Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Re: Why do we compete? (cont'd)

Someone a while back (I think it was Bill James, but it has been a couple of decades since I read this) who pointed out some cultural ideas about the most popular sports in America.


  • Football as an allegory for war
  • Basketball as an allegory for street traffic

I'm going to venture the connection and change it from the original for baseball

  • Baseball as an allegory for law and order

In football, there are the two teams (combatants) being overseen by the referees (international courts/governing bodies). 

In basketball, there are also two teams, but also simultaneously ten individuals whose ebb and flow is monitored by traffic cops - the essential rule is 'no harm, no foul'.

In baseball, (in my view, at least) the pre-eminent personages on the field are not the two teams, nor the indivudal players, but the umpires.

In the first two, it is relatively rare to see a player ejected for kicking dirt on the referee's shoes (especially since basketball is played on hardwood). The coach or player may get tossed on an infrequent basis for an overabundance of badinage directed at the ref. Of course, Bob Knight is the pre-eminent exception - a flying chair is a bit more substantial than  a cloud of dirt. Football players almost never get tossed. I can only recall (vaguely) a handful of situations where a player gets the hook, and it's usually for a dangerous play on the field rather than abuse of a referee.

Now there's baseball. Players and managers regularly receive the regulatory finger towards the dugout for disputing plays, pitches (which nowadays is almost automatic), or just raising hell on general principle.

That being said...

All sports have rules a myriad of them that requires players, coaches/managers, and umpires to all have what almost amounts to a law degree. At the professional (and in certain cases, the college level), there are rules about activity and behaviour off the field as well as on. Gambling on games, certain types of public behaviour, and performance enhancing substances all have regulations applied to them.

Baseball, by my allegory, is the ethical touchstone for all the other popular sports in this country. It is still called the National Pastime. So is it any wonder that, given the currently-playing-out aftermath of the Mitchell Report, as well as the Congressional hearings which began three years ago, such a magnifying glass is aimed directly at baseball? Nothing of this magnitude has happened to this pastime since the Black Sox (although the seventies and eighties saw the amphetamine surge which was quashed in fairly short order by the organization).

I watched the first hearings wherein Mark McGuire, Jose Canseco, Bud Selig, and Donald Fehr (among others) 'testified' before a the Government Reform Committee. I will point to Selig and Fehr and suggest that their attitude and overall presence in that hearing was one of the sleaziest attempts at self-serving collusion I have seen since the double-play combination of Ehrlichmann-to-Haldeman-to-Mitchell. It made me sick to hear them.

For the transcripts of this hearing, go to this non-exclusive source. Unfortunately, the transcripts don't give the flavour of the arrogance and demeanor of the participants.

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

4 ways to promote neurogenesis in your brain

How can we promote the creation of new neurons - and why is it so important?

We can promote the development of new neurons well into adulthood - and here's why we should.

Image by vrx on Shutterstock
Mind & Brain
  • Neurogenesis, the birth of neurons from stem cells, happens mostly before we are born - as we are formed in the womb, we are generating most of what we need after birth.
  • After birth, neurogenesis is still possible in two parts of the brain: the olfactory bulb (which is responsible for our sense of smell) and the hippocampus (which is responsible for memory, spatial navigation, and emotional processing).
  • Research from the 1960s proves creating new neurons as adults is possible, and modern-day research explains how (and why) we should promote new neuron growth.
Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less
Videos

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast