the only easy day was yesterday

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Purpose

I want this blog to be for intelligent discussion in the context of sport - because it is an easily accessible genre for conversation - but there will be open discussion on philisophical concepts and social issues, whatever you want; I can give you my password and shit if you want so you can post. My ultimate goal is simply to create real conversation about things that I love, with things that I love(hint:people).

I was inspired to start this blog by Mike & Mike in the Morning when thismorning they had a poll concerning the SECOND greatest sports record of all time, claiming Henry Aaron's 755 Home Runs as the greates record in sports. This may not have made me as angry had they not brought to light, in their alterate 5 vying for the second spot, the last candidate, Mark Spitz with his 7 Olympic Gold Medals (The others being: Wilt's 100, DiMaggio's 56, Emmit's 18355, Jack Nicklaus 18 PGA Major Wins). Now, please try to let the fact that I myself swam for years, and stay with my argument. It struck me as incredibly ignorant, and a classic example of American dogmatism - most often seen in our professional sports championships of Baseball, Football, and Basketball when we name our winners "World" Champions. Here's my problem; The Olympic games, as we all know, have been the preeminent athletic competitions since, quite literaly, the beggining of the Historical Era of human history - How can the man who has clearly achieved human athletic supremacy as many times as he did in one Olympic games be second to anyone in modern sports? Not only are the Olympic Games a tradition streching back to the 8th century B.C., but the athletic abilites they originally showcased were those intrinsic to the human body (Running, Swimming, etc.), or essential to human survival (hunting), q.e.d. these core and universal human athletic competitions should be the most revered of all...Baseball itself is a contrived activity, hitting a ball with a piece of wood over a fence 755 times, no matter how hard it is, should not be posited as a greater athletic achievement than that of the winningest athlete in the most revered athletic games in human history. This is not to demean baseball, because to demean an activity created by the human mind is to demean human social and intellectual evolution, as well as the value of the consciousness of humans, and humanity alltogether.

4 comments:

lyneric said...

a lofty argument, perhaps plausible, but it strikes me as problematic for a couple of reasons. first, sighting the history of the olympics seems somewhat unrelated. yes, tradition lends a specific respect of the GAMES but has little, if anything, to do with INDIVIDUAL achievement. second, to compare sport, which challenges the strength and endurance of a single person vs. sport that involves more than one person or even a team, is comparing disparate activities, too different to allow for such comparison.

Jasper said...

I would agree that comparing two very different sports in order to come to one conclusion is silly, but the argument that I am making is based on aradio talk show that compared these two particular athletic acheivements in the field of 'most respected record' - The records being Mark Spitz' 7 Individual Golds and Hank Aaron's 755 career Home Runs, which are both individual records and achievements. What I am saying here is simply that a record concerning - on a purely logical basis - an ability not only natural to human beings, but at some points necessary to the continuation of one's life - if i was to find myself in the middle of the ocean with a shark that could swim slightly slower than me for a certain distance until I am safe from it I have saved myself with my own athletic ability - whereas if i found myself in a field with, say, very high fences, and lions, hitting a ball over that fence would not help me from being eaten by the lions, they dont care, but running, or jumping, or even skilled hunting might. This is why i mentioned the Olympics: First because it is THE long standing tradition of international athletic competition, and given it's staying power and tradition, achievements in such an arena should be held at a higher level of reverence, but that is the simple version. What I'm really saying is that it is so long standing and lasting of a tradition because it IS the arena for the display of human athletic accomplishment, above all others, because, although they have added many other physical activities that don't belong (sailing?), they began with the displays of those original and intrinsic human abilities like I mentioned; swimming, running, hunting, etc. They are the original standard for athletic acheivement for human beings because they set out to display, basely, just that, which to me is more laudable than a much more specified sport, as baseball is; Barry Bonds (who arguably took steriods and wil still hold this record we are talking about) has to work on certain areas, his upper body, his hitting form, his judgement on hitting the ball, whereas an athlete than were to compete in the original Olympic games would strive to be as fit a person as possible in al areas - also because they would all compete in every event. Another argument I have against it is the contrived nature - a runner can run with only himself, Barry cannot hit a home run when he's just Barry because he is not a bat or a ball or a park or a pitcher or an umpire or all of them, he is just a person, and a person who can do something with just his own body should be held in higher regards than one who needs other tools to do so. Which is where social and intellectual evolution comes into play, but that's a whooooooleeee other issue...

Quiz: How many times did I spell achievement differently? hahah

Nielsen said...

First, you don't need to give people your password for them to post on here. If someone has their own account, or makes their own account, you can add them under Settings and then Permissions, and then they can post as themselves. If you add me I'd be willing to raise the level of discourse from time to time (along with the level of dickish sarcasm), though I refuse to write about anything other than the tragic injustices that were the 2007 NBA Western Conference Semi-final Game 5 suspensions of Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw. Yeah, it does still hurt.

Second, I disagree with you concerning the primacy of the Olympic Gold Medal record over all others. Baseball, basketball and football are spectator sports, and as such the greatest achievments in these sports are going to take a greater precedence in the minds of individual viewers. These sports, unlike swimming in the Olympics, don't exist purely for the purpose of competition and the declamation of world supremacy, but for entertainment as well. There is drama and excitement in a record like 755 home runs or 100 points in a game, and although you argue for the intrinsic human importance of certain Olymic competitions, I would instead argue that more human emotion and feeling is drawn out and evidenced in these other records, and that that is significant to their import. Think about how incredible it would be to see someone score 100 points in an NBA game. Watching a guy swim faster than everybody else in several different ways can't fuck with that, as far as I'm concerned.

Jasper said...

I hear you, but it seemed to me that they were advertising it as a greater athetic achievement. This is what I was saying about respecting sports like baseball from the aspect of social and intellectual evolution; people have evolved from the early historic era in the types and ways they participate in athletic activity, originally it was a survival tactic, which evolved into competition when supplies and food were plentiful, and eventually we have evolved to the point where our entertainment is the primary object of professional athletics...Now sure as shit if Kobe went out and dropped 106 in a game this year I'd be goin wild and if Michael Phelps gets 8 golds next summer I won't be watching, but such core athletic abilities that are natural to humans are the highest form of physical athletic pursuit, which is not to say that modern athletes are not to be revered, but they should be help in a different type of esteem, seeing as they involve themselves in a competition that is aimed more at the emotions of the viewer than to strech the envelope of the human beings pure ability to manipulate his environment. They just don't belong in the same category, once the intellect enters the picture and the athletes "excercise" environment is compromised from how human beings found their environment it enters a different kind of athletics - It possibly even becomes sport when before it was athletics, or whatever you'd call it. So 755 more exciting, even more laudable if you consider physical ability and effort plus the added ability to entertain, but as a pure athlete, as human manipulating the environment he is given, 7 Gold Medals is more venerable.

I'm gonna try to put some people in the permissions, i assume i just put the name...