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Re: Re: At what rate are YOU progressing?

by turnstep (Parson)
on May 02, 2001 at 21:31 UTC ( #77429=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: At what rate are YOU progressing?
in thread At what rate are YOU progressing?

Dominus writes:

To be uninterested in sports is to be uninterested in the body and what it can do

Ah, but that was not the thrust of my argument. Their is a difference between enjoying a sport yourself, and being in touch with your body, and the mass worship of sport teams that occurs, and is driven more by money that true athleticism. Yes, the players on a basketball team may be good athletes, but the majority of people watching it are not watching it just for the appreciation of the athlete's body and the player's control of it - they are also rooting for their team and vicariously living through the team, as in "I can't beleive we lost the game by one point!" and "My team plays again next Friday." Most sports fans are far from being in touch with their own bodies, and do not participate in sports themselves, but merely watch it. There is nothing wrong with this: it is their choice; I just feel society as a whole would be better served if just 1% of the energy, brainpower, time, and money that goes into following organized sports were spent elsewhere. While I grant that watching sports does not really detract from a person's life, neither does it enhance it.

Sports are not incompatible with learning, exploring, or asking difficult questions of one's surroundings.

Performing sports, no, but watching them? What does one really gain from watching two hours of basketball? Again, this is a personal choice, but as you say, it's a way of "shutting off your brain."

I have no problem with watching TV or an interest in sports, but I will usually think higher of someone who *moderates* themselves in such activities, and has other interests, than someone who hovers around the national US average of 20+ hours per week watching TV. Is this an unfair judgement? Perhaps, but I've meet too many people in my life who have reinforced my opinion that few people actually *think* anymore, but merely wander through life. Luckily, a lot of the "thinking" people end up online, one reason I love PerlMonks as much as I do. :)

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Re: At what rate are YOU progressing?
by Dominus (Parson) on May 02, 2001 at 22:33 UTC
    Says turnstep:
    What does one really gain from watching two hours of basketball? Again, this is a personal choice, but as you say, it's a way of "shutting off your brain."
    I didn't say that, and you have completely missed my point. We are not in agreement.

    Watching sports can be done passively or actively. It can be as engaging and as fulfilling as any other activity, or as pointless as any other activity, depending on how it is done.

    I always find it interesting that people like to make these sorts of arguments against sports. The only explanation I have ever been able to find is that it is intellectual snobbery. I have never heard anyone say

    Performing opera, no, but listening to them? What does one really gain from listening the opera for two hours?
    Their is a difference between enjoying acting yourself, and the mass worship of actors that occurs and is driven by money.
    Similarly, Randal can make disparaging comments about "watching other people make millions of dollars while competing at kids games" but you never hear anyone say the same thing about Eddie Murphy or Jon Bon Jovi, even though they are engaged in pursuits that are just as frivolous and childish as playing basketball. At least, I never have heard such a thing.

    Eddie Murphy and Jon Bon Jovi make a lot of money. Why? Because they entertain a lot of people, so much that millions of those people are willing to spend their hard-earned money to see them do what they do. Professional athletes are the same way. They are entertainers. The fact that you consider this form of entertainment to be lowbrow just reflects badly on you.

    Watching a sports event has many of the same rewards as any other spectator activity: Emotional involvement, the pleasure of seeing something difficult done well, the sense of participating in a public spectacle. It has some others besides: The surprise of the unforseen, and the drama of struggle and accomplishment. You may be unable to appreciate this value, but that doesn't mean it is not there.

    Anyway, this is off-topic, so I will not be posting to this thread any more.

    Mark Dominus
    Perl Paraphernalia

Re (tilly) 3: At what rate are YOU progressing?
by tilly (Archbishop) on May 02, 2001 at 23:54 UTC
    The two of you are talking past each other.

    Dominus is saying that if you watch sports the right way, it can well be a worthwhile experience. You are saying that most people just zonk out in front of the set.

    You are both right.

    For the record, here is a data-point. At one point I found tennis uninteresting to watch. A few years later I saw tennis on TV (this was a couple of years ago, I had a TV) and I found it a fascinating game to watch. But I was still bored by watching basketball.

    What changed?

    Well I had started playing ping-pong fairly often with friends. Tennis and ping-pong are closely related sports with similar factors mattering. Obviously they are very different sports, but my interest in playing ping-pong meant that I was suddenly looking at a different - and far more interesting - game.

    Likewise until I tried to program, I found discussions of the practicality of programming boring. I could give detailed considerations of whether a set being uncountable meant that it was in some sense larger than a countable set, or merely that it had a more complex internal structure. (The orthodoxy is larger. I am not entirely orthodox in my opinions about the foundations of mathematics...) Today I find it more interesting to read discussion about questions like whether a better mental model for programming is black boxes with defined behaviour, or black boxes with fixed inputs and outputs you wire together in a network. (Check out the link on my home page about flow-based programming.)

    The topic, from sports to CS to math, is irrelevant. There is a world of difference between observers who are engaged in a learning process and observers who are not. I am, like Dominus, someone who enjoys being in a learning process. This engagement has no causal relationship with the subject at hand. Indeed I am not even sure that there is even a positive correlation between that kind of engagement and the subject of their engagement.

    But there is a strong correlation between having that kind of engagement and becoming competent.

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