Volume 93, Issue 47

Tuesday, November 23, 1999


Western runs rampant on Guelph

The streak is over - Mustangs' tie

Past meets present in b-ball battle

Mustangs happy with silver

What is the deal with sports?

What is the deal with sports?

So tell me – what is the point of sports, anyway?

Many will say the question should be, what is the social purpose of sports? Do sports and the sporting world have any real value in our society?

To be honest, I'm not an expert in every aspect of the sporting world – as my hockey pool scores will prove soon enough – but it occurs to me that in a very unique way there is no real difference between watching a sport and watching a movie. Examine movies and a sporting event closely and you can see more than small similarities.

Movies are often about suspending your belief in reality – do you really believe you can drive a car at a 140 km/h on a downtown street, or that true love is out there waiting for you around the next corner?

Movies and television put viewers in a fantasy world, where anything can happen. There's a story and a climax. A good show simply entertains and provides a sense of anticipation as to how things will turn out for the characters. Will the end be happy or sad, a tragedy or a triumph? Unless you've seen it before, you're going to want to see what happens in the end.

So how about sports? Well, does watching a baseball game really differ much from watching your favourite television drama or movie? There is also a level of suspending your belief in reality.

Consider believing that Mark McGwire can do the impossible or Mark Messier can lead a team to another Stanley Cup. They're not saving the world, but what does it matter? Games have the best plots ever, because they're so unpredictable – you never really know how it's going to turn out.

You would never have guessed that Babe Ruth was going to point to the fences and then hit one out of the park, or that Joe Carter was going to win the World Series with one swing in the bottom of the ninth. There's always that doubt about how things will end and that's what makes sports much more exciting.

But sports, whether professional or just a pick-up game in someone's backyard, has more than just entertainment value. It helped bring peace in war, even if only for just a few moments. A soccer game during the First World War between the Germans and the British can attest to that.

While it is true sports have caused chaos in the form of such things as riots, they have also created numerous heroes who are looked up to by thousands.

In the end, all sports and their athletes, are some of the most revered figure heroes produced in the 20th century. Sports provide some of the most exciting entertainment available – it's unpredictability produces a level of enjoyment which far surpasses that of movies or television.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999