Sports as an opiate for the masses

Sports are like religion: an opiate for the masses. They distract people from political engagement.

I don’t understand why people “root” for a team. Why should Seattle’s team be better than any other city’s team? And why should residents here take pride in victories? Sports must exploit some deep-seated need of humans to belong and to have an “us versus them” mentality.

Also, sports reinforce the glorification of war, competition and capitalism, instead of cooperation.

Maybe political parties exploit that mentality too, as do religions.

Luke Held responded:

Clearly you don’t like sports. Many people do. You seem to see only the negative aspects of sports. 600,000 people were on the streets to welcome the Seahawks super bowl home. You can see that negatively, or positively, it’s up to you. Sports bring people of many cultures and classes together in support of something. I don’t really hate people from San Francisco, but it’s fun to pretend and give them crap about their team. I can also talk to nearly anyone, anywhere about sports, across generation, race, whatever. Good luck going up to anyone and talking about health care reform without a fight. You might as well take away music too. It’s obviously only distraction, right? Movies? Art? Take it all away because its only distraction?

There is a limit though. ESPN is the most lucrative businesses in the media realm. It exploits people’s love of sports. It also provides crappy non-substantive coverage of sports, but people are desperate for distraction in these times of insecurity and stress. Sports provides a much needed outlet, but the line between over saturation is far too distorted towards the distraction side. Sports in general though are critical to a culture. Balance is key.

David Markham said “Competitive sports are ideal for controlled and healthy aggression – which isn’t going away anytime soon.

I wonder if there is a correlation between sports fandom and religiosity or conservatism.

Indeed, this Forbes article from 2010 is relevant: Study: Sports Fans Skew Republican.

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