Friday, November 8, 2013

Integral sports

Neelesh started an IPS thread on an article on integral sports from the ITC '13 conference. Neelish's overall take was that perhaps competition is from a lower level of development and its time has passed, causing more harm than good. I disagree and my response from the thread follows:

A few personal comments, since I've  yet to read this article. Competition per se is not at any level, nor did it originate from any level. It's one of those fields upon which we can project whatever values we have. I've been involved in sports my entire life, from basketball, football, baseball, martial arts and now dance sport (and art). From the earliest age I was inculcated with 'sportmanship,' that one treat their opponents with respect and honor, for competing with them instills a drive to exceed one's own limitations and pushes one to the next level of expertise. We are grateful to our opponents for this opportunity and after each game it is traditional to shake hands to express this gratitude, or pat them on the butt, etc. "Good game" and so on.

Even 'violent' sports like football and martial arts have evolved from contests where one's intent was to harm or kill to one with strict rules and fouls to prevent injury. Granted even within the rules injuries happen, but they also happen when one pushes past their physical limits in dance or running. Meanwhile martial arts also provides practical training for when one encounters a red asshole that wants to knife you and steal your money, so that one can use the appropriate amount of force to protect themselves and others, up to an including deadly force if necessary. And within the law, that thing that elevates beyond the jungle, itself a continual evolution.

So no, sport or competition in itself is not some lower lifeform. It too can express our highest ideals and values and make us better people. So I'll have to read the article to see how they translate it so.

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