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?