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I dislike most team and spectator sports. The reasons I dislike sports are the reasons most people like them. In this world with so much confusion, the one means of escape for the sheep of this world are sports, which they indulge in simply because there's a clear cut winner and loser. "Almost nothing else is so simple as stark, and indeed as the consequential sectors of life become more and more untidy in this post-cold war, confused sexual-etiquette age, obsessing over sports scores becomes to many people a tempting refuge."

People sometimes criticise me for looking at things too analytically, but this is as (boolean) logical as the innards of a digital computer. Scores, in the end, map onto either a "win" or a "loss" (even if there is a temporary collision, it is almost always worked out to yield true/false answer). "Scores all so obvious and pure---too damned obvious and pure for those of us inclined to suss out subtle meanings and unseen truths. Where are the paradoxes and the ironies? Where is the rich, dialetical unfolding?"

But certain sports (using a broad definition) say car and motocycle racing, skiing, bungy jumping, sky diving, etc., have forms that don't have a winner or loser. Rather, it is the event that matters. Much as I enjoy some of these sorts of sports, I would still claim that they don't play an important role in my life, and I don't like them as much, as, say reading a good thought-provoking book. This now digresses into something I claim: programming is better than sex. While it could be interpreted literally, I am referring to the fact that the mental activities that we can perform transcends anything physical we can do.

Sure, things like drag racing, or skiing, give you a big rush, and I think physical rushes are necessary once in a while, but most sports are overrated. You look at dogs having sex and they pretty much look like humans having sex (or vice versa), but have you ever seen a thoughtful expression on a dog's face like a human has when they are contemplating something really deep? (The humans, i.e., not the dogs.)

Sports have no interest to me mainly because they are a form of escapism. In the end, a team has won, a team has lost, and you've not gotten anything out of it. (Even the thrill of watching has gotten progressively more dull in certain games like basketball, where scoring has become rather routine.) Sports hold no interest to me because they can never compare to an intellectual activity. And finally, certain sports simply suck (like football or baseball).

So, who do you think will win this Sunday?

- from Ram Samudrala of ram.org, used with permission

(Diclaimer: This reply is to the essay itself, not to dmd who isn't the author apparently)

This is an interesting thing, this intellectuals not liking sports. My belief, though possibly unfounded, is that early-on anti-sports people (including myself, at one time) associated the persecutors with sports fans. The reason I come to this conclusion is the sick overgeneralizations associated with "jocks" and above-noted sports fans.

To say that "obsessing over sports scores becomes to many people a tempting refuge" is a little hypocritical. I believe that sitting in one's bedroom reading books, contemplating conundrums, writing koans, or programming a Babbage-monster, these are all tempting refuges just like sports are, just refuges for different types of people.

And to say that sports fans only care about the objective, cut-and-dried, black-and-whites of scores is absolutely ludicrous. Sports are, first of all, a bonding experience, whether played or watched. Second of all, there are subtleties to be sussed out, paradoxes AND ironies. The weights and heights of individual players, the temperaments of coaches, the weather and city, which team YOU want to win, which team your buddies want to win, and which team wins and why. These are all very in-depth things.

Okay, now, to say that sports are simply "a rush" is a little narrow-minded. Rhetoric, debate, writing, and programming all rely on instinct, reflex, repeat, recourse, and all come to some sort of an end. The same set of skills is used in sports, just in a different way. A hammer can just as effectively break a wall as it can put a nail into it.

Sports as escapism? Now, that's just Pol Pot calling the kettle black. When dealing with sports, many times you have to deal with other people, yeah-believe it or not, real flesh-and-blood OTHER PEOPLE! Programming seems, to me at least, like a rather sterile thing. Sometimes deep philosophical discourses with oneself seems a little sterile as well, and sometimes there's just nothing better to talk about. Sometimes I get bored of Decartes and Nietzche and Focault and all I wanna do is watch a few Canadian fellows chase a piece of heavy rubber across a small simulated icefield.

And now a special retort to the anti-sport "geek" community. A kid, alone, in his driveway throwing a ball through a hoop is the same thing as a kid dissassembling a program in his bedroom. Two guys talking about the most recent Wolves vs. Rivermen game is the same thing as two virtual adepts talking about how much better Linux is than Windows. And finally, two teams of well-built surly mo-foes ramming into one-another is the same thing as two teams of digital savants trying to one-up each other in the realm of ones and zeros. It's all just masturbation, just like every other activity - flight in a life of gravity, and some people masturbate differently.

To be honest, I have a prejudice against "geeks", what other group of people can claim that their perceived enemies are "sheep" (ooooh, I hate Microsoft, Bill Gates is the devil, I love Mountain Dew!), "escapists" (I'm going to sit here in my unclean bedroom and type code, with only the company of fellow geeks in their own dirty bedrooms, until the AGH!-sun rises!), and disinterested in anything worth interest. To be frank, I don't care about how much better one system is than another, I don't care about seamless networks, all I care about is how fast I can get to my Harry Browne website and how fast I can get to my favorite porno site. Maybe that's protozoan of me, but to each their own, eh?

Ya see how wonderful that is - I, a smart person, don't like what you like! I, a smart person, am interested in the scores of surly men who hit one-another, and you are not! You, a smart person, like stuff I don't! It's wonderful!

Now I will relay a short story about how I learned that not every athlete is dumb and not every philosopher is smart. I was in my senior American History class and I was grouped with three people who I considered "jocks", one of which was really hot (but I digress). I got to talking to one of them about "deep" things, about man vs. superman and about Aristotle's physics and stuff like that. So the really hot one turns to me and says, "Yeah, I bet you're the kind of person who thinks that 'cause we play football we're all dumb, huh?" He gave a small, knowing smile, and I shrunk to the size of Yoko Ono. He continued, "So now that Cliff here talked to you about all that, let's see what you think about (insert football play I can't remember)." I sat there utterly stumped, the third "jock" turned around in reply to my silence and uttered, "Check...and...mate."
That was a Friday, actually the night of the Homecoming Game, and I went. I noticed the grace of movement, the strategy of the game, and the tight asses of the players (and cheerleaders, I'm an open-minded homosexual). The next day I saw my group-mates at Homecoming and we talked, and we wound up becoming friends. I learned a lot, and they did too, simply because I learned to (or was forced to) drop my magical forcefield of stereotypes!

By the way, Epicureans are just pissed 'cause they can't get laid.

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