he/she even doesn’t deserve the attention you gave them! Let them live their live in way they want and spend your energy on more meaningful things.
I just read the article above and I also afree with the first statement, that the writer is less deserving of the attention that you have given him or her. In my mind, and from my experience with others the poor guy sounds like an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. I have always been an athlete, and enjoy spemding lots of time exercising and working out. I was a graduate of the University of Tulsa, and was graduated with honors, i ran my own business for 20 years, following a career in an education related field, and now at 60 have just completed a physical therapy curriculum, only making one B throughout the program, the rest As. At 60 years old, I have no need for any medications, I am within my ideal wt, I am healthy and I am fit, and ready to start my retirement career. I am curious as to what type of health Mr. Lofty and Superior maintains, and how old? I also wonder how he will feel at 60?
Thank you so much for the support! 🙂 Yes, you are right that he doesn’t deserve so much attention! It just amazes me, how a person could be filled with so much hatred. Glad you are doing so great! Keep up the great work and keep being such a great example how sport can help in each area of our lives! 🙂
This is not “hatred” IMO, just a feel of superiority… Condescension…
He probably forgot that the brain is dependent on the body… (and vice-versa)
The people who think there’s physical activity and then there’s higher thinking: I find them very cute. Usually, they are stuck at a low level of reading stagnant philosophies. They stopped reading too soon, maybe because immobility was giving them headaches.
Then there are those of us who took the time to exercise and realized that physical activity honed our perception for abstract reasoning. Because, it turns out, abstract metaphors arise from bodily movement. You can read it in Nietzche, in Merleau-Ponty, or you could go buy a kettlebell and see for yourself.
You’ll get smarter.
Now, I totally don’t get basketball. However, I know that it’s man’s task to approach- not discover, just approach the mystery of the world. And basketball, as well as painting, singing, piano, and many other things are a valid path to this task.
An attempt at narrow, objective philosophical view of the world is the least valuable and least fun approach.
Hi admin, I’m also interested in this. (Take a look at the latest post on my site for details.) This was a really interesting read, you have definitely given me some food for thought!
Totally agreeing with what the author of this article (Ines Subashka) says… I’m not especially defending athletes, although I think they DO bring something to part of our society… In all cases, living one’s passions is a good way of spending one’s life, there are others, there are other kinds of people too… We’re all different 🙂 As long as “respect to others” is everyone’s guideline, I don’t see practising or watching sports as an issue “per se”.