Browsing All Posts filed under »what is a sport?«

This bullfighter needs a left tackle…

March 7, 2012

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…though he is clearly not lacking in cojones. This post may interrupt the flow of posts on the NFL’s “bountygate” (last seen here) but the surreal juxtaposition probably isn’t out of place. Is a bullfighter an athlete? an artist? a butcher? sad clown? all of the above? Well, if Juan Jos√© Padilla¬†were an NFL player, […]

Is there nothing we can’t sportify?

February 22, 2011

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Sumo, discussed in the previous post, is a rare example of a sport that is threatening to desportify. Perhaps the last one to do this was “professional” wrestling, which began as a version of one of the oldest competitions known to humans — hell, to beasts — and replaced the entire competitive element with scripted […]

Is sumo a real sport?

February 22, 2011

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A couple of weeks ago I blogged about sumo wrestling over at Ethics for Adversaries. A lot of the stuff I used to blog about here — especially issues over rules, regulations, and norms of sportsmanship — is also fair game over there, but I will try to at least cross-reference posts that could fit […]

Sport and religion: Does Jesus want you to pray for His help?

January 21, 2011

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Did Jesus make me (able to) do it? He certainly gets a lot of credit. Not as many shout-outs as He gets at the Grammies. But he still seems to get credit for His fair share of home runs, touchdown catches, and buzzer-beaters. During my unintended blogging hiatus in the autumn I failed to pass […]

And just like that… it’s the beginning of the end of the 2010-11 NFL season

January 14, 2011

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Sorry about that. I disappeared for three months. From here, anyway. Life happens. There was so much going on I had to choose between writing about sports and watching sports in my free time, and I opted for the latter. Hopefully I can continue to do both from now on. In the meantime, the long […]

More on “Why no gatherer-sports?”

September 18, 2010

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[This post picks up where the previous one left off. Both are jumping off from a question posed on the blog Overcoming Bias. Somehow two weeks elapsed since that last post — coincidentally the onset of my fall teaching term at Duke.] It seems to make sense to enquire about the “primordial” roots of either […]

“Why no Gatherer-sports?”

September 4, 2010

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There’s an old adage one hears in business schools to describe managers with a limited range of management skills (and presumably limited career prospects): if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And if the only two tools you have are a hammer and a saw, every problem […]

Nerds v. Jocks: twin brothers from different mothers?

August 28, 2010

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OK, it’s not exactly Superman v. Batman, but a pretty fierce and very nerdy debate has erupted following a post over at Overcoming Bias, and continuing on at Marginal Revolution (two of the consistently smartest blogs in the ‘sphere). Why do nerds — for want of a better term, though we may also be talking […]

Embracing the Arbitrary, part 1: why arbitrary rules make sports great.

August 14, 2010

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At the end of the previous post I promised to explore some implications of the late Professor Suits’s extraordinary clarification of the concept of a game. (And then I disappeared into work and travel for more than a week.) The intuition is that a better understanding of what makes a sport a sport will help […]

It’s a Funny Old Game. Of course: games are weird by definition

August 1, 2010

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Legendary English striker Jimmy Greaves found opportunities every week to shake his head, smile, and note what a “funny old game” football (soccer) was. We might call that a catchphrase now. But, at least in his early years as a television pundit in the 1980s, it always seemed to come out as his most genuine, […]

Soccer vs American Sports, part 5: Does taking the hands out of play make a sport inferior?

July 31, 2010

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During the 2002 World Cup, Allen Barra, a great American sports writer (and acclaimed reviewer of books in general) published an infamous anti-soccer rant. The target of the rant was an alleged “swarm of soccer nerds and bullies reminding us how backward and provincial we [good ol’ American sports fans] are for not appreciating soccer […]

When is a Sport not a Sport?

July 28, 2010

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Do we need to answer the question “What is a sport?” in order to address questions about which sports are better than others, or how to improve any given sport or spectator’s experience? I suspect not. But reflecting for a moment on the different fundamental features of various sports does help us to explain why […]

Is Cheerleading a Sport?

July 27, 2010

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More post-World-Cup reflections on soccer soon. But in the meantime, a philosophical debate about sport erupted on a slow summer sports-news day last week. In case you missed it, here’s the AP’s account of the story: Competitive cheerleading is not an official sport that colleges can use to meet gender-equity requirements, a federal judge ruled […]