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Louis Ades

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Why did humans invent sports and why do so many people love watching and playing competitive sports games?

I'm not asking why certain individuals are attracted to sports. Obviously people find it exciting, thrilling, entertaining etc. My question is why do people find it to be so exhilarating?? Why is it exciting? Why is it entertaining? Why do athletes enjoy sports so much? Is it simply the sublimation of our evolutionary drives in a way that is accepted by society? What are the psychological, historical, scientific, etc. reasons for us creating and participating in competitive sports?

Also, how do you think we can use the popularity of sports to make the world a better place?


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  • Nov 25 2012: The endorphine rush. Goals and glory. Initially, men could test their strength / skill without killing each other.
    Also, they could show-case their prowess and hopefully impress the girlies. Pretty much the same reason some elderly men drive fire-engine red sports cars, it screams "Check me out, ladies, see what a hunter / gatherer I am !" But that's the same reason that men do practically everything. Like gorillas thumping their chests, like stags clashing their antlers, like birds flashing their plumage and adorning their nests. A universal imperative if a chap hopes to reproduce and pass on his genes. We can't help ourselves. It's our inner cave-man !
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      Nov 25 2012: Haha, love the way you explained that. But what about watching sports? Why would someone sit home on their couch watching someone else engage in these "cave-man" like acts and get entertained by it? If anything we should become jealous or angry.
      • Nov 25 2012: We admire them, we'd like to be like them but realise we've missed the boat, or, if we're honest, we admit to ourselves we don't have what it takes. So we adopt them as mascots and enlist them into the service of our tribes. I use the term "tribe" loosely. Your neighbourhood, your city, your school, your nation..........
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          Nov 25 2012: But there are plenty of people who have never played sports themselves and never wanted to, yet they can watch others play and they'll still enjoy it. And it's not because they want to be like them and realized that they can't....
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        Nov 26 2012: Some sports are beautiful to watch, so people might watch them in the same way that people might view a painting they could not paint, listen to music they could not play, or watch a ballet they could not dance.

        There may be an innate attraction to the narrative of a hero's journey- observing or sharing in the journey of heroes, with sporting events modeling struggle, failure, and success.
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        Nov 29 2012: Each cave-man member of the winner colony would get a piece of the booty. That is why the “watchers” supporting the winners are happy instinctively, though in vain today.

        Hence, watching sports is a kind of INVALID happiness.


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