December 13, 2005

Sport: religion minus the praying? I have often described the Blues as my religion and St Andrews as my church, the only place that I feel at one with my fellows, the one place where I truly feel at home, where I belong. It was meant tongue in cheek, I didn't realise that to enter St Andrews was ...."to enter a world where different laws apply, to be relieved of all the weights that bear it down, to be free, kingly, unfettered and divine"

posted by Fat Buddha to culture at 03:52 PM - 11 comments

As a Derby County supporter, I'm not so sure it's a religious experience. In my case it's more one of unrequited love. But I like the subtext in the article (which they don't make enough of) about ordinary people having a spiritual experience around what is essentially a big business. The comparison with some religions/churches goes begging.

posted by owlhouse at 04:38 PM on December 13

And I like anyone who's prepared to reference Trotsky's 'Problems of Everyday Life'. That shouls provoke a few people on this site.

posted by owlhouse at 05:24 PM on December 13

Trotsky ... Trotsky ... Didn't he play short for the Reds back in the 20s?

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:52 PM on December 13

I can only speak as a statistician but this paragraph is completely meaningless: Further testimony to the decline of ‘formal’ religion is provided by the UK experience. The results of the Social Trends Survey (2002) demonstrated that approximately 24% of the UK population attended a sports event as a spectator, while half of all adults aged 18 who belonged to a religion have never attended a religious service. OK, I'll have a go a examining the whole case he puts forward: He's talking bollocks. High-faluting bollocks maybe, but bollocks nonetheless. If I were his tutor I'd give him an F, and a slap for good measure.

posted by squealy at 06:40 PM on December 13

And I thought Deacon Jones and Priest Holmes were just names.

posted by texoma-slim at 07:09 PM on December 13

There's definitely something funny about saying "High-faluting" when you mean "highfalutin", but it's too early in the morning for me to figure out what it is. If sport does indeed offer a vehicle with which to fill the spiritual void left by the demise of traditional forms of religion, it may do well to adopt the Buddhist philosophy which states that “Life is a journey”. When sports and spirituality are passengers, is the destination cynicism? Every journey requires an ending. Why do you need a vehicle to fill a void? Why does the decline in some "traditional forms of religion" in the west necessarily infer its "demise" the world over? How can sport adopt a philosophy (Buddhist or otherwise)? When sports and spirituality are passengers, is the destination cynicism? No, the destination would seem to be gibberish. Every journey requires an ending. But not every essay seemingly. And surely the idea behind the Buddhist philospophy the writer cites is completely contradicted by the notion of every journey having an ending. I couldn't read most of this without thinking of David Brent. Regarding the issue the writer tries to raise - if you view religion as a stabiliser for the weak-minded and a comfy distraction from the terrors of how empty life actually is, then of course sport can be a substitute. Sport's only downfall in that respect is something the author touches on too briefly - the unpredictability of outcome. Religion seems to me to be all about lifting you up - sport can do that, but it can also cast you down with a right old bump too. Ask owlhouse. He's a Derby fan, so he'll know what I mean.

posted by JJ at 04:24 AM on December 14

Sport is an essential and important part of life, but not a metaphor for it or religion. Although there are moments (like love) that are transcendental. And JJ - if Old Trafford is the 'Theatre of Dreams', then Pride Park is a Chekhovian farce.

posted by owlhouse at 05:28 AM on December 14

Four games unbeaten owlhouse, with the future of English football at centre half........it ain't all bad is it?

posted by Fat Buddha at 06:46 AM on December 14

Popularity of sport doesn't lie; alot of us are really into it, but I really can't answer why I like sport so much. There is no need to believe in something beyond my world of experience, while at the same time appealing to the mathematically chaotic nature of 'luck'. This is attractive to the scientifically enlightened society of which we all are a part, though it may not seem all that enlightened at times. Are my favorite athletes gods in the way a Pharoah or an Emperor was a living god to the masses? Their victories on the battlefield of sport do seem to have similar affects. Sport doesn't help me cope with loss or uncertainty, but it does provide meaning to what sometimes seems meaningless. man, I sound like a loser.

posted by garfield at 10:06 AM on December 14

Ha. Dammit that made me laugh, Garf. You're no loser - just an impassioned sports lover like the rest of us. Okay - the flip side of that is that we're all losers.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:56 AM on December 14

Spofi: The spiritual home of losers, everywhere.

posted by Fat Buddha at 02:58 PM on December 14

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