Sport is war.
There are three basic modes of combat – fighting, fleeing and flouncing.
Fighting sports are self-evident. The javelin is designed to impale other people from a safe distance. Greyhound racing involves athletes motivated by thoughtless impulses to catch and kill the hare. I presume the only function of the trainer is to give doggy treats and a pat to the losers, and the winner doesn’t get the hare anyway.
Chess boxing is an interesting meld of two seemingly different competitions.
Simply put, there are three minutes in the ring then three minutes of chess.
I had occasion to speak to a ChessBoxer some years ago and he said the most difficult part was the mental gear-shift from the exchange of bashings to the contemplation of strategy. Both chess and boxing seek the same outcome – yield and subjugate. The king is never killed. He merely abdicates.
Fleeing sports never describe their champions as leading Flee-men.
Consider swimming. If I ask you to picture a warrior swimming towards a raging conflict, I suspect the best you can come up with is a pirate with headscarf and eyepatch bobbing in the water with a knife between his teeth.
I don’t fancy his chances outside of Hollywood.
Sport is a staple diet of the media. Conveniently, it is exactly the same contest each week with commentary made by observers picking microscopically at minor variations.
These athletes are themselves in denial about the true essence of their combat.
Swimmers who “beat” (that word again) other swimmers invariably punch the air in their triumph. Men with guns, the most definitive of war sports, typically celebrate alongside their losing colleagues by amiably drinking beer and smoking cigarettes with them.
Sport is a staple diet of the media. Conveniently, it is exactly the same contest each week with commentary made by observers picking microscopically at minor variations. To them, the obvious is invisible and rarely examined with scientific detachment.
In televised sports, the commentary is superfluous. They are stating the self-evident.
Stephen Jay Gould, the academic Darwinian palaeontologist made statistical observations of why we will not see an outlying baseball hero like Babe Ruth again. His essay “Entropic Heterogeneity Isn’t Why No One Hits 400 Anymore” can be more simply understood. It’s harder to stand out in a crowd when the crowd becomes bigger and more talented.
In “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell observes that, in football for “under six year olds”, the child born on January 1st is bigger and smarter than the child born on December 31st . Year after infant year, this biased calendar definition of age persists and the slightly older child grows to learn that he will probably win and so he persists. It is statistically shown in team sports. The best players often have birthdays at the start of the year.
Ice Hockey, for whatever reason, measures infant ages from the middle of the year and the commensurate skew of success in adult players can be observed.
Those sports which score by decimal places – gymnastics, high diving, synchronized swimming, ice skating – are flouncing sports.
Flouncing is a sport hard to place on a battlefield unless you know where to look.
You are braced for attack and apprehensive because you don’t know when the enemy will appear.
And then you hear the wind-drift of snare drums. They are joined in multitudes of unison by bagpipes. Finally, pennants atop lances appear at the crest of the hill before you.
You can’t even see them and yet you don’t have a good feeling.
These are flouncing sports.
I am indebted to a friend who laughed out loud while watching the Miss Universe competition on television decades ago. His mother asked why he was laughing and he replied that it was because of the absurd notion that they can now score women to 3 decimal places.
Those sports which score by decimal places – gymnastics, high diving, synchronized swimming, ice skating – are flouncing sports. Whilst there may be certain mandatory moves, there is a degree of aesthetics involved in the judging. It’s hard to put a number on “a feeling”.
My suggestions for sports invariably fall on closed ears.
Why not foot races where you can take whatever performance enhancing substances you think might help? Being punched in the head has a bad long term prognosis but that’s just boxing, right?
How about soccer with four teams on a square ground. Like Chinese Checkers, there are four goals, one on each side of the square. No doubt, alliances would be formed if one side gained a brief ascendancy. This is a war where you don’t want to lose but you collaborate to ensure no-one wins.
Australian football fuses all three modes of conflict.
It could remain in contention for years. Draw after draw.
I had a suggestion for the Open Range Zoo, where giraffes and zebras happily roam and coexist on the same plot of land. How about, just once a year, Predator Night where all the animals are released to sort it out for themselves as part of Darwin’s plan.
They stopped taking my calls.
Australian football fuses all three modes of conflict.
You fight to get the ball then flee once it is acquired. Flouncing occurs when, knees in the enemies back, you soar to catch the ball. If the ball is at the other end of the ground you will be charged with assault. If you actually catch the ball you will be rewarded on aesthetic grounds.
A good mark will be placed against your name.
Is it any wonder that AFL has more umpires than any other game?
If your team’s players defected to another team, would you go with them or stay with the jumper?
Does a rhetorical question need a question mark.