This is a comment by Rick on the post “Real Men Don’t Watch Sports“.
While sports sometimes have a tendency to seem violent and bring out hostile “manly” attitudes, someone who has lived through them has a different perspective.
1. There are intangibles to playing sports which it appears you’ve never experienced: self-discipline, mental toughness, overcoming hardship, facing fear, camaraderie. If you don’t see why men bond through hardship that’s your own inexperience at fault.
2. Unnaturally muscled meatheads? What a sad and insulting way to look at people not like you. It reeks of the same whininess that the “nice guys” always do: instead of just being better, or being happy with who you are, you have to tear down other people for who they are. Really, for who you imagine they are. Plenty of athletes are incredibly smart. But all you see, resentfully, is muscles.
3. Men love to “talk shop.” Sports give a common subject for men from different walks of life to “talk shop.” I’m a philosophy student. I can’t talk shop with most of my friends because the finer points of modal logic do not interest them. But we can talk about sports.
4. It’s inspiring to see other human beings achieve. It’s exciting to see strategy and skill play out. And it’s nice to see sincerity in our culture, not just smirking irony or spoiled-child “authenticity.” Athletes are nothing if not sincere.
5. Go read a poem? Seriously? I love poetry. I memorize it for fun. I recite it on long drives to myself. I still recognize that encouraging men to *play* the sport instead of watching it is smarter advice.
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