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  1. #1
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Default Why is athletic ability emphasized so much?

    In high school, at least where I went, athletic ability was prized far more above academic ability, musical ability, or artistic ability. In college, much of the attention goes to the star athletes rather than the star actors in theatre productions, or other activities. If you pick up the daily newspaper, there is typically a whole section devoted to just sports. Do other activities take up a whole section? No. An average newspaper has, say, around 4-6 sections. So that could be up to 25% of the newspaper devoted just to sports.

    So why the fascination with sports and athletic ability? Why does athletic ability prized to the degree it is compared to other abilities?

    My hypothesis stems from back in prehistoric times in hunter gather societies where physical abilities such as strength, speed, or endurance could literally mean the difference between life and death. Nowadays, these skills aren't as crucial. Technology can often compensate for weaknesses in physical abilities. However, human evolution hasn't caught up with the times, so I think there is still this primal instinct in humans to prize physical prowess and athleticism. Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Its entertainment. Much like why people watch sports like football and baseball in the first place. The football team screams louder, than say, the math club.

    Unless you grew up in a prestigious high school known for its top notch grades or ability in something else, sports will probably be bigger than academic/artistic performance. Hell, I was even given half a page of the high school yearbook even though I was in a not-so-great sports team.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Eckhart's Avatar
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    High school (or college? no idea) sports hype specifically is more a culture specific thing I would say. There is no such interest at all here about it.

    Going a bit off of that, it is the same though as why you are looked down on as if you are a retard when you are not very athletic at school and cannot throw the shot as far as the other people because you are not as strong, but it is perfectly fine when you cannot understand the simplest things in mathematics etc.; society values some traits much higher than others, and that differs again per culture.

  4. #4
    Klingon Warrior Princess Patches's Avatar
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    In high school it never seemed like that to me, but I came from a household that put academics above all else. So maybe I just ignored the sports kids.

    In college, the obvious reason is... because sports brings in A LOT of money. If you can fill a football stadium, then your football team is your biggest cash crop. I had this conversation when looking at the average salaries of college professors vs college football coaches. Coaches made 3-5 times as much. And then someone made the point that it's because 'that football team is what pays for your microscopes, nerd. No one's going to fill a stadium to watch you dissect a frog.'
    “Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside
    them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.” -Neil Gaiman

    ~

  5. #5
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Because it's fun to watch -> people watch sports and pay money -> more money to sports. I strongly doubt that athletic ability can be considered as over-emphasized wrt intellectual ability: star athletes are the equivalent of nobel prizes, which seem to get quite a good share of attention. Being a smart cookie is similar to being an above-average soccer player: most people won't give a shit about it, except those closest to you and/or those you happen to play with.

    Going a bit off of that, it is the same though as why you are looked down on as if you are a retard when you are not very athletic at school and cannot throw the shot as far as the other people because you are not as strong, but it is perfectly fine when you cannot understand the simplest things in mathematics etc.; society values some traits much higher than others, and that differs again per culture.
    Are you really sure about that? In my experience, "dumb" people are made fun of as much as extremely uncoordinated gals, when you're past 15 years of age.
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  6. #6
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Athletic activity evokes a much more intense and immediate emotional response in observers than the other endeavors you mention. The other ones require you to think a while before you truly appreciate it.

  7. #7
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Music doesn't involve an immediate emotional response?

  8. #8
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    Music doesn't involve an immediate emotional response?
    Not the type generally taught within the schools

  9. #9

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    It is easy to measure.

  10. #10
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Because there are too many SPs and not enough Intuitives and SJs?

    SPs are the ones who enjoy sports and athletic stuff...

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