Spectator Sports

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Spectator Sports

#1  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 06, 2014 12:43 pm

In the topic, France's 75% tax rate gains approval by top court, Strontium Dog made this post (emphasis mine):

Strontium Dog wrote:
MattHunX wrote:I love how it is the football clubs complaining about the loss of ridiculously overpaid players. No sportsman, not matter what their sport is, should be payed millions and billions. It is just disgusting. I heard on the radio that this Vettel guy, from the F1, was voted the sportsman of the friggin' year or something like that, got some honors, really...? Okay, I get how mentally and/or physically taxing speeding around for an hour and more + resulting tunnel vision can get, but they still shouldn't be payed so disgustingly much. Not in any sport.


Simple laws of supply and demand.

Their salaries are being funded by fans who willingly pay for match tickets, merchandise, TV subscriptions and the like.

Anyone who has a problem with it is free to butt the fuck out and leave culture to the people who enjoy it and who stump up the bill for it.

This exchange followed:
The_Metatron wrote:
Strontium Dog wrote:
The_Metatron wrote:Culture?

You do amuse from time to time.

In what sense is spectator sport not a cultural activity?

...

To hell with that. You asserted that it is, you support your assertion.

And here we are.

Is spectator sport what one would consider a cultural activity (whatever that means)?
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Re: Spectator Sports

#2  Postby DarthHelmet86 » Jan 06, 2014 12:48 pm

Well Aussie rules football is generally considered cultural to Australia. I find the sport boring like most sports but we don't often have riots and the like over it. I really don't find a sport much different to a play or a opera, people pay to see people with skills preform. I see just as much discussion about what plays were made, who is playing well and who isn't and why as I do people talking about the latest play and the meanings embedded within it and I find both to be worthy of discussion.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#3  Postby Weaver » Jan 06, 2014 12:54 pm

I think that sports are an important part of many cultures - unfortunately.

They are certainly pretty big in the US, with baseball in declining popularity, football pretty widely watched (certainly on the Super Bowl) and basketball very strong particularly among certain minority groups. Hockey, jai alai and curling come much lower on the popularity scale.

Why do I say "unfortunately"? Because of the massive amount of public money wasted on this - which means that those not interested in sport cannot simply avoid it. Tax money is spent to build the stadiums, to fund entire industries (did you know that the multi-billion dollar NFL doesn't pay taxes at all?), hell, even television broadcasts are curtailed if local fans don't buy enough tickets - absolutely absurd intrusion of the "sport" business into public life, especially in a country otherwise without national control of television stations.

If people want to kick around a ball at a park, that's fine. If they want to organize themselves to kick the ball around, fine. If they want me to buy them a mega stadium, then tell me I cannot watch their play in my stadium unless I pay them more money, they can fuck right off.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#4  Postby Banzai! » Jan 06, 2014 12:55 pm

"popular culture" is certainly heavily laden with spectator sports.

Go to a stadium with large numbers of other people and it can be exhilarating in the same way perhaps as a concert and the like, especially if you have a perceived affiliation with one of the competing entities.

Personally, I love sport as entertainment and as a participant.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#5  Postby Sendraks » Jan 06, 2014 12:57 pm

Is the sport itself cultural or is it all the fandom which surrounds it the culture?

I see the following of sports such as Football, Rugby, American Football and so forth, as little more than tribalism in a modern setting, with all the sadness that implies.

It may be a cultural thing, but that doesn't mean it is a positive or worth a damn.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#6  Postby Weaver » Jan 06, 2014 1:04 pm

Terry Pratchett did an interesting examination on the culture of sport in his book Unseen Academicals. The tribalism of the fandom, and the enjoyment of the fan experience regardless of what actually happened on the "field", were brought up in detail. Very funny, as usual.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#7  Postby trubble76 » Jan 06, 2014 1:04 pm

Weaver wrote:I think that sports are an important part of many cultures - unfortunately.

They are certainly pretty big in the US, with baseball in declining popularity, football pretty widely watched (certainly on the Super Bowl) and basketball very strong particularly among certain minority groups. Hockey, jai alai and curling come much lower on the popularity scale.

Why do I say "unfortunately"? Because of the massive amount of public money wasted on this - which means that those not interested in sport cannot simply avoid it. Tax money is spent to build the stadiums, to fund entire industries (did you know that the multi-billion dollar NFL doesn't pay taxes at all?), hell, even television broadcasts are curtailed if local fans don't buy enough tickets - absolutely absurd intrusion of the "sport" business into public life, especially in a country otherwise without national control of television stations.

If people want to kick around a ball at a park, that's fine. If they want to organize themselves to kick the ball around, fine. If they want me to buy them a mega stadium, then tell me I cannot watch their play in my stadium unless I pay them more money, they can fuck right off.


I don't think it's unfortunate, I think sports provides a healthy alternative to other forms of tribal combat. All the money we spend on sports pales in comparison to the money we'd spend on less safe forms of conflict. I think humans have a competitive drive, and if we do not channel it to socially acceptable activities, it will manifest itself in less desirable ways.
Plus there are the health benefits, both physical and mental from playing sports and teams games.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#8  Postby Sendraks » Jan 06, 2014 1:16 pm

trubble76 wrote: All the money we spend on sports pales in comparison to the money we'd spend on less safe forms of conflict.


Surely we could spend the money on more intellectually rewarding things than just watching 22 overpaid bozos kick a ball around a field?

Might I suggest LARP as a safe alternative to combat?
And football.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#9  Postby DarthHelmet86 » Jan 06, 2014 1:20 pm

Sendraks wrote:
trubble76 wrote: All the money we spend on sports pales in comparison to the money we'd spend on less safe forms of conflict.


Surely we could spend the money on more intellectually rewarding things than just watching 22 overpaid bozos kick a ball around a field?

Might I suggest LARP as a safe alternative to combat?
And football.


It doesn't have to be intellectually rewarding, not to mention sports can be.

Though I would happily turn LARP into a national sport, I vote myself as the head player for my team. A mighty cleric of Ilmater.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#10  Postby Blip » Jan 06, 2014 1:23 pm

The_Metatron wrote:
Is spectator sport what one would consider a cultural activity (whatever that means)?


I suppose it depends on whether you are using 'culture' in the sense of the arts and other achievements or the customs of a society. If the first, it is arguable; if the second, it is demonstrably so.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#11  Postby trubble76 » Jan 06, 2014 1:27 pm

Sendraks wrote:
trubble76 wrote: All the money we spend on sports pales in comparison to the money we'd spend on less safe forms of conflict.


Surely we could spend the money on more intellectually rewarding things than just watching 22 overpaid bozos kick a ball around a field?

Might I suggest LARP as a safe alternative to combat?
And football.


Yes, we could. People like what they like though, some choose footy and some choose LARP. I don't think one is an intrinsically superior way of wasting time than the other.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#12  Postby ED209 » Jan 06, 2014 1:30 pm

A man shitting in a field is performing a biological activity.

A man kicking a ball in a field is performing a physical activity.

Someone stood next to the field watching the first man is performing a cultural activity.

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Re: Spectator Sports

#13  Postby Banzai! » Jan 06, 2014 1:32 pm

The economics of sport is a side issue. The plain fact is that an enormous percentage of the population (particularly males?) enjoy sport, sure its tribal and or vicarious combat or whatever, but its still enjoyable and sometimes just watching someone very skilled performing is worth watching just so you can see what they can do ( I sometimes look at Luis Suarez that way for instance).

oh, and its got to be better than watching the Eastenders omnibus on a sunday afternoon ;)
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Re: Spectator Sports

#14  Postby Blackadder » Jan 06, 2014 1:36 pm

Sendraks wrote:
trubble76 wrote: All the money we spend on sports pales in comparison to the money we'd spend on less safe forms of conflict.


Surely we could spend the money on more intellectually rewarding things than just watching 22 overpaid bozos kick a ball around a field?

Might I suggest LARP as a safe alternative to combat?
And football.


What you find intellectually rewarding may bore others to tears. Football is wildly popular across the entire world. This is because it is an easy game to learn, requires no equipment other than a ball and is fun. It transcends language, age and all other forms of culture. It is perhaps the only truly global cultural pastime. What other activity could bond together a child in a remote African village, an Ivy League scholar and a Chinese factory worker? No form of music, theatre, dance or pushing buttons on a console in a darkened room could achieve the same connection.

I understand not everyone likes football. That's fine. But trying to dismiss it as stupid or irrelevant is mere intellecual snobbery. Asserting that it is not a cultural phenomenon is plain wrong.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#15  Postby Agrippina » Jan 06, 2014 1:42 pm

Yay! More people who don't get the whole business of "all hail the mighty worship of sport and sportspeople." :roll:

I get that people should exercise so they don't turn into overweight hermits who chat on the internet all day and never go out of their houses except to work, or buy food. What I don't get it why it has to be the religion that it is.

When I complain about watching a sports match, any of them, as being boring, and repetitive - same 15 guys running around with a ball in their hands, chasing each other to crouch down and grab each other's crotches to avoid the other 15 guys getting the ball - I'm shouted down about how what i find entertaining on TV is also a repetition of the previous week's episode.

Boring, just bloody boring. Then there's the 5-day cricket match. 11 men standing on a field throwing a ball at one of the other 11 to hit, while crowds pay vast sums of money to watch at the stadium and other crowds huddle around a television for those 5 days just to see who gets more runs. Boring. Test matches have to be the most boring sport ever invented. But I'm the bad guy for saying that. :roll: :roll:

I can understand a quick T20 match that's over in 4 hours and when it's meant as entertainment. But 5 freaking days of men in white outfits just standing there hitting a ball around?

Then there's the drama around people who actually play club sports. OMG the drama. You have to wear a white uniform to roll a ball on grass or the sky will fall down. Why the white uniform, when you're merely playing bowls against your friends. And you have to belong to the provincial and national controlling body, even if you're only playing a game against your best friends, and not actually competing.

Then there's the nonsense with "ladies' " teams. Not women, the women who play bowls, or tennis, or croquet, or whatever boring pastime they indulge in are all "ladies." Oh sigh! :roll:
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Re: Spectator Sports

#16  Postby Agrippina » Jan 06, 2014 1:43 pm

Banzai! wrote:The economics of sport is a side issue. The plain fact is that an enormous percentage of the population (particularly males?) enjoy sport, sure its tribal and or vicarious combat or whatever, but its still enjoyable and sometimes just watching someone very skilled performing is worth watching just so you can see what they can do ( I sometimes look at Luis Suarez that way for instance).

oh, and its got to be better than watching the Eastenders omnibus on a sunday afternoon ;)


Who says you have to watch Eastenders? Why can't you spend Sunday afternoon reading a book? :ask:
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Re: Spectator Sports

#17  Postby Weaver » Jan 06, 2014 1:43 pm

I disagree that the economics of it is a side issue. If it were truly massively culturally important, it would be self-funding. Instead, it's big business riding on the heels of the cultural popularity, and stealing tax monies to fund itself while convincing the rubes that they should pay for it.

Tax exemptions, anti-monopoly law exemptions, outright public funding of private enterprise - these are what I object to. If teams want to spend their ticket revenue to fund stadiums and draw crowds, fine. But for me to build (with my tax money) the stadium so a big business can make even more untaxed profit is obnoxious - it's akin to my tax money being used to build a factory so day laborers can be bilked of their meager salaries to pay million-dollar salaries to the foremen, and the company get a complete tax break so they are incentivized to demand another stadium - and have the money to pay a lobbyist to get it from the politicians.
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Re: Spectator Sports

#18  Postby ED209 » Jan 06, 2014 1:44 pm

Don't confuse someone having fun and deriving health benefits playing football with some couchbound slob watching it on TV, though. What's that about?

I don't believe something so sedentary is explained by the 'vicarious combat' cliche.

I also think the other gigantic sporting phenomenons of formula one and WWE wrestling are illuminating examples.

Edit: that was in response to blackadder
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Re: Spectator Sports

#19  Postby Agrippina » Jan 06, 2014 1:47 pm

Weaver wrote:I disagree that the economics of it is a side issue. If it were truly massively culturally important, it would be self-funding. Instead, it's big business riding on the heels of the cultural popularity, and stealing tax monies to fund itself while convincing the rubes that they should pay for it.

Tax exemptions, anti-monopoly law exemptions, outright public funding of private enterprise - these are what I object to. If teams want to spend their ticket revenue to fund stadiums and draw crowds, fine. But for me to build (with my tax money) the stadium so a big business can make even more untaxed profit is obnoxious - it's akin to my tax money being used to build a factory so day laborers can be bilked of their meager salaries to pay million-dollar salaries to the foremen, and the company get a complete tax break so they are incentivized to demand another stadium - and have the money to pay a lobbyist to get it from the politicians.


Exactly. Then there's the tax money that's used to build stadiums so that thousands of fans can come over for an event that not every citizen wants to pay for, and the excuse that "it brings in tourists." So why don't the sports bodies themselves pay for the stadiums, why my tax money?
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Re: Spectator Sports

#20  Postby trubble76 » Jan 06, 2014 1:47 pm

Agrippina wrote:Yay! More people who don't get the whole business of "all hail the mighty worship of sport and sportspeople." :roll:

I get that people should exercise so they don't turn into overweight hermits who chat on the internet all day and never go out of their houses except to work, or buy food. What I don't get it why it has to be the religion that it is.

When I complain about watching a sports match, any of them, as being boring, and repetitive - same 15 guys running around with a ball in their hands, chasing each other to crouch down and grab each other's crotches to avoid the other 15 guys getting the ball - I'm shouted down about how what i find entertaining on TV is also a repetition of the previous week's episode.

Boring, just bloody boring. Then there's the 5-day cricket match. 11 men standing on a field throwing a ball at one of the other 11 to hit, while crowds pay vast sums of money to watch at the stadium and other crowds huddle around a television for those 5 days just to see who gets more runs. Boring. Test matches have to be the most boring sport ever invented. But I'm the bad guy for saying that. :roll: :roll:

I can understand a quick T20 match that's over in 4 hours and when it's meant as entertainment. But 5 freaking days of men in white outfits just standing there hitting a ball around?

Then there's the drama around people who actually play club sports. OMG the drama. You have to wear a white uniform to roll a ball on grass or the sky will fall down. Why the white uniform, when you're merely playing bowls against your friends. And you have to belong to the provincial and national controlling body, even if you're only playing a game against your best friends, and not actually competing.

Then there's the nonsense with "ladies' " teams. Not women, the women who play bowls, or tennis, or croquet, or whatever boring pastime they indulge in are all "ladies." Oh sigh! :roll:


Yes, I'm sure your friends and family love how you wait until they are watching something they find interesting and then bang on about how boring you find it, perhaps next time you will convince them to hate it too? Failing that, you could always try to make it boring for them too by moaning every time it's on.

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