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Why I Hate Sports

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When I was growing up, there was a determined cabal of sports watchers in my home who succeeded in making regular incursions into what was rightfully movie time.

In addition to not having videos in those days, we also didn’t have any, whatever you call it, second TV, either. We did have library cards, so it’s okay, I kept busy. But if I read more Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle than other kids did, I also saw fewer movies than did the kids in homes where they didn’t let the sports cut into the movie time. That is why I will spend the rest of my life as someone who as a kid saw fewer movies than he might have because of the way sports were allowed to cut into the movie time. Bitter? You bet I’m bitter, bubba. Bananas, bath, bildung, borscht! I am bitter and alliterative, a lot!

Movie theaters. Okay. I remember seeing the last two thirds of Beneath the Planet of the Apes and the first third of Beneath the Planet of the Apes, in that order, in the theater. (Time to go, Dad decided; this is where we came in. Yeah, just throw the celluloid at me in whatever order, I’ll rearrange it in my brain later.) The next movie I remember seeing in the theater was Star Wars. So for most of my years growing up it was TV fare or bust. Did I also see the original Roller Ball in the theater, the one with James Caan? Possibly. It sort of rings a bell, or maybe I just saw it more than once on TV. I remember liking it well enough.

So now you’re saying, ah hah, you, Brown, like a movie “about sports,” therefore you like sports as well, gotcha! Nice try smart guy, but no, a movie “about sports” is not the same thing as “sports.” I like many movies “about sports.” But if you look hard enough they usually turn out to be about people and conflicts.

Sports, by contrast, are about human-looking mannequins running around on a field of some sort, or in a boxing ring, trying to achieve some sort of point advantage, or make “first down” or whatever. (In one of the sports games the players keep trying to put a ball through a hoop, and the more times you put it through the hoop, the more points you get…people watch this.)

There are no characters in sports games, and the so-called conflict is a completely bogus setup, like wrestling. If it weren’t for the weird makeshift rules and the attempts to get points, the members on the opposing teams wouldn’t have any reason to battle each other at all. Sure, the two sides do clash mightily, in a manner of speaking, and it’s all very “exciting” in the minds of the CGI-created crowd hollering in the stands. But the clash is meaningless. All the competitors stop instantly as soon as the clock runs out. Then they wipe off the simulated blood and sweat and knee injuries and go home.

Movies, when they are well done, depict a conflict that you can be persuaded is real, or at least seduced into not caring whether it’s real, as opposed to this thing of just trying to accumulate points and then going home when the clock runs out. Movies have the appeal of art. Games of sport are not art, and they’re not life either. They’re just…sports. There is not even any dialogue to engage you, unless you want to count all the repetitive grunts, and possibly some barking at a referee.

Now you are saying, it is sad that you are so predictable, that there are indeed characters in the sports games. Real people in fact. And we the fans do care about their ambitions and fates. We are inspired by these heroic athletes. That is why we so nobly yelp our garbled incoherent pleas at the television. We know the point averages, the teams with which the players played before, something about their hobbies and endeavors, their advertising deals and their music videos if they decide to become rappers, etc. “I know all about Marcus Maxwell or Wade Boggles or whomever and I pray constantly for his success,” you might insist.

Sorry, but that’s cheating. You are conning yourself into becoming interested in something, a sports game, not at all interesting in itself, by dint of escaping the confines of the game to pore over sports statistics, listen to interviews, read news stories about this or that player and how his parents gave him his first golf club while he was still in the womb, attend to the pontificating of the pundits talking over the game, etc. Can you plausibly claim that “pundit voiceover” is integral to the progress on the field? No. But in order to fool yourself into believing that the repetitive, boring, fake, sham, phony, vacuous, time-killing world of the game is at all bearable, you are obliged to glom onto some tawdry unimportant facts and supercilious opinings which may indeed be of fleeting interest insofar as they insipidly go, but which have nothing whatever to do with the contest as such and its ludicrously artificial terms and how these play out in a particular game.

When I watch a movie, I don’t have to know anything about the actors as they are in real life to get caught up in the world of the movie. I can skip the tabloids. I don’t have to listen to the director in a voiceover saying, “Okay, what we did in this scene is very interesting and successful because….” The movie just stands or falls on its own. Totally unlike sports, a kind of opiate for persons with nothing better to do but watch sports.

David M. Brown is the publisher of The Webzine, from which this article is adapted. He also runs the blog for the Laissez Faire Books web site, where he has been talking about Wal-Mart versus commies, spychips in your wallet, the secret to earning a billion dollars per second, and other things.

About David M. Brown

  • The Theory

    Thank you for your opinion… And your opinion works very well for you. Congradulations.

    And in regards to the title of your piece, your opinion does a good job of clearing that up.

    I, however, like sports to a major degree. Why? Because unlike movies (which I can also enjoy, btw) I can’t go to a website and get a summary of the game before it shows live on television. I can get predictions of what might happen… or what should happen. Theoretically, the team that averages the most ammount of points per game should win the match… yet the beauty of sports is that if it was as simple as that the games wouldn’t get played. The upset of will versus will.

    Not to mention that you have a specific team that you follow blood and tears. The sport is not JUST those players battling players of another team. The fans are apart of it, too. At my job there is a guy who comes in who is a hardcore Redskins fan… and I’m a hardcore Eagles fan. We have these great verbal spars (good-naturedly, of course) so that when the Eagles win, by proxy I win, too. (This year I did a lot of loosing… and I was ok with that so long as the Redskins lost eventually.)

    But sport’s greatest asset is the way it brings people together. Super Bowl parties, for instance. You’ve got everyone together in a room with an endless stream of chips and beer and hotdogs. People wrestling for the best spot on the couch. Perhaps someone comes painted in one of the teams colours and everyone laughs and someone punches him on the upper arm.

    So if I was to sum up the best part all in one word, it would be “community.” Sports brings people together the way movies don’t.

    There are subtle things to sports that don’t require the community aspect that can be enjoyed. The things which are a subtle “art” of sorts. When a running back in football twists past various tackles and obsticles to get a first down. When in baseball the batter hits a short fly ball and the outfielder has to jump and dive to catch it. The recognition that he wasn’t diving just so that he could enjoy his next paycheck… but because he was in the game and was willing to risk life and limb for the win. It becomes very metaphorical with real life and how we approach it… thus sports are an inspirational part of life. “If he can jump and catch a ball while landing on his chest for the win, then I can speak out the next time a co-worker harrasses me.”

    I don’t know. It just seems kind of silly to pit sports and movies against each other. Neither one has it in for the other. Both make people happy… both make people sad.

    I’m pretty sure none of the above made sense. This post is rather sream of consiousness and I don’t have the time to really organize it. But maybe you’ll catch my drift. Just recognize that I’m not criticizing you for not liking sports. I’m criticizing you with making the foolhardy assumption that because you don’t like sports that sports aren’t worth liking at all by any intelligent person.

  • http://www.thewebzine.com David M. Brown

    Thanks for your thoughts, Theory. Alas, I don’t accept your objection. You’re just going to have to abandon sports immediately and find an actual topic to argue about with your colleague. Sorry.

  • http://murasaki.blog-city.com Purple Tigress

    I like sports, but I don’t spend that much time watching sports or watching movies.

    I like sports because it was through sports that I developed confidence and poise. It is through sports that I have kept my body fit and made friends.

    I think movies can bring people together and make people think. But I don’t think movies bring people together in a way that is intimate or useful to daily life.

    I think sports can develop people’s characters and personalities in both good and bad ways.

    When I do pay attention to sports, it is to admire people who are much better than I and to inspire me to be better or to try something or even to learn about someone (such as when I went to see “Riding Giants” I learned more about surfing and friends who surfed and so then I followed up by learning more about Greg Nole and Laird Hamilton).

    I did at one time write sports for a small newspaper and faced so much prejudice that I no longer really like sports writers.

    From your article, I think your household spent too much time watching television. My last year in high school I was training six days a week and getting As and practicing piano so I guess I missed a lot of television, but I don’t think I really missed out on life because of it.

  • http://lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    “From your article, I think your household spent too much time watching television”

    From my article, Tigress, you know very little about the proportion of TV time to non-TV time spent by “the household.” But in order to clear this up I’ll distribute a poll to the others to find out what they remember from the 1970s about ratio of TV-time to non-TV-time and do a statistical analysis. Stay tuned.

    I was a bookworm growing up, so if anything, I spent too much time reading books. There was no piano practice.

  • http://justachicken Not Really Dave M. Brown

    Let me clear up what I am saying:

    I hate sports, but all of this analysis is just crap. I loathe sports and I want all of you to do so as well.

    But you’ve gotta love my blog entry. In it, I mentioned wrestling. Professional (read: FAKE) wrestling. What a great example for me to point in out in discussing SPORTS.

    I say this “a sports game, not at all interesting in itself,” like it’s a FACT, when it’s just my OPINION. Funny how I like to shovel out my opinion as if it were fact.

    I also fail to point out that to fully appreciate a movie, you must be quiet. No talking. SHHHH. But in sports, you watch and enjoy sports and still talk and be social. Sorry I didn’t point out that when I watch all those hours of movies instead of sports, I am being very anti-social. But that doesn’t help my “Argument,” now does it?

    Although I hate sports, I am so CLOSED-MINDED that I cannot understand how anyone would like sports. Of course I’d never say that in my blog, because that would weaken my “argument” where I pass off opinion as fact.

    Simply put, sports (The watching of it) is a kind of soap opera, geared towards males. Sports hating females have their soaps for nonstop year round drama, men (except me) have sports.

    And although I tell you this, I am too closed-minded to appreciate that people can like sports and I do not.

    **this was not written by David M. Brown. It is simply a clever way to point out the flaws of David M. Brown’s opinion as fact blog entry re: sports**

  • http://lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    I love clever satires that close with an announcement about how clever they are.

    Overruled.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    As a major non-enthusiast of sports of every kind — and who has no understanding of football wheatsoever, and generally avoids mentioning the fact for fear some kind soul will explain it to me — I find your opinion weird. The proper position to dislikes in general is indifference. I think of sports the way I do beef liver — if you like it, fine, just don’t serve me any.

  • http://lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    I guess I never learned to assume the Proper Position, Rodney. But I don’t eat liver either–we’re soulmates on that question.

  • Tyler Newton

    I have to agree with “Not really Dave M. Brown.”

    You are just spewing out opinion as fact. It’s not a fact that sports are dull, it’s your opinion.

    It’s not a fact that you are closed-minded, but it’s just the opinion of many of us here.

    You are not closed-minded for hating sports, mind you, you are simply closed-minded for hating people that like sports and closed-minded for passing off opinion as fact.

  • Roger

    “I love clever satires that close with an announcement about how clever they are.

    Overruled.

    Actually, the satirical post is the best post here, even better than your original entry. It’s good because it points out the flaws of pretending that opinion = fact.

    I mean, seriously, your opinion is fact? That’s news to me and everyone else in the world today.

  • Not Really Dave M. Brown

    “”I love clever satires that close with an announcement about how clever they are.

    Overruled.”

    It’s shame you can’t even give a proper response to my post. Maybe I should post it again and you’ll decide to become open-minded, THINK about what I said, and reply:

    Let me clear up what I am saying:

    I hate sports, but all of this analysis is just crap. I loathe sports and I want all of you to do so as well.

    But you’ve gotta love my blog entry. In it, I mentioned wrestling. Professional (read: FAKE) wrestling. What a great example for me to point in out in discussing SPORTS.

    I say this “a sports game, not at all interesting in itself,” like it’s a FACT, when it’s just my OPINION. Funny how I like to shovel out my opinion as if it were fact.

    I also fail to point out that to fully appreciate a movie, you must be quiet. No talking. SHHHH. But in sports, you watch and enjoy sports and still talk and be social. Sorry I didn’t point out that when I watch all those hours of movies instead of sports, I am being very anti-social. But that doesn’t help my “Argument,” now does it?

    Although I hate sports, I am so CLOSED-MINDED that I cannot understand how anyone would like sports. Of course I’d never say that in my blog, because that would weaken my “argument” where I pass off opinion as fact.

    Simply put, sports (The watching of it) is a kind of soap opera, geared towards males. Sports hating females have their soaps for nonstop year round drama, men (except me) have sports.

    And although I tell you this, I am too closed-minded to appreciate that people can like sports and I do not.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com/ Christopher Rose

    I find it highly amusing that the person allegedly engaging in “satire” has exactly the same IP address as his supporters Tyler and Roger.

    Oh yes, I’m still laughing over that one; you see, he pretended to be Tyler! Then he did it again!! Brilliant!!!

    If I wasn’t the Comments Editor, I’d probably sign off “LOSER!”, but I am so I won’t.

  • http://www.lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    Okay, Not Really, I’m going to take up that thinking thing you’re talking about real soon and get back to you just as soon as I’ve figured out how to turn on the neurons. I thank you for your support.

  • http://www.lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    “hating people that like sports”

    News to me, Tyler/Not Really/Roger. Some of my best friends and family members mindlessly fritter away their time sports-watching. They are managing to do something with their lives in the rest of their time though, so they are not utterly beyond redemption.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    My life is a sham

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Watching sports is a leisure activity. It is not meant to be “productive” time. It is “leisure” time.

    Some people, for instance, watch soap operas as a leisure activity. I cannot fathom what exactly the appeal of a soap opera might be, but to each their own. I do not demonize those who enjoy soap operas. Nor, for that matter, do I malign those who enjoy “professional” wrestling. Or any other inane bit of temporary escapism.

    Some other rather common leisure activities include drug use, graffiti, and crossword puzzles.

    Personally, I think watching sports is superior to any/all of those activities.

    But that’s, you know, just my opinion… :-/

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Music is nothing more than series of sound waves at different frequencies alternating and repeating, while white people awkwardly attempt to move their bodies to a “rhythm” of those frequencies. If there was no music then they wouldn’t have to do any of that. It’s quite pedestrian if you ask me.

    (Sips latte.)

  • http://www.lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    I give Sussman points for effort, but deduct even more for being wrong. Music rocks. After all, the tones in music add up to something, whereas the sundry wrigglings in sports are as dull and numbing to look at in ensemble as they are in isolation.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Anything you can assert, I can assert better.

    In 2001, Dale Earnhardt died during the final laps of the Daytona 500. The next NASCAR race at occured at that track was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    Now tell me there’s no beauty, no passion, no reality in sports.

    (And if you play the “well he died doing driving around and around in circles so that’s boring and it doesn’t count” card, then it’s Lynyrd Skynyrd’s fault for being famous, or else Ronnie Van Zant wouldn’t have died in that plane crash, the dumb fool, plus some crotchety grumbling about how Freebird is a dull, repetitive, overrated song.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/01/20/181939.php David M. Brown

    Uh, okay. But…latte?

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I finished my latte. It was mostly foam.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    In my universe, sports does not exist, sports channels are mere inconveniences to be skipped over to the long stack of movie channels.

    Of course, that’s because the yahoos hereabouts don’t have cricket on any channel

  • chantal stone

    For the most part, I hate sports too, but I love movies about sports, especially, for some odd reason, football movies. Varsity Blues, The Longest Yard, Remember the Titans…all great movies, in my opinion.

    It’s the passion of the players, the thrill of the game, the suspense of the underdog coming up from behind for the big win. I always get chills when I watch these movies, and (embarassed to admit) sometimes I’m moved to tears.

    Then I think, well maybe I really do like football, I just don’t realize it yet. Maybe I’m a football-fan-in-denial. I could be in the “football closet”.

    So I force myself to watch an actual football game, and I’m reminded that yes, I really do hate sports.

    I love latte, though, even with all that foam.

  • http://indemnification.blogspot.com -E

    Awww I like sports. And I’d say about half the movies I have seen “about” sports are some of the worst movies out there.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Chantal, the more you watch a sport and know about it, the more you appreciate it, and then you become a fan. It’s just a rule with any sport.

  • http://willfe.com/ William Ferrell

    Hurrah, David, and well written! I love watching sports fans defending their favorite passive pasttime. It amazes me how the behavior of jocks, even failed ones, is so immediately predictable: “you mock sport, must insult you, mock you, call you silly name, you NERD!”

    I concur that sports are unbearably boring and useless. There is no tangible benefit from such meaningless gatherings of human beings who compete just for the sake of competition, nor is there any benefit to those who gather around to *watch* those humans do it.

    A movie or television show has the *potential* to offer up something to rationally discuss later, instead of the !@#$ing irritating, mindless banter about the “bad call that idiot ref made” or “how John Q. Ballthrower threw his ball at Abe Ballcatcher and missed.” Reality shows don’t generally offer much more, but there are plenty of dramas, mysteries, and even comedies that can get the mind thinking about things that no sporting event ever could.

    All the supposedly “inspiring” stuff that happens in sporting events are utterly meaningless. The most you can gain, from an outsider’s perspective, in winning the damned Super Bowl is a trophy and the ability to accurately claim “I won a Super Bowl.” So what if you’re the underdog in a meaningless competition and you pull ahead and win anyway? Hurrah, you, uh, threw that ball better than the other guy.

    What about the stuff that *should* be inspiring us, but we ignore because of all the stupid sports? Oh, I forgot, sports are a distraction, an escape from the nastiness of reality.

    Bleh.

  • Shark

    Hmmm.

    Sports vs movies…

    Macho morons vs gay aesthetes…

    Weight-lifters vs book readers…

    Mohammed Ali vs Hamlet…

    lightweight semi-humorous essay with false dichotomy -vs- the epic Shakespearean Coincidence of the Earnhardt family’s brain-splattering followed by champagne spewing.

    Que puedo hacer..?

    Nada.

    ======

    Question: Is it considered a “sport” to watch this garrulous three-headed motard “Not Really Dave…” HUMILIATE his wittle self in front of BC readers?

    The Good News: I don’t believe we’ll be seeing that IP address around any more. Heh.

    (Thanks, C. Rose!)

    ======

    Aside:

    It’s not that I hate sports, but I’ve always feared that when my life is ended or I’m on my deathbed,

    God will whip out a chart and say,

    “Okay, you wasted 47.3% of your One Precious Life in the Universe by sitting on your fat ass watching a bunch of overweight, steroid-pumped primates push a piece of leather around a grassy knoll. Oh, and Shark, on top of that…

    THE GAMES ARE ALL FIXED.

    …You idiot.”

  • Shark

    Sussman: “…the more you watch a sport and know about it, the more you appreciate it, and then you become a fan…”

    Wow. You should be a sports writer! They spend their careers explaining the obvious while trying to make it sound profound.

    Gotta run! Just heard the announcer say, *”It’s third down and eight.”

    *I was watchin’ … but I didn’t know that!

  • chantal stone

    Suss…you gotta give me credit for at least TRYING to like sports. I sat through more than my fair share of NFL and NBA games for the sake of my husband and brothers. Those games can hold my attention for about 15 minutes, then I’m ready to move on.

    My husband says that I would enjoy live sports a lot more. I thought maybe he was right. After seeing a documentary about the men’s US Hockey Olympic team’s triumph in 1980, and truly ENJOYED the documentary, I thought I would like hockey. So I took my kids to see Ohio State vs. Nebraska. It was fun, the environment, the energy in the arena was palatible. And I could truely appreciate the skill it takes to skate while manuevering that little puck around. But after about 15 minutes, I noticed that the only things I was paying attention to were the male cheerleaders. Who knew hockey games had cheerleaders?!?

    My point is, some of us are just not going to have a love for the game, any game. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  • JR

    Matthew Sussman: In 2001, Dale Earnhardt died during the final laps of the Daytona 500. The next NASCAR race at occured at that track was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    Now tell me there’s no beauty, no passion, no reality in sports.

    Wow, you consider NASCAR a sport?

  • bill baumann

    in the words of arnold, “STOP WHINING”

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    JR – you ask if NASCAR should be considered a sport…have you ever been stuck in rush hour traffic? For maybe an hour? Remember how tiring it was? And you had AC! Try driving in that bumper to bumper traffic at 200+ mph for 4 hours…without AC…think it might wear you down? think you can drive a car at 200+ MPH and not be in shape, both physically and mentally?

    I’ve driven 500 miles in a day many times…at or near the speed limit and I was wore out…can’t imagine doing it at 200+.

    I mean, come on, if playing cards is a sport…at least they show it on ESPN…then car racing surely has to be one…more of a sport than golf…I’d say you have to be in better shape to race a car than to play baseball!

  • nixon

    i like sports, but now a days there are more commercial then actualy game… which isn’t sport to me anymore.. the worse of all is superbowl, man that thing i watched 10 minutes of it, ppl talk a lot and oh my lord… i don’t even wana talk about it, I know i used to love basketball every minute… but now same thing as football more more commercial…

    So i gave up, and now all i do is read business news, tahts al matter.

    As long someone doesn’t disturb me when i am doing , then tahts fine.
    This is why i gave up TV…

  • ash

    fat c*nt get up and do some exercise

  • JR

    Andy Marsh: JR – you ask if NASCAR should be considered a sport…have you ever been stuck in rush hour traffic? For maybe an hour? Remember how tiring it was? And you had AC! Try driving in that bumper to bumper traffic at 200+ mph for 4 hours…without AC…think it might wear you down? think you can drive a car at 200+ MPH and not be in shape, both physically and mentally?

    But is it a contest of skill? I take no exception to argument that racing is physically exhuasting; but so is ballet, and that’s not a sport it’s a show.

    Matthew T. Sussman states in comment 25: the more you watch a sport and know about it, the more you appreciate it, and then you become a fan. It’s just a rule with any sport.

    Well, I used to watch NASCAR out of desperation to see any form of motor racing on TV. The more I watched it, the more disgusted I became with the capricious use of yellow flags to “even up” the competition, the more meaningless the constant passing for the lead became, and the less interested I was in the mindless simplicity of the oval track layouts. The sporting ideal that the best driver should win is completely irrelevant to a sanctioning body that clearly prioritizes “the show” in its attempt to promote close packed cars and inoffensive pop-star drivers. For me, NASCAR did not follow the “rule of any sport”.

    I’ve driven 500 miles in a day many times…at or near the speed limit and I was wore out…can’t imagine doing it at 200+.

    I’ve driven 900 miles in one day. I may even have exceeded the speed limit once or twice.

    I mean, come on, if playing cards is a sport…at least they show it on ESPN…then car racing surely has to be one…more of a sport than golf…I’d say you have to be in better shape to race a car than to play baseball!

    Playing cards is not a sport. Does ESPN even show sports anymore? I thought they went the MTV route – all talk shows and reality TV.

    No argument on golf and baseball.

  • http://www.father.com efff eff

    “i am not a jock and dont ever want to be one”

    well said.

  • http://www.smick.net mike

    I am pretty much of the mindset that sports are probably the biggest waste of money in the United States. People identify with a sports team more than the identify with their neighbors. You can hype up all the camradarie with sports all you want, but I see sports being a nice buffer in the workplace that makes life more sanitized, makes your work conversations less about politics and important things and more about a subculture which is basically repetitive and stats driven. I’m ashamed about the waste of time with televised sports, and pro highdollar sports. I wish TV sports didn’t exist. I also wish that if people want a stadium, they have to find the land themselves, and not bring in city money to do everything. When cities go through a period where they want to grow and improve, a wasteful stadium is often the first place people look to create, but unfortunately it’s one of the least useful things. But most sports fans will tell you that’s how bars and other fun places get made. You need a draw first. Well, if you look at a lot of cities without stadiums, they build into something on their own. More slowly maybe, but at least it’s not wasteful and cookiecutter.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I’ve been asleep for about 12 hours, so I have some primo catching up to do:

    Chantal, you do get credit. It’s like food — you have to try something before you say you don’t like it.

    As for NASCAR, I’m surprised that I just laid out one of the most amazing feats, in terms of pure emotion in sports (Earnhardt Jr. winning the next race at Daytona), and all some people can say is “Ummmmm…. NASCAR’s not a sport.”

    It may certainly involve more technology than the rest of the sports, but there is a team, there needs to be good communication, they have to be in very good shape (pit crew and drivers — yes, drivers), and there’s strategy throughout the race.

    JR: “Does ESPN even show sports anymore?”

    Oh definitely, moreso than MTV plays music. Plus they show 6 hours of SportsCenter a day. I know they’ve had more original programming than in the past, but a big victory was landed this week with the cancellation of ESPN Hollywood.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I’ve driven 2400 miles in 34 hours…and guarantee I broke the speed limit. but I was making a comparison!

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Chantal, it’s all right. I know not everyone likes sports and it’s especially a girls thing.

    And yes, that 1980 U. S. hockey team story is out of this world. There are so many stories like that which haven’t been turned into movies, and never will.

    And I didn’t know the atmosphere in a sports arena could be palatable.

    …–THE MORE YOU KNOW–***

  • Mheill

    To be honest, David, it seems to me that most of your article is saying “sports are not movies”.
    Well, to be honest, I really would have to agree with you – they aren’t. When you say

    “Games of sport are not art, and they’re not life either. They’re just…sports”

    I would have to say… spot on. You’re not wrong.

    But, the thing is – sports aren’t meant to be art. They’re not meant to be “life”. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be appreciated. (At this point I would like to point out that I am English, and that the sport that is mostly followed here is football (and I mean real FOOTball that is played with the FEET, not the American bastardisation of rugby), so that is what I am generally talking about). Anyway, it is possible to have good games and bad games, just like there are good and bad films. Like films, most league games are pretty unspectacular, although sometimes you get a real classic. The really exciting games are when they are for a competition, like the World cup or the FA cup. Such games can really create a sense of pride in your town or your country’s team.

    For example, to get away from football for a minute, the whole country was entranced last summer by the annual England vs Australia cricket series – the Ashes – which we won for the first time in about 25 years. For the most part, cricket is a sport generally not appreciated by your average working class person. But last summer tickets for the ashes were like golddust, and millions were glued to their tv screens watching the drama unfold – it really became a matter of national pride.

    Because that is the point I am trying to get across – fair enough, as you say, there isn’t that much dialogue, but you cannot say that there are no characters, and you can go to hell if there is no “conflict”. Individual players can inspire a whole team to go out and win, and matches in any sport can become a tense drama.

    Anyway, I’ll stop now, but if you want an example of sports with conflict, I suggest you look up last summer’s ashes series, or the recent Liverpool vs Luton FA cup tie (a bloody good football match, and I don’t particularly follow football). http://www.bbc.co.uk would probably be a good place to look.

  • http://www.thewebzine.com David M. Brown

    “To be honest, David, it seems to me that most of your article is saying ‘sports are not movies?. Well, to be honest”

    To be honest, Mheill, I really appreciate your honesty. Honestly, thank you.

    I’m not a fan of hydrochloric acid either. You dunk your head into one vat of hydrochloric acid, you’ve done it a million times, in my view. If somebody comes along and says, “No, try this kind of hydrochloric acid, you’ll really like it, no really, just give it a try,” I’m not too persuaded. See, it’s all the same kind of thing. So I’m afraid you’re the one who has to reform, not me. Stop finding this dull sports stuff so appealing.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    David, you’re saying nobody should tell you to try to enjoy this sport or that sport and to leave you alone about it. Fair enough. So why do you feel that your disinterest in sports is so grand that it warrants proselytizing to us sports fans that we’re wasting our time? Because in fast, you’re wasting your breath.

  • http://www.thewebzine.com David M. Brown

    >You are the most unmanly pussy ive ever seen<

    Isn’t this a category error, Mr. Smith? Pussies are by their very nature “unmanly,” are they not? So it’s not that one pussy can be more or less manly than another pussy. None is manly.

  • Mheill

    “See, it’s all the same kind of thing. So I’m afraid you’re the one who has to reform, not me. Stop finding this dull sports stuff so appealing.”

    Oh.

    Ok then, I didn’t realise before

  • http://bacalar.blogspot.com alpha

    Bravo David. It is hard to admit in America that sports are (except for car racing, figure skating and other beautiful ones)…Boring! I grew up in the South where nothing takes prcedence over football and the other games where men play with their balls.

    One year, when I hadn’t visited at home for some time I was there for my January birthday . My uncles and family decided to have a super bowl party for me. Oh boy! I decided it was a good day to leave town since they were going to get tired of my trying to get the remote and check out the movies. This has been going on since I was a boy. I learned the games and the rules and that the coaches and players were tobacco chewing illiterates who could be counted on to be aggressive, anti-Semitic, anti-intellectual and generally unpleasant.

    As a photographer knowing the games helped when I had an assignment to shoot sports. I even sort of enjoyed them since I was paid to follow all the plays. But would, as Shark wrote, I waste part of my life watching the nonsense for fun?

    I had a lot of problem in the South explaining that I liked theater, art and dance better and was still not gay. One reason I left as soon as I could.

    So, back to your film, David. You done good, Bubba. A point for our team.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    But alpha, surely you can’t agree with David’s sentiment: “I don’t like sports so neither should anyone else.”

  • Mheill

    I think that this comment that you made pretty much sums up your attitude, David

    “Thanks for your thoughts, Theory. Alas, I don’t accept your objection. You’re just going to have to abandon sports immediately and find an actual topic to argue about with your colleague. Sorry.”

    Well, my thoughts on you can be summed up in one word:

    Tosser!

    If you don’t know what that means, you’re probably not British. TO find out, please come to England and shout it at a group of mean looking men.

    As a closing thought, you really seem like the kind of person who was always picked last at school, and has had a phobia of partaking in any competitive activity since. I’d guess you are overweight, and probably would struggle to carry a cardboard box up a set of special low gradient stairs.

    Doesn’t matter, though, since being fit and in shape is completely unnecessary except for in sports, and so is not relevant to you.

  • chantal stone

    Suss…..I think I meant ‘palpable’….I must have been hungry when writing that last post. *grins*

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    In sport, there is to be found some of the most inspirational moments of humanity.

    How about Isiah Thomas scoring 21 points (in a single quarter!), while playing on a severely-sprained ankle, against the Lakers in the NBA Finals?

    How about Kirk Gibson, who was so crippled he could barely walk, smashing a game-winning homerun off of ace reliever Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series?

    Sports are a metaphor for the human condition. They allow us to realize the enormous historical impact a single person, in a single moment, can make.

    I love sports. If you don’t, fine. But you’re in the minority, and for good reason…

  • RogerMDillon

    “Mr. Brown? That sounds too much like Mr. Shit.”
    -Reservoir Dogs

    Movies are a kind of opiate for persons with nothing better to do but watch movies. I enjoy them both.

    “There is no tangible benefit from such meaningless gatherings of human beings who compete just for the sake of competition, nor is there any benefit to those who gather around to *watch* those humans do it.”

    Yes, there is. You can make money guessing the outcome of games. I have bet on television programs as well.

    Racing is an activity as is card games, and your fooling yourself if you don’t think the other teams let up a little for Dale Jr.

  • Everyone in the United States

    “But alpha, surely you can’t agree with David’s sentiment: “I don’t like sports so neither should anyone else.””

    I don’t like David M. Brown so neither should anyone else.

  • http://breathoffreshink.com Chris Evans

    I hate sports too. Except mabe baseball. I like the tight outfits.

  • http://expatriatesitemenu.blogspot.com alpha

    Actually, I don’t like sports but I do like freedom. Don’t censor movies, don’t burn books and let whomever wants to watch as much stuff on TV, go to as many games and scream as loud as possible, do so. Then go to a sports bar and make even more noise as long as you don’t drive drunk.

    I did not mean that anyone else should not do what they want to do. Nor must I do what they want me to. Those uncles who love to shout at the screen and journey to their alma mater for the big game are among my favorite people. I would never force them to stop — nor will I ever be forced to start.

  • Jim

    Well, David’s essay is meant to prompt thinking and discussion, and it certainly has.

    I happen to agree with David, I also do not watch sports…

    My main feeling is this: How is this year any different from last year, or the year before? It all seems like a big waste of time…

    However, I also believe in the free market. The free market tells us that sports are popular.

    Thus, I start to look for art in sports… I believe this is the answer. The reason sports are popular is because there is art within the sport. Art being strategy. Decision making of the players and coaches. Sport is warfare without death.

    A close game is considered entertaining, but one that is not close is boring. Why? The entertainment must be related to the tension of the game.

    The same idea is present in drama/movies. The bad guy should be closely matched to the good guy. The climax of the movie often features a battle. Warfare.

    The one point I would like to make is that everyone makes up their own mind. No one is forced to be a fan of either sports or movies. The marketplace presents both and both are accepted. We should be happy to have the choice.

  • http://murasaki.blog-city.com Purple Tigress

    I think one can be a bookworm and enjoy sports. I was both and still am. However, what passes for sports differs from country to country and, perhaps, even by gender.

    As I’ve already had two walks, been to the pool and not get ready to go out again for a little workout, I don’t have time to watch TV.

    Really, the whole essay sound very bitter and more like there’s some serious need of self-reflection and family therapy.

  • http://www.thewebzine.com David M. Brown

    I need “family therapy” because you dislike my essay, Tigress? That viewpoint strikes me as expressive of multiple psychoses. I hope you get help soon.

    And since when is exercise the same thing as sports? All participated-in sport may be a form of exercise (excepting of course bowling, golf, thumb wrestling and amateur psychologizing), but not all exercise is sports. And I would note, further, that no form of “watching sports” constitutes exercise, even when one takes into account whatever ergs are expended in the process of flailing at the TV screen in hopes of persuading player Jones to move this way instead of that way.

  • Shark

    Folks who get all pissy after reading a lightweight satirical, tongue-in-cheek essay are the ones who might need therapy.

    Coupla misc items re. Sports:

    1) THEY’RE ALL FIXED, you deluded motards.

    2) I would never think “I don’t like ___ and neither should anyone else.” I actually prefer the more ‘esoteric’ pursuits; I’d rather be in an empty movie theater on Superbowl Sunday than elbow-to-asshole with a bunch of overweight drunks; I figure if it’s POPULAR, it probably SUCKS the life-force out of one’s soul.

    But that’s just me: a bitter sociopathic intellectual who believes Sartre’s mantra: “Hell is Other People.”

    3) Have a nice day!

    ~gotta run: “Who’s the Boss” is on!

    xxoo
    S

  • Maurice

    Sports are the opiate of the masses.

  • Nancy

    I wouldn’t object to sports as a subject of public fixation so much if it weren’t for the same problem sports shares with entertainment in general, namely the obscene over-compensation paid to sports figures, and the (seemingly) increasingly arrogant attitude they assume that they are above the law – like that snotty little shit that got barred from his school team a few weeks ago, and announced it was no big deal, he’d just “move on to the next level” of pro sports, where the recruiters have been slavering to get hold of him. The whole complex – the teams, the owners, & the fans – have become so amoral, they don’t care if a player is a rapist, a murderer, or anything else, as long as he can play, and they reward him accordingly with huge contracts & mindless adulation. This is sick, and it’s wrong. That’s why I hate sports. The games in and of themselves are fine, and there are some sports – gymnastics, for instance – that I am in awe of, and others (like ski jumping) I am in awe of for different reasons (like being unable to comprehend the suicidal tendencies of anyone who would ride two little sticks off a 1000-foot structure into space!).

  • chantal stone

    i have a confession…..

    previously in this thread i stated that i, also, hated sports. but tonight i went to a high school basketball game and i really enjoyed myself. i’m not sure why, exactly. those kids just had a lot of energy, and since my husband is a huge basketball fan, he was able to explain to me certain plays. it was very dramatic. the score was tight for most of the game, and i found myself anxious to see who was going to win.

    my husband wanted to leave early, to beat the traffic (i hate that), but i was genuinely interested in waiting this thing out.

    to no avail though, our home team still lost.

    but i feel like this is real growth for me.

  • http://www.thewebzine.com David M. Brown

    Oh no. Oh no, Chantal. Say it ain’t so….

    Real, real growth will come when you can watch a football game all the way through…on TV…and without your brain completely rotting away…

  • chantal stone

    eww, ok, no…i don’t forsee that happening…EVER! don’t worry David, i’m not a total convert!!

  • http://www.sportssuck.org Rudolfo

    I never liked sports and never will. Sports fans are one gene away from being half-wits.

  • fag boy

    hi, my name is david, and i hate sports cause im a puny wimp who got beat up by the football team growing up. wahhhh

  • fag boy

    my real point is, take a look at the 2004 boston red sox. that team winning the world series meant more to the people of boston (red sox fans more importantly…but isnt everyone from boston a sox fan?) than any stupid movie could. year after year, those people poured their hearts and souls into that team. i can make you a gurantee. you will never be able to experience the emotions of being a sports fan in your entire life through anything else other than family and friends, and its a shame that youll never know that.

  • http://www.sportssuck.org Ray

    Terriffic article, Mr Brown. I also don’t like sports. Would you do us the honor of visiting our webpage, http://www.sportssuck.org, and making a statement in the forum? May we post the above article, Why I Hate Sports
    January 20, 2006, by David M. Brown?
    Thanks very much,
    Ray

  • http://none alex

    I cannot belive how people enjoy sport, I played rugby the other day, they said to us before we started “Theres no chance you’ll get hurt”. Two people walked, well hopped away with sprained ancles and one person with a split lip. I know someone paralysed from the waste down because a scrum collapsed! AND THEY SAY YOU WONT GET HURT!!! And then after people recover from their injuries they play it again. Cretins.
    We were also told it was a ‘real mans game’, A real mans game, yer lots of sweaty blokes gathering together with their arms round each other and wrapping their arms round each others waists and pulling each other to the ground where they6 role around on top of each other in the mud… Yer Real Men.

    And some people have said it brings people together, everything brings people together! People naturally stay in groups, if u put 5 people in a dark room with nothing to do they would get together and talk. And y do people need to be together anyway people are so dependent on each other it makes me sick.
    Humbug

  • http://don'tgetit jason

    I hate it when people get that deer in the headlight look when they start talking about sports. Especially when they try to discuss them with me because when they do I can feel my face start to fall and in my embarassment I will tell them that I don’t understand that stuff. Maybe the reason I can’t understand sports is because of my anti-social nature, I’ve noticed that alot of people that like sports are very social. My 9 year old nephew loves going to school just so he can be around other humans. well I hate people the very word “PEOPLE” ticks me off alot of people tend to stink literally. heck even my sister agrees, she works as a cashier and can smell people go through her lane they may seem clean except for on part of their body….. the crack of their rear end its like they will soap up all of their body except that, its like they are afraid to put soap down in there like its poison or something. Then there’s their breath and their overall personal scent you know that unfamilar “people” scent when you walk into a stranger’s house. So why would people want to sit together and watch this big scam called sports, let alone play each other in these games why would you want to memorize these dum stats just to look at some stinky nasty human of the same sex in a locker room.

  • Evan

    i dont do sports sometimes i dont mind watching them i have balls but i dont use them for sports i just bounce them around

  • Evan

    i do not want to be a sports man and i swim but not for sports i may not like sports but i am tough and i dont play minature golf nomore and never again

  • Mike

    Yea! I agree — sports are disgusting.

    I can’t agree with your point of TV time incursion being the reason to lothe sports though. Rather, let’s look at the more intrinsic problems of sports:

    1) The professional athletes, coaches, and owners care so little about fans that they all have to be multi-millionaires. I mean come on — do you really have to make 3 million dollars a year while the average bloke out there can’t afford to attend because the tickes cost so much?

    2) All this hogwash about sports teaching great character is such a lie. Look at the coaches who berate their team when the chips are down. Look at the superstar players who belittle other team members who are less talanted. Look at all the unrestrained anger vented out there when something doesn’t go as desired. This is character? Not in my book!

    3) Ever try to talk to a sports fanatic about anything other than sports? Their fake little “sports is everything” world doesn’t seem to have much room for real life discussions.

    4) Oh, and did I mention how boring it is to actually sit in front of the TV watching football, baseball, golf, etc. TV is mindless enough to begin with, but watching sports has to be one of the most mind-numbing experiences I have had!

    5) The typical “win at any cost” sport mindset destroys relationships, people, and kids who are subjected to it. Oh yea, I like to win too. But not at ANY cost. It’s just a game people!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Mike:

    1) Not all sports are professional sports. Regardless, film performers and musicians are paid astronomical amounts of money. Some authors are. Do you, therefore, hate literature, film, and music?

    2) Not all coaches or team leaders follow this tactic.

    3) Yes, I have. I’m what could be considered a “hockey fanatic” and yet I have no problem discussing movies, music, politics, religion, or any of my other interests.

    4) Playing is better than watching, sure. That’s certainly not a reason to hate sports, though. It’s more or less a reason to dislike sitting still.

    5) The “win at any cost” mindset permeates culture, period. It permeates politics, for instance. Just watch election coverage. Now that’s disgusting!

  • Evan

    i hate sports shit you are jackasses for liking sports anything is better then sports sports are crap

  • Paul Jay

    I can never understand why it should interest another person to watch any competition between others trying to prove themselves better at something than somebody else. Why? What is the point?! So if runner A is faster than runner B. Where is the pleasure / interest derived from watching the contest? It’s just two people running – BORING!

  • Olivia DeVoe

    David M. Brown, I believe that I love you … or at least I love your opinion. Thanks to Google I found your article and I couldn’t agree more.

  • Nic Desjardins

    I for one, actually LOATH sports.
    Especially the players.
    These people run around and get MILLIONS of dollars, just by kicking a ball between two posts. Yet, two thirds of the world is underfed. 24,000 CHILDREN DIE EVERY YEAR FROM STARVATION! And you have scientists, doctors, environmentalists, and so on, who are actually BENEFITING society, yet they don’t get as much as these thugs who run around and kick a ball (and by “kick a ball”, I also refer to tossing a ball, holding a ball, blocking a ball, or whacking someone in the face with an oversized glove). As well, as that, millions of people ADMIRE these thugs. Little children look up to them and say “I want to be like that person when I’m older”, yet what do these people do? They kick a ball, get drunk, take drugs, and get in fights with people.
    ————————–
    And for all your arguments: (some might seem stupid, but all of these arguments have been used against me)
    Sport brings joy!
    Yes, it may bring joy, but I’ll bet that if you took all the money ever given to sportsmen and gave it to charity, and to scientists and doctors, the world would be a much better place. I for one, would get more joy from having an awesome world with good technology, cures for lots of diseases and a lot less poverty, than watching people kick a ball on TV.
    Sport gets people off their bottoms to go watch it at the stadium!
    True, true. But while you might have, say, a thousand people watching sport at the stadium, gauranteed there will be a million people taking time off to sit down and eat junk food in front of the TV. Also, people don’t “walk” to the stadium, they drive there, and then sit down and eat junk food.
    ——————–
    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not objecting to the idea of sport for exercise and wellbeing, that’s fine, but I think that sport for a career is terrible. Sportsmen should get the wage of, say, a janitor, or a shop clerk if they’re lucky. Saying that, a janitor or a shop clerk helps the world more than a sportsperson.
    -Nicholas

  • Kobe Bryan Durnal

    well we already know ur a fat ass. sports gives you the joy of exercise and a goal: to win. Your goal is to find that last batch of popron for the movie.

  • David

    The notion that sportsmen “should” get the wage of janitors is socialist nonsense. I have little interest in sports; others have much greater interst. The market reflects that. The athletes who make the millions are obviously the most highly skilled and dedicated, the best at their jobs.

  • vincent

    i hate sports except baseball and thats only when I’m goin to take a nap cause it puts me to sleep. we have a breakroom at work the tv is always on football or basketball…i hate it its stupid to run around after a ball…my dog does that! I like facts real stuff..history channel..wild kingdom…or a good adventure movie…again I finally found a spot where I can say that “I HATE SPORTS” ..cheers

  • http://www.andrewfashion.com Andrew Fashion

    And I thought I was the only person in the world who despised sports. I feel at home. My buddies always make fun of me, and so do women, for not liking sports. The shit never made sense to me, overrated crap of throwing a ball all over the field. It wouldn’t bother me so much if I could figure out why the entire world would die for it, pisses me off.

  • Shagabahjones

    I have always hated sports. The world would be a much better place without it. I’m not talking about a game of basketball in the driveway or stick-ball in the vacant lot. I’m talking about professional sports on TV. Fans say “sports builds character”. Really? Mike Tyson bites people and he’s a rapist who beats women. Professional football, baseball and basketball players are arrested for felonies almost everyday. They are routinely violent, drug addicts, asocial and completely lacking even an ounce of class, charm or wit. Sports fans also say sports brings people together. Really? People die every year at sports riots that break out in little league fields and soccer stadiums. People who root for opposing teams don’t hold hands and sing “We Are the World”. They hate each other with passion only a bigot or a sports fan can muster. It brings people together only in the sense that fans of team X join up to collectively hate fans of team Z. Sports fans say sports are entertaining. Really? If watching the actual sport itself is entertaining, why do they have cheerleaders, fireworks, explosions, 50’ tall TV screens and half-time shows? I mean if sports are so thrilling to watch, why is there a need to add hype and glitter to it? Personally, I think sports are so popular because they appeal to the lowest rung of society. A mentally handicapped person can be entertained for hours by simply waving a shiny object in front of them. Sports serve the same purpose; it is a sparkling, shiny object for the mentally challenged to sit & watch. Professional sports on television also involves loud noises, yelling at the TV, jumping up and down, etc. These are all activities enjoyed by 2 and 3 year old toddlers as well as people of moron and lower intellect. Proof that sports are targeted at an audience of severely limited intelligence is the fact that the programs all have announcers and commentators. When a player scores a point, the announcer/commentator tells the viewers that he just scored a point. Despite the fact that anyone watching the game can clearly see what’s happening, they also need to be told what’s happening because it’s all just too much for their 36 I.Q. to process. It makes me sad to think of all the better things we could accomplish as a society if we didn’t waste so much time and money on absurd and pointless sports.

  • Dino

    i love sports ;)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    And you don’t care who knows?

  • M161954

    There are masses and masses of people who follow football and baseball, hockey and such like hypnotized zombies. I don’t like sports, and no, I’m not limpwristed or sissified or anything like that. If a conversation comes up about the latest football game, and someone asks me what I think of it, and I tell them I don’t follow sports. I get looked at as though I’m some sort of leper and outcast. I don’t put on any fronts or acts for people, Im not competive, at this point in my life its a waste of time. Golf is another one. That is a perfect waste of prime realestate, how enjoyable can it be to watch someone hit a ball 500 yards and then clap for them like they are some kind of god? Just a misfit?